February electronic newsletter


3 March 2017

March eNews


Seven Rivers, Seven Weeks

This is an initiative of "Walk for the Planet" supported by Forest & Bird and many other groups and individuals. Over the next seven weeks there will be walks along various stretches of rivers and water ways throughout the region and engagement with local communities as they address issues with their local rivers or water ways.

Saturday, March 4th: A walk along the full length of the Opawaho/Heathcote river starting 9am Aidanfield Drive Bridge, arriving for lunch 12.30 -1.30 at the South Library (Colombo St) and finishing at our own Calder Green Reserve around 4.30pm for an afternoon tea. It would be good to have members come to our reserve on the lower Heathcote to support the walkers and the speakers - Tanya Jenkins, Estuary Trust and Colleen Philip, North Canterbury Forest & Bird.

Friday March 10th Upper Rakaia. Meet at the carpark beside the Rakaia Gorge Bridge (north side) at 12 noon. 4WDs needed to get to Manuka Point. If you have a 4WD and can come on the Friday please let Colleen know so she can advise the co-ordinators. One of our members is taking a lead role in that part of the walk.

Saturday March 11th Rakaia. Some people are staying overnight at the Rakaia Gorge camping ground others leaving Christchurch at 8.30am. If you need help with carpooling phone or email Colleen.

For dates of each river check here. If you love or live close to any Canterbury rivers, check out the Facebook pages for the rivers you care about and get involved.

Public Talk: Brian Patrick - Drylands of Christchurch.

7:30pm, Tuesday 14th March 2017
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (op. Art Gallery)

Brian is an entomologist specialising in butterflies and moths but has broad interests in insect-plant relationships, and botany and other insect groups. He works as a senior ecologist with Wildlands in Christchurch but has a diverse background in museum management (Otago Museum and director of Central Stories in Alexandra), a conservancy advisory scientist for the Department of Conservation in Otago, accountancy and shop management.

He has co-authoured many books including the "Wild" series with Neville Peat (Wild Dunedin, Wild Central, Wild Fiordland and Wild Rivers), with his son "Butterflies of the South Pacific" (2012), and more recently "Rivers Rare" (2016) with Neville Peat - 25 years of Project River Recovery.
All welcome. Supper and a chat afterwards.

Bird Rescue at Parklands


Jackie Stevenson has been running the Bird Rescue Rehabilitation Centre for the last 17 years and is a long standing member of the Forest and Bird North Canterbury Branch. This year, particularly over Christmas and the New Year, has been incredibly busy for Jackie – the high winds have caused many injuries and many fledglings have been blown out of nests.

Jackie works with both native and exotic birds. Natives she has dealt with this year alone are many and include Kereru, Kingfishers, Spoonbills, Shags, Prions, Teals, Pukekos, Heron, Scaup and Petrels. She has also cared for numerous ducklings and small exotics. As a retired Vet and North Canterbury committee member, I got involved with Jackie in a support role soon after New Year. I have been able to help with decision making - particularly with respect to euthanasias and can carry them out when necessary. I have liaised with other vets on her behalf, done a post mortem and been able to supply some fluids/drugs etc.

One of the highlights for me was when the Blue Ridge Wildlife students from the USA called in for their third annual visit to Jackie’s. Twenty two students were put to work feeding, sorting supplies, cleaning and doing some maintenance work. I had the opportunity to discuss cases with and learn from Dr Lee Bolt, the Bird Vet that travels with the students. After his visit we have worked on oral fluid therapy regimes and now can administer a full recuperative liquid containing electrolytes, dextrose, amino acids and vitamins. Some arrivals are debilitated and dehydrated and cannot be fed immediately.

Jackie is the most dedicated and knowledgeable bird person I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ve seen birds I have never heard of before and am learning heaps.

If there is any young person out there, who lives on her side of town, who would like to be a regular support person for Jackie it would be a great opportunity to learn from one of the best. Please give me a ring if you would like to find out more.

Penny Wright: 03 3127 151

Working Bees

For more details of our working bees, please go to our website here.

  • Wilding Pine Eradication Days 
    7:30am Saturday 18th March, Sunday 9 April.  
    Meet at Yaldhurst Hotel.
    Contact: Joy Talbot: 03 9422917  
  • Middelmost Mudfish Site
    12:30pm-5pm: Sunday 19th March
    Middelmost Dairy Farm, 332 Island Rd, View Hill (west of Oxford)
    Working bee starts at 2:30 and is preceded by a BBQ at 12:30. See website above for details. 
  • 'Mahoe-nui
    9:15am: Saturday 25th March 
    Evans Pass Road, at hairpin bend (opposite Rapanui Bush)
  • 'Sanctuary' braided-river project
    1pm-3pm: Saturday 25th March 
    Western end of Coutts Island Road

Heathcote/Opawaho River Bird Surveys


Every three months, we conduct low tide, mid tide and high tide bird surveys on the Heathcote river, between the Ferrymead and Tunnel Road bridges. Each survey last about an hour and a half. If you would be interested in joining us on a survey, please contact Michael Godfrey.

