North Canterbury News March 2016


26 February 2016

March eNews

Kia ora Mr and Mrs Godfrey,

Stocker Scholarship Winners 2015 

The North Canterbury branch has again awarded two Stocker Scholarships for conservation research in Canterbury. Worth a total of $3000, the scholarships provide postgraduate students in Canterbury with extra funding for their research over the next academic year.

Once again the standard of applications was high and the branch awarded scholarships to Eimear Egan, a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury’s Department of Biological Sciences, and Rebecca Dollery, a Masters student in the Ecology Department at Lincoln University.

Eimear is researching one of our favourite delicacies, the whitebait. He’s determining the age of the fish by examining their growth rates, in order to work out how long they spend at sea. This is done by counting and measuring the distance between the rings in the ear bones of the fish by using a laser, a bit like ageing a tree through the rings on its trunk.

“My research is important because it fills the gap in understanding the whitebait’s lifecycle at sea and my results will help DOC and other interested groups make decisions on how to better manage whitebait populations,” he explains.

Eimear’s research sites are all on Banks Peninsula.

In contrast Rebecca Dollery is looking at the challenges involved in restoring kanuka shrubland communities in an irrigated dairy environment in Canterbury.

She’s investigating effective restoration methods in design, implementation, and management of successfully restored kanuka shrubland. The methods she devises will then be used as a template for land owners and other groups wanting to restore dryland areas in Canterbury and elsewhere, in a cost effective manner.

Rebecca’s Stocker Scholarship research funding will be used for equipment, soil and plant chemical analysis, and travel to research sites.

The North Canterbury branch wishes both winners all the best for their investigations in the coming year.

Seaweek Cycle from Ferrymead to Sumner

Sunday, February 28th
1:20 pm | Tidal View Humphries Drive (windsurfing service area)

Come with Forest and Bird and Friends on a Seaweek Cycle from Ferrymead to Sumner at 1.20 pm Sunday, 28th February, 2016. (health and safety briefing 1.20pm)

Meet on Tidal View, the loop of road labelled windsurfing service area off Humphries Dr. Look for the Forest and Bird flag. We will cross the Ferrymead Bridge via the multi-use path and travel (as much as possible) along the Coastal Pathway around the Estuary edge to Sumner where we will join the Great Sumner Picnic.

Spot prizes for cyclists!! Dress safe but dress-up - marine theme!

Please note: health and safety briefing 1.20pm. Helmets compulsory. All children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Some sections of the route will be on road cycle lanes, with the option to dismount and walk off- road.

We are sending messages of support to Katie the cyclist doing 3000 Kms Cycling for Freshwater. We hope to do that at the Heathcote/Opawaho river mouth at Ferrymead so please bring cell phones if able to.

See flyer. Please share with friends if able to.

Public Talk: Stocker Scholarship winners present their research.

7.30pm Tuesday March 8th
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (opp. Art Gallery)

Postgraduate student Anna Henderson, from the University of Canterbury’s Department of Biological Sciences, will speak on research into factors which affect seed dispersal and regeneration of rare forest fragments in North Canterbury. She has been investigating the role of seed-eating birds, and the impact of predation on seed dispersal in the regeneration of forests.

Della Bennett, also a postgraduate from UC, will discuss the foraging habits of the endangered Hutton’s Shearwater in Kaikoura. Her research is investigating how and where these at risk endemic seabirds gather food at sea, and what impact this has on their declining numbers. Della’s research will support vital conservation work by the Hutton’s Shearwater Trust and the Department of Conservation in protecting these rare seabirds.

Anna and Della were the 2014 Stocker Scholarship winners and are presenting their research carried out in 2015.

Field Trip: Arowhenua Bush

8:00am Sunday, March 13th 
To car pool meet at Cookietime Templeton, Main South Road

This remnant of South Canterbury forest has been cared for and enhanced under the leadership of Fraser Ross for over 40 years. Fraser who received a Distinguished Life Membership at the last Forest and Bird AGM will guide us.

This promises to be a special day. We will call in and see the Harris Reserve with its indigenous dry land vegetation flourishing under the care of the Ashburton Branch.

You must register your interest for this trip by email or phone 03 981 8556. 

Protecting our oceans - have you sent in your submission yet?

The Marine Protected Areas Act discusssion document is currently out for consultation. Find information and an online submission form here:

Submissions close at 5pm on 11th March. Have you got specific comments or concerns you would like to contribute to a North Canterbury branch submission? Please email these to or call Hendrikje at 388 8351.

Would you like to get more involved?

Please get in touch - see contacts at the end! You can volunteer for local projects such as Calder Green Reserve or Mahoe-nui Bush, or a little further afield with stoat trapping at Boyle base. We also have several working groups, for example freshwater, climate change, marine.

Now is also a good time to start thinking about joining the committee; the AGM will be in May, and we need new people to ensure a continuing strong and active branch; we have some new projects coming up! Committee meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm.

