Bird of the Year poll open

Forest and Bird logo - giving nature a voice

TV personality Te Radar, comedian Raybon Kan and actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand will be championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year poll, which kicks off today.

The poll, in its eighth year, aims to raise the profile of New Zealand’s threatened and much loved bird species. In recent years, well-known New Zealanders have acted as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite bird, and gone to great lengths to drum up votes.

“Competition between campaign managers has become fierce in recent years, with people finding all sorts of hard-case ways to promote their bird,” says Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Toki.

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Organic Farming Course – Nelson & Marlborough – March 2013

Self-directed, site-specific, down-to-earth Home Grown Organics (Distance Learning Programme)

A new course in organic horticulture offered by the BHU Organic Training College at Lincoln is a mix of correspondence with five days at the college with tutors.

Called “blended distance,” this part-time course will suit people wanting to learn about organic growing but who may have other commitments that prevent them from enrolling in the full or part-time programme at the college.

There are three core courses (foundations of organic horticulture , composting and soils) and several electives that the students can choose (e.g., plant growth, biodiversity, shelter belts, permaculture).

Students have one year to complete the qualification from the time that they enrol. Successful students will receive the Certificate in Organic Horticulture Level 3 and will have the skills and knowledge to be employed in an organic business or be able to maintain permanent yield from their organic home / farming environment.

The course provides the organic growing skills required to establish mutual networks of care and help safeguard the functional holistic integrity of home, farm, community and environment.

The five-day block course is held in March 2013 and is a mix of practical work at organic farming locations in Marlborough, Nelson or the college’s 10 ha certified organic farm, plus classroom sessions with tutors.

For more information about the course, phone the college on 03.325.3684 or see

Nelson Tasman Ecofest 2012 – 18 & 19 August 2012

Ecofest Logo

Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm at the Trafalgar Centre, Nelson

Only $5 for adults & free for kids!

Download your Ecofest 2012 programme here.

Things to do and see at Ecofest:

  • Take a tour of Eco-homes on the weekend of 11 & 12 August. (Tickets available from all local Council offices from 20 July)
  • Win awesome prizes
  • Learn from a variety of food demonstrations
  • Visit over 120 stands
  • Get hands-on learning at HEAPS of demonstrations and workshops
  • Vote for your favourite recycled garment at the Fashion Shows
  • Kids – follow the Trail to lead you to your prize
  • Learn how to make cheese, raise chooks, grow veggies
  • and MUCH more.

‘Living Legends’ plans big tree plant at Wakapuaka Wildlife Reserve this Saturday

“In 2011, to celebrate New Zealand’s hosting of Rugby World Cup, 17 Rugby Legends joined thousands of volunteers to plant 83,000 native trees throughout New Zealand.

This year, Living Legends is returning to 17 locations to plant another 45,000 trees. Register to get involved in an event near you – you might even be lucky enough to meet your local Rugby Legend!”

The Rugby World Cup tournament is over but the tree planting goes on.

On Saturday Living Legends will plant 2600 native trees and shrubs at Wakapuaka Wildlife Reserve in honour of rugby legend Todd Blackadder.

Living Legends is a community conservation project that was established last year to celebrate and leave a legacy of New Zealand’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup.

A total of 85,000 native trees were planted. This year Living Legends is returning to the 17 regions to plant a further 45,000 native trees and shrubs.

Each planting project is dedicated to a rugby legend from the region and Blackadder is the chosen Tasman Rugby Legend.

He will visit the site when he is in Nelson for Tasman Makos v Canterbury clash on August 24.

Registrations close Wednesday. Register at

Nelson Mail

Nelson Film Maker Crowd Funds the Completion of Documentary

With only 10 days to go, the goal has almost been met – make a pledge here

“Emma Heke is using people power to finish her third DVD. Last summer, the Nelson film-maker and her 8-year-old son, Connor, travelled around New Zealand in a van to film Our Green Roadie, a documentary that meets 70 families working and living in an environmentally sustainable way.”
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We’ve done all the hard yards
– research and initial writing (winter 2011), 7 months filming all around New Zealand (Sept 2011 to April 2012) and rough editing and rewrite (winter 2012) and this was all self-funded. With kiwi ingenuity and a lot of passion and heart we are ¾ done! We need your support to complete Our Green Roadie to the ‘professional finish’ it deserves by enabling us to employ an additional editor and sound engineer and then launch our marketing strategies to take our documentary into the public arena.

