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Event date:
Event location:

Clubs of Marlborough, Alfred Street, Blenheim
New Zealand

Event type:
Conservation area:
South Island
Southland/Stewart Island
Top of the South
West Coast

NOTE: Due to the uncertainty around the current Covid Alert levels, we have decided to postpone the South Island Gathering. If you have already registered we will be in touch regarding refunds.  Watch this space for updates on new dates for the gathering. 

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Where the Land meets the Sea - Kei te tutaki o te whenua me te moana

This theme acknowledges and celebrates the Marlborough region's 1800km of coastline. 

Saturday's talks and field trip will concentrate on Marlborough’s East Coast.  This coastal area is a bit of a hidden treasure, with its wildlife, spectacular scenery and geography.  The area was subject to dramatic uplift in the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, which disturbed the coastal environment, but also made access easier to some of the hard-to-reach parts of the coast.  Natural ecosystems were severely impacted, but one of the most damaging effects has been the uplift enabling vehicles access to areas that previously were difficult to reach.

There has been much controversy about the damage caused by vehicles on the foreshore and coastal margin: disrupting bird nesting sites, frightening feeding birds and resting seals. 4W driving on the beach and in the sand-dunes has obvious effects, but there are other less visible effects on the fragile flora and fauna.  Marlborough District Council has done great work looking at this and have proposed a By-Law, aiming to close a length of the coast to vehicle access.  Some of those opposed to the by-law have advocated for an educational approach, however, this has not been particularly successful so far.  Submissions to MDC close on 8th September, but we will not know the final outcome at the time of the Gathering.

The Programme

The Gathering will start on the evening of Friday 1st October with registration and a chance for branches to talk about their projects and issues.

On Saturday 2nd October, we will have a series of talks about the geography and biology of Marlborough's East Coast in the morning.  This will be followed by a field trip to the East Coast Marfell’s Beach in the afternoon.

On Saturday evening, we will have the opportunity to share a buffet dinner together.  Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague will be our evening speaker.

On the morning of Sunday 3rd October, the programme will cover a range of topics, including:

  • Wilding conifers
  • Pelorus Long Tailed Bats
  • A local urban planting project
  • Updates from Head Office

Sunday Afternoon (optional).  If you do not have to rush off home, we really recommend visiting some local Marlborough sites while you are here:

  • Grovetown Lagoon – a restoration project, 15 mins north of Blenheim.
  • Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary - access by boat from Picton (30 mins from Blenheim).
  • Marshall Place – a riverbank planting, 5 mins walk from Clubs of Marlborough.
  • Whites Bay – a DOC campsite and regenerating bush on edge of the Marlborough Sound, half an hour north and east.

Food & Drink

Clubs of Marlborough have a bar and café. Plenty of seating and opportunity to dine in. Price as menu at venue. All Morning Teas and Lunches are included in the registration fee.

On Saturday night we will have an extensive buffet dinner, with a focus on vegetarian at $45pp. Please advise of any specific dietary requirements.

Registration Fee

Registration will be $90pp, which includes all talks, 2 morning teas, 2 lunches and return transport to Marfell’s Beach on Saturday afternoon. The Gathering dinner on Saturday will be $45pp.

Registration will be confirmed on receipt of payment.  Registrations will close on Friday 17th September.


There is a large selection of accommodation providers in and around Blenheim, from DOC campgrounds, B&B, AirBnB up to 4*hotels. We must emphasise early booking for accommodation as Marlborough is often a popular destination.

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Cancellation Policy: Full refunds will be given if the event is cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, or if individual attendees cannot attend due to the Alert Level of their home region.  If you need to cancel your registration for any other reason, full refunds will be issued up until the 24th September – after that by negotiation only.

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