Chairperson's Report 2016

 


 

North Canterbury Branch Annual Report

June 2015 - May 2016

 

Chairperson's Report.

 

This has been a very busy year for the branch. We have started two new conservation projects. We have also been involved with a massive amount of advocacy and outreach work, as well as with all the usual things a branch with a large geographic area and now over 2000 members engages in.

 

While we work within the excellent framework of "A Strategic Plan for Nature" adopted by the Forest and Bird Board, we know we must channel our work into priority areas locally. A developing consensus has this as being our braided rivers/freshwater work, climate disruption, and improving the scope and effectiveness of our work in pest control. This past year has seen, I believe, a rapidly emerging understanding of the issues facing our freshwater and the biodiversity on our braided rivers in the Canterbury community as a whole. This makes our advocacy both vital at this time and of paramount strategic use. When we joined with other organisations on the Climate Parade in Christchurch on November 28th, 2015, the numbers of Forest and Bird members present reinforced to us the importance of our focus on this. We see a need to continue with the momentum that generated, as well as reinforcing the relationships developed through that with other groups.

 

It is important, however, that volunteers are supported and encouraged to work at things they care about. Forest and Bird thankfully attracts a diverse range of people with a variety of skills, expertise and passions. Our work is channelled strategically but this does not limit the range of things we engage in. This year we have been organising around four working groups with which we encourage members from outside the committee to link.

 

They are

 

  • Freshwater/Braided rivers;

  • Marine;

  • Predator Free/Weeds;

  • Climate disruption.

 

 

We now have 5 projects:

 

  • Mahoe Nui bush restoration and associated pest control programme;

  • Boyle Base stoat trapping in the Lewis Pass;

  • Calder Green Reserve and its associated whole river/catchment advocacy;

  • 'The Sanctuary', on the Waimakariri which will be officially launched in early spring;

  • the Oxford wetland/mudfish restoration project which we hope will be a focus of activity for members in that more rural area.

 

To get an overview of and more information about branch activity, members could go to our website www.forestandbird.org.nz/north-canterbury, explore it and, in particular, look through the newsletters we sent out over the last year. They provide an excellent chronicle and overview of activity. We advertise all events on the website as well as through our monthly E-News and the printed newsletter which is mailed out 3 times per year. There are also links on the website which may be of interest. Thanks to Michael Godfrey for his professionalism in preparing the e-newsletters and maintaining the website.

 

This last year has seen an ongoing improvement in the way our branch has interconnected with other organisations. ECO, BRaid, Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, 350.org, Birds NZ, Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust, Working Waters Trust, Canterbury Botanical Society, Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch, Travis Wetland Trust, are a few of the organisations we work with to achieve common goals.

 

I would like to thank this year's committee very much indeed for their commitment to conservation, their efforts and their camaraderie. We have achieved a lot together. It particularly delights me that a number of people who are not able to continue on the committee are continuing to do work for the branch. While I thank them very much for their years of work on the committee, I am pleased not to be saying goodbye.

 

Eleanor Bissell (one of our Old Blue award recipients) deserves special mention. Eleanor has coordinated KCC in this branch area since 1997. She is retiring from this work and we both applaud her achievements and thank her for her dedication.

 

Thank you to ALL the people who do work for the branch on projects and other activities. We also acknowledge the fine work of the National Office staff both at the regional and Wellington offices, and thank them for their efforts on behalf of the branch and Society generally.

 

Colleen Philip

Chairperson

 

 

Other Reports.

 

North Canterbury advocacy activity 2015/2016

 

Advocacy for conservation and the environment has been an important part of the branch’s activity over the last year. Often this takes the form of submissions from the branch or individual members on local and central government environmental proposals, long-term and annual plans, resource consent applications and bills before parliament amongst other statutory changes. Sometimes the National or Canterbury/Westland Regional office submit on the branches’ behalf.

 

Some of the areas we have submitted on include

 

  • opposing an application to dam and divert water from Kakapo Brook for irrigation and hydro development on Glynn Wye Station in the Lewis Pass,

  • the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill currently before parliament,

  • ECan’s long term plan and annual plan,

  • Christchurch City Council’s long term plan and annual plan,

  • Next Steps for Fresh Water’ consultation document, proposing further changes to the National Policy Statement on fresh water management,

  • ECan’s new pest management strategy,

  • the Marine Protected Areas proposed legislation, and

  • the Regenerate Christchurch Bill.