Photo: GaneshRam Shankar

Field Trip: Ohinetahi.

10am Saturday April 8th
Meet at the entrance to Ohinetahi on Bay Heights, off Ernest Adams drive, Governors Bay.

Interim decision on Grasmere Station irrigation consent.

Just before Christmas the Environment Court issued an interim decision which granted consent to P&E Ltd, owners of Grasmere Station near Arthur’s Pass, to take water from the Cass River, subject to appropriate conditions.

The Court:

  • placed a minimum flow requirement of 800l/s on the Cass River, which was significantly higher than the 460l/s minimum flow sought by P&E;
  • was satisfied that Overseer modelling for nutrient runoff would ensure that Lake Grasmere was kept in a natural state;
  • and landscape matters got little attention.

The Court specifically addressed the question of whether the decision would set a precedent, in terms of allowing further irrigation in the Upper Waimakariri Basin. A critical factor was that P&E already has a consent in the Lower Waimakariri, which it would not exercise if this consent were granted.

This was critical because the Waimakariri River is over allocated and the Court considered that granting consent to Grasmere Station would not act as a precedent given another prospective applicant in this area would have to have a consent in the Lower Waimakariri that they would not exercise. The Court is probably correct that obtaining further consents for irrigation in the Upper Waimakariri will be challenging.

While the interim decision is certainty a setback, it is not yet a done deal.

  • Irrigation may not be viable at the 800l/s minimum flow in the Cass river;
  • The appeal period has not yet expired;
  • and there is a significant legal issue surrounding the legality of the use of the other consent which P&E does not want to transfer, but wants to manage through specific conditions.

If no appeals are lodged, the next step is to work through the conditions.

Peter Anderson General Counsel, Forest and Bird

Seaweek Cycle and Mahoe-nui Photos.

The weather didn't stop the Seaweek Cycle or the Mahoe Nui working group. The big smiles tell it all. We had a fabulous time cycling plus the much needed rain was coming down all around town.

Other Events

Tuhaitara Coastal Park Planting Session

10:00am - 11:30am Saturday 4th March 2017

There will be a one-and-a-half-hour planting session at Tūhaitara Coastal Park – Woodend Beach to celebrate Seaweek. The plan is to put in 300 cabbage trees in amongst the dunes and then into the office for a cuppa.

Details and pretty pics on the facebook link here.

Canterbury Museum - The New Zealand Tree Project

5:30pm - 7:30pm Wednesday 15th March

Canterbury Museum is holding a FREE public talk by ecologist Catherine Kirby at the Canterbury Museum and would like to invite you to attend. Catherine will talk about the inspiration, science and behind the scenes stories from the project. The talk will be followed by a gallery tour.

For info and bookings visit the website.

350 Trip to New Plymouth Petroleum Conference

21st March - 23rd March 2017

A 350.org crew from Christchurch will be joining people from all over New Zealand on a trip to New Zealand's annual Petroleum Conference in New Plymouth with the intention of peacefully disrupting it. 350.org are keen to get as many people up from the South Island as possible. You should factor in having Monday - Friday available for the trip.

For details and to register go here

Coastal Restoration Conference

The Coastal Restoration Conference will be held in Christchurch on 22-24 March 2017, with two optional field trips over the weekend. For details see here.


Get in touch!

If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to say hello then please drop us a line.

Chair - Colleen Phillip (Ph: 981 8556)
Secretary - Frances Wall
Treasurer & public talks Ainslie Talbot
KCC - situation vacant
Mahoe-nui BushVanessa Horwell
Website, eNews - Michael Godfrey
Boyle Base - Lesley Shand (Ph: 379 0316)
Calder Green Reserve - Mick Ingram (Ph: 03 384 8080 / 021 816633)

Membership - for changes to membership or donations.  
membership@forestandbird.org.nz  (Ph: 0800 200 064)

Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Steve Attwood

Penny Wright
Helen Hills
Hugh Thorpe
George Moon
Elizabeth Guthrey
Shannon Gilmore

Facebook group.

Links of interest

Absorption of river fringes into expanding farms here.

Coes Ford swimming hole reaches a record low and is nearly stagnant.

The ethics of sustainable water quality.

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

March - April
Seven Rivers, Seven Weeks

4 March 9:30am
Opawaho/Heathcote walk

14 March 7:30pm
Public Talk: drylands of Canterbury

18 March 7:30am
Wilding Pine Eradication Day

19 March 12:30-5:00pm
Mudfish working bee

25 March 9:15am
Mahoe-nui working bee

25 March 1:00-3:00pm
'Sanctuary' working bee

8 April 10:00am
Trip to Ohinetahi

To see a summary of upcoming events, please visit our website.

© 2012 Forest & Bird (North Canterbury), All rights reserved

Our mailing address is:
Forest and Bird North Canterbury

PO Box 2389

Christchurch 8140

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