North Canterbury eNews April 2016


27 March 2016

April eNews

Kia ora Mr and Mrs Godfrey,

Kiwi Conservation Club Leaders

KCC groups are for families with kids who love our natural world and want to engage more with it. Leaders encourage a love of nature and an understanding of conservation. There are over thirty KCC groups in New Zealand.

KCO's (co-ordinators) lead kids on out door adventures. The North Canterbury group needs new leaders.

The benefits for leaders are:

  • increasing your understanding and knowledge of our wild places.
  • meeting lovely families. KCC is family based and kids always attend outings with a responsible adult, usually a parent or a grand parent.
  • choosing the outings - from 5 to 10 per year. 
  • going to neat places you possibly wouldn't make time to visit on your own.
  • engaging with experts like Hugh Wilson to help lead trips so you don't need to go it alone. 
  • attending annual leaders only KCO's weekend event for leaders only, usually sponsored by your Forest and Bird Branch. This is a learning, helping, sharing time. 

What you do give is some of your leisure time but it is a very worthwhile cause and we all need to give back in some way! Please contact; Susan to find out more.

Public Talk: Freshwater Eels- creatures of importance and mystery.

7.30pm Tuesday April 12th
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (opp. Art Gallery)

Eel expert and Emeritus Fisheries Scientist at NIWA, Dr Don Jellyman, will speak on eels, highlighting their conservation value and fascinating aspects of their biology.

Dr Jellyman first started research on freshwater eels in 1969 and has continued since then. Although there are three species in New Zealand, the shortfin and longfin are the most widely distributed and both are of considerable ecological and customary importance. They also sustain a significant commercial fishery. We know little of their life at sea, but Don will review results of satellite tracking tags, and larval investigations, as well as highlighting some of the unusual and mysterious biology of these enigmatic fish.

North Canterbury Forest and Bird AGM and Lance McGaskill Memorial Speaker.

7.30pm Tuesday May 10th
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (opp. Art Gallery)

The AGM of the North Canterbury branch of Forest and Bird will be held in May at the WEA, followed by a delicious supper. All welcome.

Nominations and seconders for the branch committee should be sent beforehand to the Chair, Colleen Philip, at  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor.

The keynote speaker at the 2016 AGM will be the irrepressible Hugh Wilson, who has kindly agreed to a rare visit to ‘the car-infested swamp’ from Banks Peninsula to provide us with an “Update on Hinewai and the new reserve in nearby Grehan Valley.”

Hugh is well known as a brilliant and entertaining speaker and will have a number of stunning slides to illustrate his talk about progress at the internationally reknowned Hinewai Reserve.

Field Trip: Dairy Field Day at "Middelmost" - Althea MacLean's A2 Dairy and Sheep Milking Farm

9:15am Sunday, April 17th 
Meet at Belfast Hotel Carpark (The Peg) or the Pink Elephant Park, Blackett St, Rangiora and we will all meet up at the Oxford Hotel, the western end of Oxford at 9.45am before driving to the farm. Duration 10am - 2pm 

Mudfish picture by local artist Kate Jacob.

Althea has this wonderful vision of gifting two very significant parts of her property to the community as a Mudfish and Water Bird Reserve. Sophie Allen from the Working Waters Trust has the planning of this project well under way and we at North Canterbury Forest and Bird have been invited to participate. Althea will give us an overview of her farm operation and vision for the reserve. Sophie will give an update on the management plan and how and when we can help with the development.
We will then take a walk along the Mudfish Moat and Pukeko Pond areas.

Bring a picnic lunch and something to put on the BBQ which Althea has offered to fire up for us. Sophie will then lead us down to Heifer Hollow where a natural spring has created a perfect mudfish habitat. She has offered to set up a couple of traps the day before - so we should get to see a mudfish up close. On the way home we could drive through the Eyrewell Forest Dairy development to see another aspect of dairying in Canterbury, if participants are interested.

Contact for this field day is Penny Wright 03 3127151 (Woodend)

KCC Camp at Lake Clearwater

Participants saw the Gee Minnow traps at Deep Stream lifted to show small trout up close, unfortunately not native galaxids as we had hoped. The top of Mt Sunday was extremely windy but we stayed long enough to appreciate the size and many braids of the Rangitata River and to admire the increased growth of the surrounds of the beautiful fresh water spring, now fenced off from stock. A very unwanted weed with hundreds of seeds was found and kids learned how necessary it was to dispose of it.

Most parents and kids swam in Lake Camp just before our BBQ and shared a salad dinner followed by fruit salad. Among the games we played, we learned about Predators and Prey of our Braided Rivers by participating as either a predator or prey. We ventured out to attract eels even though it was still very windy and saw one by torch light when it came to our stinky meat! Some of our keen kayakers were out on a calm lake very early Sunday morning; perfect weather!

A walk to the little known and unspoiled Spider Lakes followed. Many birds were spotted and the kids pond-dipped and to the delight of all, caught bullies and a good variety of aquatic insects. Dolomedes aquaticus (water spider) put on a great display then submerged to watch the participants! With special permission, we gazed way down in to the silica sand mine learning a little about the geology of the area.

Families who didn't return to kayak some more at Lake Clearwater enjoyed a picnic lunch at Mt Somers on their way home.

