Bushy Point Triple Celebration Day

On 14th September 2019 the Otatara Landcare Group (OLG) celebrated its 20th year and two other important milestones. At Bushy Point – the planting of 30,000 native plants and the reaching of 15,000 volunteer hours.

On the Triple Celebration Day we not only planted 1000 plants by lunchtime but had a ceremonial tree planting for Russell Evans who passed away recently – his wife May planted a special totara tree and our new kereru mascot was named “Russell” in his honour. This was followed by a BBQ, the cutting of the cake by our All Black Living Legend Kevin Laidlaw, and children’s activities.

If you haven’t been to Bushy Point it’s a great walk - the Bushy Point Project is accessible to the public at all times with walkways and interpretation signs – access from Bryson Road.

SIT students help restore Bluff Hill/Motupohue in Parks Week

SIT students have been involved in native plantings near the Gun Pit, as a part of the Bluff HIll Motupohue Environment Trust’s restoration project. One of a number of activities organised by ICC for Parks Week (see attached flyer), on Thursday 14th March from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, there’ll be a further planting undertaken by the SIT and the Bluff Hill Motupohue Environment Trust . This event is open to all, so come along to the Gun Pit on Bluff Hill and help put a plant in the ground, learn about our natural environment from DOC staff in attendance and meet members of Bluff 2024.

Predator Free NZ Workshop Inspirational

A Predator Free 2050 community group evening was well attended on 30 January 2019. Around 45 people came along to the Education Centre and listened to some very interesting speakers – the evening was organised by Environment Southland and DOC.

First speakers were two Otago University Students researching pest issues on braided rivers and in the alpine region. This was followed by food and drink and networking and then Ed Chignell Chief Exec of Predator Free 2050 Limited - gave a presentation.

Ed outlined the landscape scale projects that had been funded around the country to date - Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Waiheke and Dunedin and shared some amazing videos of those projects. The videos can be viewed at

Following on was Rhys Millar from Predator Free Dunedin who gave a positive but honest talk on the process of getting such a project off the ground and the steps involved in joining many individual projects together into a landscape wide project – including setting up a new overarching Charitable Trust, fundraising, getting collaborators and the actual work on the ground. Lots of food for thought. To complete the night Willy Gamble from Stewart Island Restoration Charitable Trust (SIRCET) showed all the good work that group are doing to free Stewart Island of animal and plant pests and the technology they are using to log catches and track weeds. In typical Willy style he introduced quite a bit of humour into his talk, including some fascinating statistics from Pokemon! (see photo below).

Earlier in the day the speakers had addressed the Southland Predator Free forum organised by DOC and Venture Southland. At that meeting Ed ad Rhys gave talks with the addition of Al Bramley of Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) who spoke about the new technologies and current learnings, which were fascinating.

Well done DOC, Environment Southland and Venture Southland for bringing the speakers to Southland.

Chris, Southland Community Nursery

OLG News - 29,000 plants in the ground- so far!

On Saturday 8 September 2018 eighty-five people came along to Bushy Point in Otatara to help with the annual Otatara Landcare Group (OLG) planting project. In the Year 2000 (you remember, that year everything electronic was going to stop!) Barry Smith came up with the “2000 in 2000” project. The idea was that every resident of Otatara would plant a native tree at Bushy Point. Now, 18 years later we are onto our 29000th tree. It’s a big OLG effort supported by the community and it seems to go from strength to strength. The aim of joining up two areas of bush (the totara forest and the regenerating kahikatea forest) has largely happened and large area of former paddock are now a flourishing regeneration area. For those not so familiar with the project it also got an injection of enthusiasm and funding in 2011 from the Rugby World Cup (well the Tindall Foundation under the banner of the world cup) supporting a project in every region of the country by funding the purchase of native plants and their maintenance for the following three years. On the ground that meant an extra 10,000 plants in three years. The large turn-out of people in September meant that the 1000 locally grown plants were in the ground by lunchtime – snug under their combi-guards (to prevent rabbit browse) and we were all tucking into a well-earned BBQ sausage. Planting days are great for their camaraderie and fun – it’s a family day and it is gratifying to see so many children who will remember planting here and visiting in years to come. Bushy Point is Department of Conservation land where the OLG has a 30 year lease to convert the paddocks back to nature. It is open space, available to everyone and has walkways, a pond, native planting, tracks and interpretation – check it out, access from the end of Bryson Road, Otatara.

Omaui takes next step in saving it's birds

After having been trapping for possums, mustelids and rats over the last few years, the Omaui Landcare Group now have their sights on another predator, the cat. In the Southland Regional Pest Management Plan, currently out for submissions, the rule has been proposed that domestic cats be neutred and chipped, and that only those cats already living in Omaui be allowed to live out their natural life, with no new ones to be brought in. This is recognising the damage that cats cause to the native birds, lizards and insects living in the bush so close to Omaui township’s back door. The Groups main concern is to eradicate the feral cat population, however they also realise that even the pet moggy can do harm.