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Event date:
Event location:

Clubs of Marlborough, Alfred Street, Blenheim New Zealand
New Zealand

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

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 hidden treasure, with its wildlife, spectacular scenery and geography.  The area was subject to dramatic uplift in the 2016 Kaikōura 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 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 (and consulted on) a new by-law to close a length of the coast to vehicle access.  Although some of those opposed to the by-law have advocated for an educational approach, this has not proven particularly successful so far. We hope that that the outcome of the submissions and hearings process will be known by the date of the Gathering. 

The Programme 

The Gathering will start on the evening of Friday 7 October with registration and a chance for branches to mingle, catch up and discuss their projects and future plans. 

On Saturday 8 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 (see Food & Drink section below for further details). Forest & Bird CE Nicola Toki will be our evening speaker. 

On Sunday 9 October, the programme will cover a range of topics, including: 

  • Pelorus Long Tailed Bats 

  • Te Hoiere/Pelorus Restoration Project 

  • A local Plague Skink Control Project

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshop run by Aroha Gilling

  • Updates from National Office 

Registration Fee 

Registration will be $90pp, which includes all sessions, 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 Monday 26 September

Food & Drink

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 options at $45pp. Please advise of any specific dietary requirements when registering. 

Alternatively, Clubs of Marlborough have a bar and café with plenty of seating and opportunity to dine in (price as per menu at venue). 

Local recommendations  

Some other local sites you may like to visit while you are in Marlborough are: 

  • 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. 


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. If you need to cancel your registration for any other reason, refunds can be requested up until 29 September – after that by negotiation only. 

Covid Policy 

Following the Government’s lifting of the “Traffic Light” guidelines, Forest & Bird have adjusted our Covid management plan. Face masks will not be required inside the venue, although we recommend that masks are worn except when eating and drinking, and we ask that you maintain social distancing where possible. Please note however that masks will be required on the bus during the field trip, so make sure you bring a mask with you. By registering for the Gathering, you agree to comply with this requirement.

There is no longer any vaccination requirement for people wishing to take part in Forest & Bird activities or events. This means that some attendees may be unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Please factor this into your decision to attend if you are at particular risk from catching Covid-19.

Please follow all public health guidance around travel and keeping yourself safe from Covid-19 on your way to and from the Gathering. Please do not attend the Gathering if you are unwell.

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