Eleanor will be stepping down from her KCC coordinators position in June. KCC needs 2 to 3 people to share leadership of outings. Please contact Susan at KCC North Canterbury.

KCC Youth Camp 2016.

7.30pm Tuesday April 22 - 26
Miranda Shorebird Centre (Firth of Thames)

There are still spaces available on our Youth Camp 2016, which will be held at Miranda Shorebird Centre (Firth of Thames) from 22-26 April! This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get a hands-on experience with birds and develop skills in bird ecology!

Read more here: or get in touch with Andrew Styche or Ann Buckmaster Contact the secretary or chairperson if you want to come along or would like more information!

Seaweek Cycle

As part of sea-week, Colleen introduced the idea of a Forest and Bird and Friends cycle ride from Ferrymead to Sumner. At 2.30pm six cyclists including a young girl aptly (we thought) called Ocean set off from Tidal View road. Along the way we were treated to views of kite-surfers, oystercatchers, cormorants swallowing surprisingly large fish, gulls, ducks, godwits, caspian terns and a hang glider coming in to land on the beach. At Sumner we joined the North Canterbury Forest and Bird stall at the Great Sumner Picnic.

Thanks Colleen for a very enjoyable cycle ride, which is planned to be a yearly event as part of celebrating Sea-week.


The Mother of all Rubbish Clean-ups - Heathcote /Opawaho 

10am - 12 noon  Saturday May 7th
Carpark at the Ferrymead end of the track through to Calder Green Reserve

As members are aware Forest and Bird North Canterbury branch have for the past few years, assisted by the local Girl Guides and the Heathcote Valley Community Association, cleaned up the riverside and mudflat areas on and adjacent to our saltmarsh and project zone at Calder Green Reserve. We do this after bird-breeding season, in autumn. Last year we joined Zak Cassels and the Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust and Roimata residents, who also do rubbish clean-ups on the Heathcote, and together we successfully cleaned up a longer stretch of the river.

This year the plan is to clean up the full length of both the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho and Avon River/Ōtākaro, and the estuary edges. The whole wider effort this year is being lead and coordinated by other groups, in particular the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River Network, the Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board and the Estuary Trust. However, different groups will be responsible for different areas and we (Forest and Bird) are again doing the lower stretch from the Ferrymead Bridge to the Lyttelton Tunnel Road bridge. Both sides! 

We need as many members and community helpers as we possibly can get because this, with the islands and saltmarshes, is a large area to cover and it also receives everything that washes from higher up the river. Can you help us on May 7th (Saturday), starting at 10 am? We finish at 12 noon.

We will meet to start our part of the clean-up at the carpark at the Ferrymead end of the track through to Calder Green Reserve.  Any questions contact me at or phone 03 981 8556.

Foraging behaviour of Hutton’s shearwater - Stocker Scholarship Report 

Della Bennet, who spoke at February's public meeting, has made her report on the foraging behaviour of Hutton's Shearwater available to us. It is an interesting and informative follow-up to her talk and can be accessed here.

Ratepayer Voter? 

Are you one of the many Forest and Bird members who own a property, often held for conservation or recreation purposes, in an electorate away from your home address? Are you aware that as a ratepayer in that electorate you are entitled to vote as a ratepayer elector in local body elections?

In some areas absentee owners make up a significant proportion of the total of property owners but very few know they have a vote let alone exercise that right. For each property only one person is allowed a ratepayer vote, even if the property is jointly owned.

Please contact the appropriate local council office for an enrolment form, enrol to vote and then get your vote in later this year. If enough of us do this it could make a lot of difference to the type of leadership and concern for environmental issues that we might see in some areas.

Other Events

Freshwater Reform Submissions

By 5:00pm 22nd April

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries are currently consulting with the public on Freshwater Management. Submissions must be received by 5:00pm April 22nd. For more information click here.

Braided River Awareness and Fundraising Art Auction

4 - 6pm Saturday 16th April 
Nut Point Centre, 222 Langdales Road off Old West Coast Road, West Melton

The aim of this event is to raise awareness of braided river ecosystems and also to raise funding for the Kakī Recovery Programme. Thirty artists will be contributing braided river-themed art to this event, and all proceeds from the auction will help the Kakī Recovery Programme establish a new release site in the Mackenzie Basin.

Refreshments and entertainment provided. Check out the Facebook page for details. RSVP to or call 342 1033.

Braided Rivers Workshop

8:30am - 5:00pm Tuesday 31st May
Lincoln Events Centre, 15 Meijer Drive, Lincoln

This free workshop is open to anyone interested in braided rivers and the threatened birds that depend on them for their survival. For more information see flyer. To book go here.

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)

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

Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Greg Byrnes 
Steve Attwood

Rachel Hurford
Penny Wright
Helen Hills

Links of interest

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

12 April 7:30pm
Public talk on Freshwater Eels

16 April 4:00pm
Braided River Art Auction

17 April 9:15am
Mudfish Field Trip

7 May 10:00am
The Mother of All Rubbish Cleanups
(Calder-Green Reserve)

10 May 7:30pm
AGM with Hugh Wilson

31 May 8:30am
Braided River Workshop

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

© 2012 Forest & Bird (North Canterbury), All rights reserved

Our mailing address is:
Forest and Bird North Canterbury

PO Box 2389

Christchurch 8140

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