 

Valerie Campbell and Penny Wright were part of a joint Canterbury branches delegation that met with the Environment Canterbury Commissioners (in March) to express a range of concerns about threats to biodiversity in the region.

 

We wrote to a number of parties expressing our concern about the proposed rocket- launching site at Kaitorete Spit.

 

The Chair attended meetings, along with other Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust board members, with CCC staff to express our displeasure at the proposal to build a tidal barrier on the Avon Heathcote Estuary.

 

We have been able to celebrate some successes in our advocacy work.

 

The branch has also been involved in calling for stronger action on climate change, and supporting public awareness and protest ahead of the Paris conference late last year. Taking action on climate change is one of the strategic priorities of the Society. We have also been concerned at the potential impact of the TPPA on conservation and the environment.

 

Ainslie Talbot

 

 

NZ Bird of the Year

 

In October 2015 we ran a campaign for the wrybill for NZ Bird of the Year. We treated this as an advocacy and educational opportunity on behalf of our braided rivers, and all the biodiversity reliant on them, particularly the endangered braided-river birds. We did, however, have a lot of fun and the wrybill came18th out of over 50 birds which was a fine first effort. Our thanks to the people who acted as wrybill 'ambassadors' lending their name to the campaign: David Ayers (Mayor of Waimakariri), Nicky Wagner (Associate Minister of Conservation and MP for Christchurch Central), Tim Barnett (General secretary, at the time, of the NZ Labour Party and former MP for Christchurch Central).

 

Steve Attwood

Campaign manager.

 

Public Meetings

(See appendices for full list.)

 

We offered our usual full programme of monthly public meetings which are always on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm at the WEA, 59 Gloucester St. Topics varied as did attendance although the average attendance was around 30. Feed-back received indicates that the programme we presented was considered of a very high quality and considered both stimulating, informative and enjoyable. Thanks to Ainslie Talbot for organising the programme and speakers and for all committee members and others who assist with the logistics of the meetings, and the suppers. We are currently seeking to extend the advertising for this programme, perhaps by using Facebook. If you think you could help us with this please contact the Chairperson.

 

 

Field Trips

(See appendices for full list.)

 

The responsibility for these has been shared among the committee. They have ranged from local events like a guided Riccarton Bush walk to further afield as with the trip to Arowhenua Bush and Waitohi bush in South Canterbury which was a field trip involving all 3 Canterbury branches plus the Botanical Society. Field trips are held monthly excluding the winter months. We are keen to have trips to places throughout our branch geographical zone and would very much like to hear from you if you have an idea for one in your locale, or would like to run one yourself.

 

 

Wilding Pine Removal

 

Joy Talbot led branch volunteers on winding pine removal days in the Craigieburn basin on 19th March and 22nd April 2016.

 

 

Conferences

 

  • Forest and Bird AGM Wellington 27-28 June 2015. Hendrikje Buss and Colleen Philip were the branch councillors. Email the branch if you would like to see their report.
     

  • ECO conference 28-30 August 2015. 5 Committee members attended.
    Theme: Freshwater - pushing past the impasse. Presentations on ECO website.

     

  • South Island Gathering 10-11 October 2015 Makarora, Otago.
    Theme: Birds and Braided Rivers. 7 north Canterbury members attended.

 

 

Membership

 

Membership of the branch increased this year thanks to National Office sending the Face to Face team to Christchurch for several months. The members they recruit are regular donors and money raised in this and other ways is the 'life blood' of the organisation. We are enormously grateful to members willing and able to contribute in this way.

 

The basic annual subscription remains at $57 for Forest and Bird membership. The branch relies heavily on people who give generously of their time, energy and often expertise. The volunteer hours contributed to our projects and activities is 'priceless'.

 

On November 29th 2015, we hosted at Calder Green Reserve an event for new members organised by Phil Bilbrough from (Wellington) National Office. This was the first of these to be held in the South Island and was a very happy occasion for all involved. Conservation work was assisted by wilding pines being turned into Christmas trees. With the large number of new members recruited recently we expect we will have another new members' event in this coming year.

