North Canterbury eNews February 2017


30 January 2017

February eNews

Kia ora << Test Preferred Name >>,
Public Talk: Just Do It! Getting Beyond the Talk on Climate.

5:30-7:00pm, Tuesday 7th February 2017
CoCA Art Gallery, 66 Gloucester Street

Forest & Bird say NATURE NEEDS OUR HELP and needs it NOW. Direct engagement with nature is good for the planet, good for our wildlife and good for us both personally and as one of the species needing to survive climate change. There have already been climate-related extinctions. Come and learn what Forest & Bird is wanting New Zealand to do, what we are doing as an organisation both nationally and locally, and how you can join in to become a 'Hero for Nature' and make a difference.

Guest speakers include Geoff Keey, Strategic Advisor Forest & Bird and Colleen Philip, Chairperson North Canterbury Forest & Bird

Entry $5. Free to CoCA and Forest & Bird members.

You are all invited to supper across the road at the WEA, hosted by the local (North Canterbury) Forest & Bird branch, after this meeting.

Note the change of time and venue from our usual public talks.

Seaweek Cycle from Ferrymead to Sumner

2pm, Sunday 26th February 2017
Tidal view, the loop of road labelled "windsurfing service area" off Humphreys Drive

For details please see flyer.

Estuary Festival

1-6pm, Saturday 4th February 2017
McCormacks Bay Reserve, Redcliffs

Fun, music and food to celebrate World Wetlands Day. North Canterbury Forest and Bird are still needing helpers to staff our stall at this event. If you are willing to spend an hour or two helping out, please email or phone Colleen, 03 981 8556. See facebook page for details.

Working Bees

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

  • Middelmost Mudfish Site
    2:30pm-5pm: Sunday 19th February
    Middelmost Dairy Farm, 332 Island Rd, View Hill (west of Oxford)
  • 'Sanctuary' braided-river project
    1pm-3pm: Saturday 25th February 
    Western end of Coutts Island Road

Seven Rivers, Seven Weeks

March - April 2017

This is an initiative of "Walk for the Planet" supported by Forest & Bird and many other groups and individuals. On the 1st March on the banks of the Heathcote River, a group of passionate people will begin a journey to walk the rivers of Canterbury to raise awareness of the ecological crisis our rivers are facing. Over the next seven weeks they will walk along various stretches of rivers and water ways throughout the region and engage with local communities as they address issues with their local rivers or water ways.

March 1st, 7pm: The 7 Rivers, 7 Weeks official launch. People will converge on the river from various churches including St Marks for a ceremony by the river near the Ernie Clarke reserve.

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 5pm. We will go to the nearby park for a relaxed BBQ after the day's efforts.

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.

Boyle Base, Lewis Pass

Since acquiring Boyle Base Hut in the Lewis Pass in 2009, our branch has set up a stoat trapping and monitoring programme around the hut, along the river flats and up to the forest edge. Four times a year, we make a trip to do monitoring. 

The North Canterbury branch of Forest and Bird works closely with DOC and is part of the wider effort in the Lewis Pass to improve the situation for the indigenous wildlife by controlling predation and improving habitat.

We have a new bunkroom and the whole hut is now mosquito proof.

Everyone is welcome at Boyle Base whether you are trapping or not. If you wish to be involved with this project or to know more about it please phone Lesley Shand 03 379 0316. 

Environmental Defence Society Court Challenge against MacKenzie District Council 


The year ended with a successful challenge in the Environment Court by the Environmental Defence Society (EDS). EDS questioned the legality of exemptions in two rules in the Mackenzie District Council (MDC) Plan. These `loophole` exemptions were being used to clear land for irrigation with significant ecological values without the need for resource consents. The EDS lawyers considered this a breach of the RMA. The matter needed to be resolved quickly.

The clearances were happening before a final decision on MDC Plan Change 13 (PC13) was completed. PC 13 proposes to introduce new rules to restrict land development, and subdivision in the Mackenzie Basin`s Outstanding Natural Landscape (ONL). Affidavits were provided by Dr Susan Walker, Gary Taylor (EDS), Nicholas Head, Jennifer Miller (F&B), Nathan Hole (MDC), Murray Valentine, Federated Farmers and others. Their evidence and the decision can be read at the following link.

An agreement was reached by MDC and EDS, that the Council promulgate a Plan Change (PC17) before Christmas, putting a 12 month freeze on the “permitted activity” exemptions.The Court ordered the rules in PC17 to have immediate legal effect. The Judge wrote in the decision…”the evidence is clear that there is already a ‘gold rush’ in progress.”

PC 17 was publicly notified the following day. Public submissions are called for and due by 8 March 2017. We’ll circulate a submissions guide later to those who would like to submit on this crucial plan change.

Plan Change 13 Hearing 
Two weeks have been put aside for the Plan Change 13 Hearing which starts Monday 30 January 2017. Mackenzie Guardians will present legal (Ruby Haazen), ecological (Dr Susan Walker), landscape (Di Lucas) and pastoral ecology (Bruce Allan) evidence. EDS is presenting landscape and planning evidence. Again, your attendance at this hearing is important as it indicates strong public support for the Plan Change.

The Hearing is Commencing: 30 January 2017 Time: 10am Venue: Tower Room, Chateau on the Park 189 Deans Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch 

It is likely Mackenzie Guardians’ evidence will not be heard until the 2nd week beginning 7 February. For those who live in Christchurch and can drop into the hearing anytime, it would be great to see you.

There is a lot of information on the website, so do please read and share.

Other Events

Te Waihora - Ellesmere Bird Survey

The Waihora Ellesmere Trust are looking for volunteers to help with next February 11th's bird survey. For details see here.

Seaweek Festival

25th February - 5th March 2017

Seaweek festival is coming up with a great range of events including a poetry competition. Information can be found 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.

NIWA seeking help for a Research Project on Juvenile Fish Habitats 

NIWA is looking for people who have had a long association with the Hauraki Gulf, East Northland or Marlborough Sounds to help them with a research project on juvenile fish habitats.

If you would like to support this project please have a look at the project website.


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.  (Ph: 0800 200 064)

Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Steve Attwood

Penny Wright
Helen Hills
Hugh Thorpe
George Moon
Elizabeth Guthrey

Facebook group.

Links of interest

Government road-blocks better regional ocean protection. Read Forest and Bird press release here.

Excellent Mike Joy article on 'agency capture' shifting goalposts on environmental issues.

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

4 February 1-6pm
Estuary Festival

7 February 5:30pm
Public talk at CoCA

19 February 11:00am
Summer on the Styx

19 February 2:30-5:00pm
Mudfish working bee

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

26 February 2:00pm
Seaweek cycle ride

March - April
Seven Rivers, Seven Weeks

1 March 7:00pm
7 Rivers, 7 Weeks launch

4 March 9:30am
Opawaho/Heathcote walk

19 March 2:30-5:00pm
Mudfish working bee

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

28-30 April
Trip to Hinewai

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