October eNews


2 October 2016

October eNews

Kia ora << Test Preferred Name >>,

Public Talk: The Amazing Sub-Antarctic Islands by Dr Rodney Russ of Heritage Expeditions.

7.30pm Tuesday 11th October WEA,
59 Gloucester Street (opp. Art Gallery)

The Sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand have been referred to as the “Galapagos of Antarctica” and with good reason. The rich diversity, abundance and endemism amongst both the animals and plants found on these islands are simply incredible and unique. The islands belong to and are administered by New Zealand but we have a global responsibility to manage them for all of humanity, not just for now but for the future. To carry out that responsibility, we (NZ) need Research, Management and Advocacy to be working together not just domestically but globally. Is that happening?

In this presentation Rodney Russ a veteran of over 100 research, management and tourism expeditions to these islands and author of the book “The Galapagos of Antarctica” will speak not only about the islands and their rich Natural and Cultural history, he will also give his opinions about the future of the islands.

Supper and a chat afterwards.
Birding Trip to Ashley/Rakahuri Estuary and River with Steve Attwood

8:30am Saturday 15th October 2016
Northwood Supa Centre carpark beside Styx and Stone Bar and Esquires Coffee Shop

The Ashley River and Estuary is a wetland that meets the criteria for a wetland of international significance and there is always a very large variety of birds to be seen including some of our rare and critically endangered braided river birds such as the wrybill, black-billed gull and black-fronted tern. 

A half day is plenty of time for the Ashley estuary so assemble at 8:30am to be on the Ashley by about 9am and leave about 12:30am to be back by 1pm. Note: the previously advertised full day option is no longer available.

For more details and what to wear visit our website here

To register for the trip, please email auldwood@outlook.com or text/phone 027 4191080, phone 03 349 3038.

Stocker Scholarships for postgrad research

The North Canterbury branch of Forest and Bird offers an annual scholarship for postgraduate research in conservation and the environment in Canterbury.

The Stocker scholarship is worth up to $3000. Usually two scholarships are awarded to postgraduate students and prospective applicants are encouraged to apply.

This year the scholarship deadline has been extended to mid-October. Application guidelines, which are not complicated, can be obtained by emailing Ainslie Talbot: talbotjones@clear.net.nz

2016 New Zealand Bird of the Year

17th - 30th October 2016

Political Deal to Win Big for Iconic South Island Birds

“Vote kea!” say wrybill

We don't have to run a 'straight' campaign, the wrybill is the only bird in the world with a beak that's bent sideways!

In 2015 the NC branch campaigned for the wrybill to be Bird of the Year. We intended with help from BRaid, Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group, Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara and the band One Waka, who agreed to be our ambassadors, to do so again this year as part of our braided river advocacy. However, we have decided (with the blessing of the wrybill team) to campaign in partnership with the Kea Conservation Trust for kea for NZ Bird of the Year 2016. Some recent media items explain why kea need our help NOW.

Front page item "Conservationists in a flap over drop in kea numbers." in The Press September 16th. Editorial entitled “Action needed now to save kea.' Saturday September 17th

And here is the Guardian article last week

October Working Bees

For more details of our working bees, please go to our website here.

  • 'Sanctuary' braided-river project

1.00-3.00pm Saturday 22nd October 2016
 Western end of Coutts Island Road

South Island Gathering

28th - 30th October 2016

If you are intending to come to this year's South Island Gathering in Geraldine, please register as soon as possible and book your accommodation. Registration details, some suggested accommodation options and a draft programme. can be found here. Kevin Hague, our newly appointed Chief Executive, starts work with Forest and Bird on 18 October and will be attending the weekend.

Walk for water. Protest at the destruction of the Selwyn/Waikikiri River

If you want to see a badly polluted Canterbury river, take a Sunday drive and have a look at the Selwyn/Waikirikiri. Just 20 years ago, according to locals at Selwyn Huts near Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora, it was clear and swimmable. Now they say it has become a cess pit, destroyed by run-off from intensive farming and toxic algae.

To mark the ruination of this once beautiful river, recently several dozen concerned people, including Forest and Bird, walked the length of the Selwyn from Glentunnel near the foothills to Lake Ellesmere. The ‘Walk for Water’ protest took four days and covered over 60 kilometres, mainly on rural roads.

For organiser, Glentunnel artist Mike Glover, and those involved this was a chance to express frustration and anger about the failure of government agencies to prevent degradation of the Selwyn, once one of the prime trout fishing rivers in the country.