 

At our April meeting the committee decided to begin paying the membership of young people (up to 10 per year) willing to join the committee and help us, or to do some other work for the branch e.g. within a project or working group. If you would like to receive this sponsorship, or if you know a young person who might please speak with the Chairperson, a committee member or email the branch.

 

 

Outreach Events

 

'Forest & Bird and Friends Seaweek Cycle' - an inaugural of what is planned to be an annual event during Seaweek celebrations, cycling along the foreshore between Ferrymead and Sumner. (Stalls list in appendices)

 

 

 

 

Calder Green Reserve

 

This year the focus has been on maintaining the on-site project without expanding the planting zone. In the previous year more plants were put in than we anticipated and now we are focussed on maintaining these to improve survival rates and in-plant for losses.

 

Bird surveys continue to be done four times per year for the whole lower Heathcote stretch between the Ferrymead Bridge and the Lyttleton Tunnel bridge. These are now recorded on EBird - contact Michael Godfrey if you have any queries about this.

 

Sea lavender remains a problem. A team dedicated to monitoring for this pernicious weed and removing it at regular intervals is being developed. We believe it would be helpful if the CCC enforced their 'dogs on lead' by-law for the conservation zone as this would help prevent spread.

 

The autumn rubbish clean-ups, always done after bird breeding season, became this year a part of the May 7th "Mother Of All Rubbish Clean-ups". Our thanks to Joy Talbot for taking over coordinating Forest and Bird's part of this event. The whole of the Heathcote/Opawaho, the Avon/Otakaro and the Estuary edges have been cleared as much as possible of rubbish by a massive combined community effort this year.

 

Aroha again to the Sumner Guides who continue to ally us and now are developing a restoration zone adjacent to ours. Thanks to Valerie Campbell who represents us on the Opawaho Heathcote Network which is working on advocacy and conservation activity for the whole river/catchment.

 

Mick Ingram

 

 

Waimakariri Environment and Recreation Trust (WERT)

 

This year the Waimakariri Environment and Recreation Committee became an independent trust. Forest and Bird has now got two committee members on WERT as trustees - Colleen Philip and Penny Wright. Jen Miller attends when work commitments allow.

 

Penny managed the wasp control project over the last two years. Currently WERT is lobbying DOC to try to ensure the third planned year of the programme can proceed. The WERT people involved believe the programme is too much for a voluntary group to handle without some support from DOC. Penny must be congratulated on her efforts over the past two years and the significant biodiversity gains achieved thus far.

 

WERT have made two successful applications to Environment Canterbury for funding of projects related to Lake Lyndon. You will see fencing and bollards to manage vehicle movements around the foreshore at both the southern and northern ends of the lake in the next few months. There will also be fencing and restoration work on the kettle-hole within sight of SH 73.

 

Having observed crested grebes trying to establish nesting sites at Lake Lyndon the Trust is planning to build two floating nesting platforms to help breeding grebes.

 

Lobbying of Selwyn District Council over three years has resulted in a new toilet being installed in the parking area at the SH 73 end. No more nasty finds on walks around the lake surrounds we hope.

 

WERT normally meets in Christchurch but if meeting in Darfield, or doing field trips, we carpool. If you have an interest in the upper-Waimakariri basin and are interested in participating in, or being in communication with, this group please email Penny: pjwri@paradise.net.nz or email Peter: PDW@stac.school.nz

 

 

KCC

 

Kiwi Conservation Club kids enjoyed various outings during the year. Leaf Olympics in Hagley Park, a spider programme - combined with the release of Cor Vink's new book on same. A visit to the Oxidation Ponds was a very realistic eye opener and nose holder at times. (All need to know where our waste goes.) We listened to Bitterns booming at an overnight camp at Lake Ellesmere, visited the SPCA and learned more about monarch butterflies with Richard.

 

Our annual penguin trips took place in December, we overnighted at Lake Clearwater in February, learned about our native fish, visited Mt Sunday and discovered lake life with nets and viewing trays. Greg Bennett made a trip to Crayfish Creek possible last month; only one of our large group had ever seen a fresh water crayfish. A fun exploration.

