Past Events

Kew Bush Working Bee

4 December 2021

The last Kew Bush Working Bee for this year, with a 9:30am start. We are getting a truck load of dunite gravel delivered that morning and will cart it onto the track by motorbike and trailer. There will be some weeding and planting too.
Please bring shovel or spade, gloves and a wheel barrow if you have one. Check this project out at

Castledowns Wetland Volunteer day

28 November 2021

This day, starting at 1.30pm, is a follow on from our planting day and a chance for those people who like to get in with cutting tools to attack weeds along the sides of the tracks. If you are happy to pull out Bitter sweet weeds or just want to join us we would love extra help to check the plantings.This well be our last organised day for the 2021 year but feel free to visit at other times.

Please bring afternoon tea and if it is a fine day perhaps a swim in the Oreti and a BBQ afterwards.

For any other details please contact Ann 027 656 9319.

Starter's Guide to Predator Control on Farms - Webinar - with Cam Speedy

9 November 2021

Introduced predators (rats, mice, possums, stoats, ferrets and weasels) create havoc on farms. They eat crops, spread diseases including bovine TB and Leptospirosis, damage equipment, and harm native plants and wildlife. They also breed fast: one pregnant rat can result in 400 more rats in just six months.

Join Cam Speedy, a predator control expert, to learn how predator control can make a significant difference on your land. Knowing when and how is the secret to being successful and keeping the costs down.

The webinar is going to be held on Tuesday 9 November at 7pm, to join just follow the web link below,

Brought to you by the Predator Free New Zealand Trust.

2021 SERN Spring Field Day

6 November 2021

The SERN Spring Field Trip headed to the lower Waiau valley where we heard from Mark Sutton of the Waiau Habitat Enhancement Trust about the created wetlands they developed with the purpose of increasing whitebait and eel populations. SERN visited these wetlands in 2008, not long after the start of their creation, however the area of open water has increased fourfold now. From a lookout on Fishing Camp Rd, looking down over the valley there is a mix of wetlands and pasture area. Mark explained that the restoration project will be self sustaining, with income from baleage covering any costs required to maintain the area. With a good road through the wetlands, we were able to drive through the lower area with several stops to look at the ponds and also plantings that had been undertaken. Flax is the main species planted and is done taking large plants from nearby farms, extracting and planting with a digger, so low maintenance. We also looked at a couple of areas where they had done direct drilling of native seeds, in conjunction with DOC. Grass is the main competitor and spraying plots had been tried. They had also experimented with just clearing the area back to dirt with a digger, but still had to spray regrowth. There were several plots of cabbage trees, one which had been smaller plants and required several years of intensive maintenance to get them going. The second plot larger trees had been put in at a higher cost initially, however little maintenance required and so was seen as more effective. The two inlet streams from the Waiau River now maintain good water levels year round, although some of the ponds do dry out through the summer. This provides good areas for wading birds and two bittern had been seen in the area over the last year. Besides providing excellent habitat for eels and whitebait, the main purpose of the wetlands construction, there is also an abundance of waterfowl and other birds in the area.

In the afternoon we visited Broadlands Bush, owned by the Day family. A 12ha podocarp forest remnant on the banks of the Waiau River, protected by a QEII National Trust Open Space Covenant, there are some magnificent 1000 year old totara within, which we walked down to see, accompanied by Warrick Day and his son, Lije. The last stop was Wairaki Oxbow Lagoon, owned by the Smith family. This wetland area still retains its natural character with flax and carex around the edge, while on the escarpment there are remnants of totara. The Waiau Trust is assisting with fencing of the area and some revegetation work. The Smith family are happy for the public to access the wetland and so the Waiau Trust is also helping with the development of tracks to enable this.

Thanks go to the Biodiversity Team, Environment Southland for their support of this field day in covering the bus cost.

Planting day at the Castledowns Wetland, Dipton

31 October 2021

Starting at 1.30pm, it is that time of year for planting trees in our Wetland. We have spots sprayed and will have 140 trees to plant. We are hoping that we will have plenty of helpers to get the trees into their spots to start growing.

We welcome anyone who would like to come and help to make this a fun day. Please bring your spade to plant, food, and afternoon tea, but if you would just like to join us we would love to see you there.

Go to Dipton, go over the Oreti Bridge at Dipton and take the 2nd turn left on to the Dipton Mossburn road and go 13 km and we are on the right after the road crosses the Dipton Stream on a new Bailey bridge at 900 Dipton Mossburn road

These days are weather dependant as we can not cross the stream if there is heavy rain. If in doubt please ring Ann 027 656 9319

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