Past Events

Castledowns Dipton Wetland Working Bee August

19 August 2018

We have got a day sorted for you to head off into the unknown. Please all come and join us for more weeding, exploration and food.

Date 19th August 1 pm . Bring tools, gumboots, overalls and afternoon tea.

Bring your friends .

Watch for us and like us on Facebook

Ann Irving <Enable JavaScript to view protected content.>

Garden Bird Survey 2018

30 June - 8 July 2018

Pull out the note book, dust off the binoculars and make a flask of tea, it’s Garden Bird Survey time again.

The annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey is about to get underway and we need your help. No matter how big or small your garden is, if you have lots of birds or no birds we want to hear from you. The more surveys that are compelted the more accurate the results will be so it is important for everyone to participate.

The annual survey is a great opportunity to get a snapshot picture of bird life in the region, which also helps feed into the bigger picture of biodiversity within Southland. The results from the last ten years are now available (here) and show a decline in some of our favorite native species including bellbirds.

It only takes one hour at any time during the week from 30 June until 8 July. There’s an easy form to capture the information and a bird identification poster online at

Matariki in the Maara

17 June 2018

Kai Oranga Mataura invite you to an Matariki Open Day at the Mataura Marae.

1pm - 4pm 17th June 2018

The day will include information about the marae native nursery and restoration project as well as competitions and workshops. Click here for the event flyer and competition entry forms.

For more information contact Angela Mills Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

SERN Autumn Field day - Kew Bush and Bowmans Bush

26 May 2018

Despite the weather, a hardy group gathered at Kew Bush to celebrate the work of Allan McPherson and John Tait and their fellow Invercargill South Lions Club members over the last 15 years, helping to return the kahikatea forest to health. Over that time they have undertaken a war on holly and other weeds in the bush, propagated and planted natives back in to the open areas, carried out animal pest control and maintained the tracks so other people could enjoy the area. With Allan and John now stepping back from the work, and the South Invercargill Lions Club closing, Jesse Bythell, our local QEII rep, talked about setting up a Friends of Kew Bush to carry on the good work. She said she envisaged 3 or 4 working bees a year involving a range of acitivities like planting, weed and pest control and track maintenance. If this is something you feel you could help with, please contact Jesse, Enable JavaScript to view protected content. She will be setting up an email list to let people know when these events will be happening.

The second part of our afternoon was at Bowmans Bush, Otatara. Again in the rain we celebrated the Bowman family’s contribution through the protection of this sand dune forest remnant, with the unveiling of a sign organised by QEII National Trust. The legacy of appreciation for our native biota has shown out well and true in the grandson of Dr McDonald, who originally set this area aside. His descendent, Richard Bowman, the past Biosecurity Manager at Environment Southland, has been a wonderful supporter of the many groups involved in restoration projects around Southland. The support he had given SERN was recognised at the end of the day at the Rance’s Education Centre, where the SERN members presented Richard with a small gift.

Castledowns Wetland May Working Bee

23 May 2018

Our plans for 2018 are to continue to open up the area and tidy up the work that we have been doing, to find the cabbage trees and to search and destroy the hawthorn trees.

We are able to supply cutting tools and gel for pasting on trees but if you would prefer to bring your own please do. Long gumboots leggings and overalls are a good idea sometimes . We like to stop for afternoon tea so if you have a new creation please bring it along and share.

We are happy for you to come and just enjoy the Wetland

If you would like to share transport from Invercargill or have questions please contact me Ann Irving 2176428 or 0276569319

Please tell all your friends , relations and grandchildren about this special place