Contact the secretary or chairperson if you want to come along or would like more information!

Biosecurity Hotline

The Ministry of Primary Industries hotline number to ring if you have any suspicion or evidence of a new organism in the country is 0800 80 99 66

Purchase of Carews Peak Scenic Reserve

The North Canterbury branch ran a field trip on February 21st to view Carews Peak and other reserves on the western side of Akaroa Harbour.

Members will recall how delighted we were at the purchase of Carews Peak by the Nature Heritage Fund, administered by DOC, which was announced last April by the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry. The North Canterbury branch was involved in the purchase as a partner to NHF through a generous bequest from Mrs Diana Watson specifically for the purchase of a reserve by the branch.

The 112 hectare Carews Peak reserve on Banks Peninsula above Wainui can be clearly seen from Akaroa village and is accessed along the Bossu Road. It links other reserves along the crater rim, and gives added potential for recreation links between between Saddle Hill Reserve, Peraki Scenic Reserve, Long Bay and the Te Oka City Council Reserve.

Not only is the reserve in a prime position but it also has significant biodiversity values. It has long been an area recommended for protection under district plans, it has a peat wetland of scientific importance, contains the nationally critical Banks Peninsula fork fern, and has regenerating primary forest around original podocarp trees.

View from Carews Peak.

The link to the Minister of Conservation’s media release announcing the purchase is below, including comment from former branch Chair Rachel Hurford:


An opportunity has arisen for members interested in Canterbury freshwater issues, including biodiversity loss, and the RMA reforms, to discuss these and other topics with Andrew Cutler, National President of Forest and Bird, and some members of our region's other branches.

The meeting is tomorrow (Saturday, 27th February) starting at 9.30am in Ashburton. Places are strictly limited as the meeting is being held in a private home. However, if you would like to come with the North Canterbury contingent please PHONE Colleen (03) 981 8556 to confirm space is still available, for car pool details and a full agenda.

Other Events

Caring For Our Urban Waterways

7pm Wednesday 16th March | Knox Church (corner Bealey Ave and Victoria Street)

A public forum will held on the topic, chaired by Peter Townsend (CEO of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce.)

On the panel will be Mike Bourke (Planning Engineer City Council), Carl Hansen (Groundwater Science Manager Environment Canterbury), Dr Belinda Margetts (Freshwater Ecologist City Council) and Arapata Reuben (Chair Christchurch West-Melton Zone Committee.) 

Wilding Pines Volunteer Days

Saturday 19th March and Saturday 2nd April (backup day being the following day)

Environment Canterbury and the Waimakariri Ecological and Landscape Restoration Alliance (WELRA) are working in partnership to bring you two Wilding Pine Volunteer Days in 2016. The first will be at Purple Hill, Lake Pearson. These days are a collaboration between a number of individuals, clubs and community groups to tackle the problem of pest pine trees spreading in the upper Waimakariri basin. These days are a great opportunity to spend a day in the high country and assist in controlling the spread of wilding pines.

 As with previous years, we will all meet at the Yaldhurst Hotel in the morning and be transported by bus to the selected work sites in the Flock Hill Station area.

If you are going, please contact Joy Talbot, 03 9422 917 before 11th March for Day One and 25th March for Day Two (one week prior to each volunteer day).

A $30 donation per person per day will be provided to North Canterbury Forest and Bird. 

Polluted Inheritance: New Zealand's Freshwater Crisis

6:30 pm Monday 21st March | C1 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury

Dr Mike Joy, Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at Massey University,  will describe the true state of freshwaters in New Zealand, a reality that is mostly covered up and denied.

He will look at the drivers of the declines, the response from government – both central and local and discuss solutions and options for the future management of freshwater.


Get in touch!

If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to say hello then please drop us a line.

Chair - Colleen Phillip (Ph: 981 8556)
Secretary - Hendrikje Buss
Treasurer & public talks -Ainslie Talbot
KCC - Eleanor Bissell
Mahoe-nui BushVanessa Horwell
Website, eNews - Michael Godfrey
Boyle Base - Lesley Shand (Ph: 379 0316)
Calder Green Reserve - Mick Ingram (Ph: 03 384 8080/ 021 816633)
Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Greg Byrnes 
Steve Attwood

Rachel Hurford
Penny Wright
Helen Hills

Links of interest

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

28 February  1:20 pm
Seaweek Cycle

8 March 7:30 pm
Public talk by 2014 Stocker Scholarship winners

13 March 8:00 am
Field trip to Arowhenua Bush

16 March 7:00 pm
Caring for our Urban Waterways

19 March
Wilding Pines Volunteer Day

21 March 6:30pm
Mike Joy: Polluted Inheritance

2 April
Wilding Pines Volunteer Day

12 April 7:30pm
Public talk on Freshwater Eels

7 May
The Great River Cleanup

To see a summary of upcoming events, please visit our website.