Environment Southland

Water Story

Haere mai and welcome to our new and evolving Water Story. This is a place where you can learn more about how our fresh waterways are doing and what some of the key stresses on them are. We’ll also be sharing and profiling some of the great things that are going on across the region in an effort to help maintain and improve them. We hope you’ll come on this journey with us.

News

Come along and experience the Aquavan!

Aquavan

The Southland community will have the chance to get up close and personal with marine creatures and their coastal environment at a fun-filled and interactive family day out in Riverton.

On Saturday 7 September, the public is invited to head along to Aparima College and join in on activities as part of the Aquavan: discovering our coastal connections programme, run by the University of Otago's New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Environment Southland. The Aquavan vehicle was purpose-built by the marine centre to provide classrooms and communities with ... Read More.

Celebration time at Bushy Point

Bushy Point

The public is invited to join in on the festivities at a special celebration at Bushy Point in Otatara next month.

On Saturday 14 September, the Otatara Landcare Group will be hosting its annual planting day and will be celebrating not one, but three massive milestones at the Bushy Point site: 30,000 native plantings, 15,000 hours of volunteer service, and 20 years since the group first formed.

Barry Smith, chair of the Otatara Landcare Group, says the upcoming triple celebrations at Bushy Point will be a fun, family affair, with plenty on ... Read More.

New guide to Southland's monitored estuaries available

Booklet

Environment Southland has been running a monitoring programme on estuary health since 2000, starting out on the four largest estuaries on the south coast: Waikawa Harbour, New River, Jacobs River and Toetoes estuaries. Haldane Estuary and Bluff Harbour were added by 2005, and in 2008 monitoring began in Waimatuku Estuary, Waiau Lagoon and Freshwater Estuary on Stewart Island.

The booklet provides an overview of what an estuary is, why they are important, what the problems are, and what we look for and assess as part of our monitoring programme.

... Read More.

No action is too small, it will take us all

Jamie Reinke with Matt Grant

A surge of projects and actions are taking place across Southland by individuals, groups, schools, and farmers alike to improve our waterways.

In June, Environment Southland teamed up with Sunrise Rotary Invercargill and the community to hold a river clean-up along the stop banks of the Waihōpai River. Around 100 people of all ages braved the cold and wet conditions, picking up more than 660 kg of rubbish in less than two hours.

Rubbish included 18 car tyres, countless plastic drinking straws, and a smashed ... Read More.

Piecing together the New River Estuary

About 50 experts and community members recently met with the common goal of working together for the health and wellbeing of the New River Estuary near Invercargill.

The discussion was initiated by ecologist and environmental scientist Dr Jane Kitson, Sunrise Rotary member Richard Kyte, Labour List MP Dr Liz Craig, and New Zealand Landcare Trust Southland Catchment Group project coordinator, Sarah Thorne.

Over the past 150 years, the estuary has been significantly affected by urban and rural development. This includes large areas of reclaimed land, urban discharges including treated sewage and untreated stormwate ... Read More.

From the river to the sea

Otama School

The Mataura River is a recreational playground and a living classroom for the children and young people of Otama School.

Situated approximately 20 kilometres north-west of Gore, the school has been supporting students to care for, and study the Mataura River for some time now; learning invaluable lessons about the environment and life. The first school in Southland to be awarded with the EnviroSchools' Green-Gold status, Otama School successfully demonstrated that sustainability is an integral part of all of their decisions and school life.< ... Read More.

Water – it's a family thing

Southland schoolteacher Jane Milne is appreciative of the many things our local rivers and lakes give to her, though it's water's ability to connect her with family and provide a sense of place that stand out the most.

Jane's relationship with water began early, first with swimming and then through sailing with her family. During the holidays, more often than not, time is spent near or in the water.

"A lot of family holidays are around water. Whether it's gold panning along the river or walking alongside it under the shade of the trees. Water is a connection to spending time with family. I'm now passing that onto ... Read More.

Kaitiakitanga

"Kaitiakitanga – it's a responsibility, not a privilege", says Stewart Bull.

Based on the idea of humans as part of the natural world, kaitiakitanga is a worldview of environmental guardianship and protection. "It's not just a responsibility for Māori, it's for everyone; it's about community. If we can all take on this role, we can all benefit."

Stewart (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Waitaha) has been working in the community and on conservation matters in the Southland region for many years. A member of the Southland Conservation Board, a board representative on the Murihiku Kaitiaki Roopu, a member of the Whenua Hou C ... Read More.