North Canterbury eNews June 2017


4 June 2017

June eNews

Kia ora << Test Preferred Name >>,

Public Talk: Spiders and the Birds and the Bees - Cor Vink

7:30pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (op. Art Gallery)

In his talk, Cor will explore some of the diversity of New Zealand’s wonderful spider fauna and talk about research on nurseryweb spiders and the invasive redback. Cor recently appeared on Coast New Zealand talking about the katipo spider. The episode can be viewed here.

Supper and a chat afterwards. All welcome.

Working Bees

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

  • Mahoe-nui
    There will be no working bees over winter. Instead efforts will be directed to restoring bush destroyed in the recent fires. For details see here.  
  • 'Sanctuary' braided-river project
    1pm-3pm: Thursday 8th June, Saturday 24th June
    Western end of Coutts Island Road

Sanctuary - Waimakariri Braided River Project.

Photos: Greg Stanley

Celebrating Kea

3:00 pm, Saturday 1 July
Kea shelter opposite the DOC visitor centre, Arthur’s Pass village

Everyone is invited to attend the opening of the Arthur’s Pass kea information shelter and citizen science project. We will celebrate kea – our precious iconic bird – by having a local mid-winter gathering! This has been a community project initiated by the Arthur’s Pass Kea Team in partnership with DOC, Kea Conservation Trust and the Arthur’s Pass Wildlife Trust with huge time and effort from many volunteers and sponsors.

Tea and cake will be provided afterwards at the Community Centre (end of School Road) with a BYO barbeque and drinks to follow. There will be an opportunity to try out the new online sightings database for the first time so you can enter in all your kea sightings.

More information on the project can be found here.  Please RSVP by 27 June to

Let’s make this event something to remember and really celebrate our most charismatic local bird!

Chairperson's Annual Report.

For a good summary of what our branch did in 2016 - 2017 look at our Annual Report, and the reports for the Middelmost and Sanctuary projects.

RMA Changes

Forest & Bird is warning that draconian new powers the government has given itself under the Resource Management Act, or even new special legislation, could be used to push through controversial new coal mining plans.

Read the full article here.


In recent years, we have lost a significant amount of our indigenous biodiversity through land use intensification on the Canterbury Plains, and in the foothills. This has resulted in a significant number of species experiencing continuing decline; and it is still happening.

In many other OECD countries, when species are listed as threatened, they automatically receive legislative protection from hunting, habitat destruction and other threats. In New Zealand this is not the case – there is no direct link between conservation status and legal protection as assessed using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS), or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-list, the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.

Currently, at least 900 species of flora and fauna are threatened or endangered nationwide. In Canterbury, this amounts to having over 200 plants and over 300 animal and insect species under threat of extinction or endangered.

Similarly, much less than 10% of indigenous plant cover is left on the Plains, while only about 2% of these scattered remnants are protected. Many of these remnants require serious restoration as they are so depleted in one way or another. 

Through rapid land use changes, we are daily losing natural habitat for lizards, bats and invertebrates. To recreate such habitats elsewhere is not only time consuming, it is drawing significant resources, and isolated patches of such habitat may not be sustainable as connections between habitats are lost.

While birds and bats can fly, appropriate habitat is still vital as some species are reliant on vegetation corridors to move about. Both District and Regional Councils have a responsibility to conserve and maintain ecological values and biodiversity, but actions to achieve this are often not specified in council plans. It is up to ECan and District Councils to look into how to approach biodiversity sustainability in an integrated way, and take responsibility for our declining ecosystems.

A significant factor in biodiversity loss is public perception, and the awareness of local councillors. A recent Lincoln University survey found that New Zealanders are concerned about and aware of freshwater issues. Rivers and lakes, and groundwater were judged to be the worst managed environments. However, in contrast, the overall management of the environment, including sustainable biodiversity, was incorrectly perceived to be adequate or good.

Ines Stager

Volunteers wanted

Supper Helper(s)

If you are a regular attender of our monthly public talks, you could help the committee (who are generally tied up with other aspects of the meeting) by ducking out to the kitchen ten minutes before the end of the talk and setting up the supper. If you would like to help, please let us know or phone Mike: (03) 382 9912

Other Events

Braided Rivers Seminar

8.30am – 5.30pm, Thursday 29 June
Lincoln Events Centre (15 Meijer Dr. Lincoln) 

This seminar carries on from historic workshops held at Environment Canterbury and a TAG (Technical Advisory Group) workshop with a wider focus on braided river birds. A subsequent workshop, hosted by the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group, resulted in the creation of BRaid in 2006. The workshop format has evolved into a seminar.

Register early for your free ticket here, as the previous workshop was booked out.

New Zealand National Geographic 

New Zealand National Geographic often has very good environmental articles on its website. For example predator free NZA Taste for Plastic and an article comparing work done to save the maui dolphin in NZ with what is being  done in Mexico to save the vaquita dolphin.

On the topic of plastic, there is a petition for parliament to ban the use of plastic bags by 2020 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 Ainslie Talbot
KCC - to be confirmed
Mahoe-nui Bush - Helen Hills
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
Rick Robinson
Shannon Gilmore
Gabriel Calcott

Facebook group.

Links of interest

Budget delivers $12 million less for native wildlife.

The war for water. hands across the sands write up in The Press.

'Secret' coal mining plans for the West Coast.

80 per cent of native birds threatened - commissioner for the environment.

World-class Canterbury fishery now rivers of green  

38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island  

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

13 June 7:30pm
Public talk: Spiders

8 & 24 June 1:00-3:00pm
'Sanctuary' working bees

29 June 
Braided Rivers Seminar

1 July 3:00pm
Kea Shelter opening

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