Fish and Game says in the 1960’s the Selwyn river held an estimated 65,000 trout. That has now been reduced to a few hundred. There are also embarassing signs warning people not to swim in toxic places like Coe’s Ford and even Glentunnel, once prime recreation spots for families. Today the Selwyn is an indictment of environmental protection in New Zealand, and one of the most polluted rivers in the country.

Watch a video on the ‘Walk for Water’ and other relevant links:

Sanctuary Project Launch and Christmas Gathering

26th November 2016
Western end of Coutts Island Road

1pm: Working bee

3pm: Project launch and Christmas gathering

We are having a combined celebration of our braided river project, and a pre-Christmas/end of year social get-together. A short working bee for the super-keen before hand. You are welcome to come to either or both. A few short speeches will not spoil the BBQ/picnic food and drinks, and you will have the chance to explore the area and talk about what we are trying to achieve. Bird watching is a must! It will be exciting to see what species are breeding on the river this season. We aim for this event to be a very relaxing and relaxed affair. All welcome!

Braided river bird surveys

Upcoming River Bird Surveys - click for contact details. 


'Sanctuary' planting 295 natives Our youngest volunteer Middelmost 500 natives planted
Photo: Helen Hills, 24 Sept Photo: Helen Hills, 24 Sept Photo: Penny Wright, 4 Sept

Other Events

Braided River wing of The Flock NZ

Have you seen #TheFlockNZ around Canterbury this year?

Every spring, migratory birds arrive in the South Island’s braided rivers to breed. Unfortunately, due to predators, habitat loss, and sometimes people, many of these birds are threatened or critically endangered. And yet surprisingly few people even know they exist. To draw attention to these unique birds, BRaid invited Mainlanders to welcome their arrival in August/September by creating the ‘braided river wing’ of the #The Flock NZ.

We aim to have the wrybill members of The Flock ‘fly’ up to Miranda Shorebird in February 2017, where they will winter along with their North Island counterparts.

For more information go to http://braid.org.nz/the-flock

Travis Wetland Trust Annual General Meeting

18th October 2016
Education Centre Travis Wetland

7pm: AGM

8pm: Guest speaker - Emma Williams

The Trust's AGM is the evening of the 18th of October and will be held at the Education Centre at Travis Wetland, 280 Beach Road. The AGM will be followed by a talk from Emma Williams a PHD student who is studying the Australasian Bittern. This nationally endangered bird is extremely cryptic and therefore rarely seen. Amazingly this bird breed at Travis Wetland last season but sadly two chicks wandered from the wetland and where found in the surrounding streets.

Supper will be provided All welcome, please join us!

Aoraki/Mount Cook management plan review

The 10-year plan for the park is now open for consultation; the first stage until October this year.
Go here to read more and for information on how to submit.

2017 Conservation Calendars & Diaries


Support North Canterbury Branch of Forest and Bird by purchasing some of these stunning conservation calendars and diaries produced by Craig Potton Publishing, in association with the Royal Forest & Bird Society.

Get your order in early as they always sell out!

All proceeds from the calendar and diary sales go directly towards funding our local conservation projects and advocacy work. Feel free to encourage your neighbours, friends and family to purchase a calendar or diary as well. 

2017 Conservation Calendar - Only $16 each (recommended retail price $17.99)

2017 Conservation Diary - Only $23 each (recommended retail price $24.99)

To place your order simply fill in the online order form and click Submit, and follow the instructions for payment. 

Please visit our website for further information. Please pass this email onto friends and family so they can place their orders.

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 - Frances Wall
Treasurer & public talks Ainslie Talbot
KCC - position currently vacant
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)

Membership - for changes to membership or donations.  
membership@forestandbird.org.nz  (Ph: 0800 200 064)

Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Steve Attwood

Penny Wright
Helen Hills
Hugh Thorpe
George Moon
Elizabeth Guthrey

Facebook group.

Links of interest

Press article on Middelmost mudfish habitat project.

Sam Mahon's sculpture of Cathy Sintenie installed at ECAN. Background piece here.

NASA on global warming.

World passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold permanently.

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

11 October 7:30pm
Public talk

15 October 8:30am
Birding Trip to Ashley/Rakahuri Estuary and River.

22 October 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Sanctuary project working bee

6 November 10:00am - 3:00pm
Tuhaitara Coastal Park open day

12 November
Ashley/Rakahuri bird survey

19/20 November
Ashburton bird survey

26 November 
1:00pm Working bee
From 3:00pm  Sanctuary launch and Christmas gathering

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