 

KCC North Canterbury needs a new leader or several leaders to share as Jane, Steve and Eleanor finish in June. It is a great volunteer job which can be learned as you go, working with families who care about our natural world. We are fortunate to have many nature specialists in our city and around who are ready to share their knowledge with children. This is a very worthwhile group. Email Susan, northcanterbury@kcc.org.nz

 

Eleanor Bissell

 

 

Nature Heritage Fund 25th Anniversary

 

Lesley, Ainslie and Colleen (as Branch Chairperson) were invited along with dignitaries from throughout New Zealand to the NHF 25th anniversary celebration at Hakatere, Ashburton Lakes on November 5th, 2015.

 

Our congratulations to Di Lucas, the committees and staff, and all the other people involved in 25 years of outstanding achievement. A celebratory book has been published and it is of note that North Canterbury branch feature twice. Once in regard to the Poplars purchase in 2003, Lesley Shand being the driving force behind this, and the Carews Peak purchase in 2015 for which Ainslie Talbot and Alice Shanks led the branch involvement.

 

 

Appendix 1

 

Officers and committee June 2015 - May 2016

 

Chairperson: Colleen Philip

Treasurer: Ainslie Talbot

Secretary: Hendrikje Buss

KCC: Eleanor Bissell

Committee: Steve Attwood, Greg Byrnes, Valerie Campbell, Michael Godfrey,
Vanessa Horwell, Rachel Hurford, Lesley Shand, Penny Wright,
Helen Hills (Feb – May), Sionainn Byrnes (June – Nov),
Sharon Heatherbell ( June – Feb)

 

For contact details, see the North Canterbury Forest and Bird website or the monthly electronic newsletter.

 

Appendix 2

 

Public Meetings:

 

  • Estuary research. Speakers: Tanya Jenkins and Islay Marsden (Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust) 14/7/15
     

  • Kaimai Mamaku Restoration project. Speaker: Al Fleming 11/8/15
     

  • What is happening to whitebait and its habitat. Speaker: Dr Mike Hickford 8/9/15
     

  • The behaviour, ecology and management of stoats. Speaker: Dr Des Smith 13/10/15
     

  • Beneath the Surface (the story of Lake Horowhenua). Movie. Speaker: Nicki Atkinson (movie maker) 10/11/15
     

  • What are the challenges in keeping our biologically important islands pest free? Speaker: Dr Euan Kennedy 9/2/16
     

  • Stocker Scholarship recipients present research. Anna Henderson on factors affecting seed dispersal and regeneration of forest fragments in North Canterbury. Della Bennett on foraging habits of Hutton's shearwaters 8/3/16
     

  • Freshwater eels - creatures of importance and mystery. Speaker: Dr Don Jellyman 12/4/16

 

 

Appendix 3

 

Field trips: (organiser in brackets.)

 

  • Botanic Gardens tour. (Valerie Campbell) 9/8/15
     

  • Guided tour Riccarton Bush. (Greg Byrnes) 27/9/15
     

  • Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora Wetland and Migrant Bird tour. (Steve Attwood) 18/10/15
     

  • Trip to White Flippered Penguin colony Taylors Mistake. (Lesley Shand)
    16/12/15

     

  • Visit to Carews Peak. (Ainslie Talbot) 21/2/16
     

  • Trip to Arowhenua Bush and Waitohi bush, South Canterbury. (Colleen Philip) 13/3/16
     

  • Visit to Oxford A2 dairy farm and mudfish/wetland restoration site. (Penny Wright) 17/4/16

 

 

Appendix 4

 

Outreach display stalls held at:

 

  • Tuhaitara Coastal Park open day 8/11/15
     

  • The Great Sumner Picnic 28/2/16
     

  • The Estuary Fest 5/3/16
     

  • Braided River/Kaki recovery Art Auction at Nut Point 16/4/16

 

 

Supplementary documents:

 

Boyle Base report - Lesley Shand,

 

Mahoe Nui Bush report - Vanessa Horwell,

 

MacKenzie Guardians Report – Rosalie Snoyink