Southland Environmental ‘Action on the Ground’ Folk Honoured.

SERN’s heartiest congratulations go to Estelle Leask, Bluff and Mark Sutton, Te Anau on their recent MNZM awards for services to conservation. Both will be well known to members of the SERN community, having been involved in field days we have had in the past.

Estelle is a main driver of the Bluff Hill/Motopohue Restoration project and more recently been involved in the establishment of Te Korowai Whakahou plant nursery. Beyond her local area, she has also been instrumental in Predator Free projects for Rakiura and Auckland Island, a trustee on the Whenua Hou Komiti and a member of the Southland Conservation Board.

Mark led our 2021 Spring Field Day through the lower Waiau, highlighting the amazing work he’s been involved in as a manager with the Waiau Trust, along with being the QEII National Trust representative for the Waiau Catchment. Mark developed his love of wetlands, and what lives in them, from his father, Roger Sutton, another well known environmentalist in Southland through the 1970’s to early 2000’s. Interestingly Roger was awarded an MBE 36 years ago in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list! Mark’s focus is on habitat creation and land management to improve wildlife outcomes and water quality.

Titiroa Catchment Group looks at Biodiversity on Farm

On Friday 13th May, the Titiroa Catchment Group will welcome professor David Norton, a leading biodiversity expert, to help them explore their catchment and local bush blocks. David has a passion for supporting communities to look after and establish biodiversity on farm.

Join us to understand what biodiversity really means and what we have in the Titiroa catchment. There will be a catchment tour, a chance to explore some bush, and discussion about on farm management. The Environment Southland biodiversity team will also be joining us to talk about current funding support and local biodiversity projects.

If you would like to join this event, please contact Sandra Campbell, Thriving Southland Eastern Co-ordinator at 021 400 431 or email Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

Predator Free Backyard Communities Funding - Applications Open

Predator Free NZ - Backyard Communities Funding


Funding applications are now open for community groups that manage introduced predators in backyards. Please read all criteria before submitting an application.

About the programme

We select outstanding predator free backyard communities from around the country and give them funding to purchase trapping equipment. We also offer these groups ongoing support, information and advice.

Our goal is to have a trap in every 5th backyard in towns, suburbs and neighbourhoods in Aotearoa New Zealand who want to make their community predator free.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply for funding, initiatives must:

  • Be a backyard community group
  • Focus on trapping in backyards
  • Be based in a suburb or town, or a community of rural houses clustered together
  • Target any of the following: rats, stoats, ferrets, weasels or possums.

Backyard community groups are encouraged to include schools, marae and other community spaces, such as community and scout halls, bowling clubs and RSA’s.

This programme does not cover funding for:

  • Reserves and bush blocks on council or Department of Conservation land
  • Lifestyle blocks
  • Farms
  • Commercial land (i.e. shops).

Applications open 16 February and close 9 March 2022.

What we’re looking for

Your application will have the best chance of success if your initiative:

  • Will have a significant impact on your local community
  • Has progressed beyond concept stage, or you have taken substantial action towards setting up your backyard community group (i.e. you’ve rallied your neighbours and got their support, held a community meeting, have quotes for equipment, etc)

How much funding could we potentially receive?

Successful applicants will receive between $1,000 and $5,000.

The amount you receive will depend on the size of your backyard community group and what you are trying to achieve.

What can funding be used for?

Funds can be used for:

  • Pre-trapping accessories such as chew cards, tracking tunnels, etc
  • Traps and pre-made tunnels
  • Building supplies for making tunnels (if required)
  • Advertising & marketing materials and some event costs (by negotiation)

We provide account management services to successful communities, including purchasing and supplying products.In New Zealand, trap use is regulated by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. All traps available under our programme have met trap-testing guidelines.

What other support will we receive?

In addition to funding, we can help you facilitate and set-up your predator free backyard community programme – as needed.

Support may include:

  • Enabling you to organise community meetings
  • Setting up a Facebook page
  • Account management services
  • Providing support materials

We work with successful communities to figure out the best support for them.

When do funding applications close?

Applications for this round of funding close on Wednesday the 9th of March. Winners will be announced by Monday the 11th of April.

More Funding Available - Applications Open - Environment Southland

Environmental Enhancement Fund

Southland has lots of special native species and ecosystems that are at risk from animal pests, weeds, drainage and development. Environment Southland is committed to supporting communities and individuals who want to combat these threats and help restore our precious environment.

The focus of the Environmental Enhancement Fund is on protecting and improving what we already have, rather than creating new areas like new wetlands or riparian buffers.

The fund has been boosted by Jobs for Nature, and now provides up to $300,000 per year until the end of June 2025. The increase in funding is part of Environment Southlands Biodiversity Action on the Ground programme, which received $4.25m from the Ministry for the Environment through Jobs for Nature in 2020.

Examples of actions supported by the fund include:

  • pest animal and weed control
  • fencing
  • work to restore the natural flow of water
  • native planting and plant maintenance.

Who can apply for funding?

Landowners, trusts, individuals and community groups working anywhere in Southland on either private land, conservation land or council reserves can apply.

If you’re not sure whether your project would qualify, Environment Southland can provide advice and come out to do a visual assessment.

Environment Southland can help with project planning, and with putting together an application.

How much funding is available and when can I apply?

Environment Southland has allocated $300,000 to the fund for each financial year until the end of June 2025.

A grant from the EEF will only cover the direct cost of materials and labour used in the project.

The EEF will contribute up to 50% of the project costs.

For more information, call Environment Southland on 0800 76 88 45 and ask to speak to a member of the biodiversity team about the Environmental Enhancement Fund.

To Apply online, follow the link below.

Apply Online

Be sure to log in to ‘My Account’ to save the form and return later.

To apply offline, download the link below and email your completed application to Enable JavaScript to view protected content. with ‘Environmental Enhancement Fund’ in the subject line.

Download the application form (PDF), 152KB

Download the application guide (PDF), 2.6MB

You can apply at any time but funded works must be completed and invoices received within the same financial year the grant is approved. Funding for the 2022/2023 financial year is now open. Applications close 30 April 2022.

Project sustainability and long-term protection

Projects should have a long-term goal so that biodiversity values on the site continue to be protected after the funds have been invested. You will need to include information about continuing maintenance and demonstrate an ongoing commitment as part of the application.

40th Aniversary of Te Rere yellow-eyed penguin Reserve

The recent 40th Anniversary celebrations at Te Rere were a time for looking back over the achievements of the last 40 years, but also the challenges for the future and some solid hands-on planting of 500 locally sourced native plants. The working day in August had been postponed due to Covid and a smaller group assembled in Invercargill for the 90 minute journey to the reserve on Saturday 4th December 2021.

After the planting of 500 locally sourced native plants supplied by Pukerau Nursery, Te Rere stalwarts Fergus Sutherland and Brian Rance took groups to both sides of the reserve where penguins nest. It is now hard to see the scale of the plantings – where once you could see across the whole reserve, native plants obscure distant views. However, people were able to see and hear Hoiho on their nests (with chicks) and look over the landing areas where the penguins come ashore, walk through 20 year old plantings and see the progress that has been made over that time.

The celebration couldn’t be complete without a cake and a special “penguin cake” had been made for the occasion by Linda Jackson and Fergus had donated one of his special Hoiho paintings which was “won” in a special draw by Estelle Pera-Leask from Bluff Motupohue. Even the predicted rain and thunderstorms held off on this special day in the history of Forest and Bird’s Te Rere Reserve. For more information visit