So, what’s Our Green Roadie all about?
It’s about sharing the challenging, inspirational and empowering stories of 70 kiwi families who have made decisions to work and live in Environmentally Sustainable and Economically Viable ways. They are all at different stages on their journeys and we’re showcasing the diversity of things people are doing in the hope that this may be the inspiration we all need to create positive change in our environment and ourselves. We’re dispelling myths about living and working ‘green’ and we’re encouraging change and thinking outside the square.

What are you going to do with this film?
We aim for hundreds of thousands of people to see Our Green Roadie. We’re entering it in selected NZ and International Film Festivals and will also enable community screenings throughout New Zealand whether it’s in independent theatres, school halls or a community leader’s lounge! This is a film for everyone and we’ll also release it on DVD and internet download!! (We also have plans for x 8 half-hour television episodes where we look at some of the people and practices in more depth, we already have the footage, watch this space!)

Have you made any films before?
Yes, two. Both are documentary-style films for children and available on DVD . OURS (2009) won a Green Ribbon Award 2011, was In-flight entertainment on Air New Zealand international flights for 3 months 2010, screened on TVNZ6 as 18 episodes for 2 years and currently screens on Sky Kidzone24. It was sales of our DVDs that have enabled us to be self-funded for Our Green Roadie!

Why should I consider supporting what you’re doing?
By investing in the completion of Our Green Roadie you become involved in something huge and have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped us share stories which can change lives. You will also be supporting a New Zealand film team and showing that you value New Zealand film content. Plus we have some unique rewards for you to experience as our way of saying ‘thank you very much.’

Fast-tracking shuts out communities

Forest and Bird logo - giving nature a voice

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Forest & Bird said today that government plans to fast-track big mining projects would undermine community input into decisions and could cause major damage to their local environment.

“Big projects are backed by big companies and usually have big impacts, so it is vital that the community be fully involved in assessing them,” Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell said.

“The odds are already stacked in favour of developers with their deep pockets and big resources, so the effect of reducing community scrutiny would mean more poorly designed projects and more damage to our environment.”

Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said in an interview over the weekend that the government was looking at ways of speeding up the consent process for major mining and other resource projects. Fast-tracking could be expanded from projects of national importance to include proposed developments of regional importance.

Kevin Hackwell said a fast-track system would make it much harder for community interests to become involved because they need time to raise funds for court action and to fully understand complex proposals often developed by companies over many years.

“It would be much harder for the community voice to be heard and expanding fast-tracking to a wider range of projects would undermine principles of the Resource Management Act to allow public participation in its processes,” he said.

Phil Heatley said in the interview he could understand the frustration of companies such as Bathurst Resources over the time it took to go through the resource consent process and get projects started.

Reports suggested the Australian company had initially received consents for its proposed open-cast mine on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau two years ago. But this is incorrect and Bathurst only received resource consents for its Denniston mine in August last year and the Environment Court hearing on the appeal against the consents by Forest & Bird and other organisations is due to be heard in October.

“It is crucial that Bathurst’s plans to dig up the conservation land on the Denniston Plateau should be fully and fairly examined. Denniston is a nationally important and unique environment that harbours some of our rarest animals and plants,” Kevin Hackwell said.

“If the mine goes ahead, the plateau will be destroyed forever and the coal mined from it will also add to the climate change crisis.”

“Denniston is an excellent example of why we need a full and fair process for major projects. When so much is at stake on a piece of land that is meant to be protected, it is foolish to rush into a hurried and ill-considered process for short term economic gain.”

Contact: Kevin Hackwell, Advocacy Manager, 04 8012215, 021 2278420

ONE DAY WORKSHOP – Food Cycles & Organic Production – SOLSCAPE, Raglan – 16 Oct 2012

Start: 16/10/2012

SOLSCAPE is a 10 acre property nestled at the foot of Mt Karioi overlooking the Tasman sea, a short bush walk away from Ngaranui beach and world famous surf break Manu bay.

We are an Eco Retreat offering diverse accommodations consciously designed to fit within our primary goals of minimizing our ecological footprint and inspiring visitors with working models of sustainable living. And a Progressive Learning Centre hosting and delivering learning opportunities in Sustainability arts, Permaculture and Holistic Living.

Location / Venue: 611 Wainui Rd, Raglan
Contact Details: *Email: info [at] solscape [dot] co [dot] nz *Phone: 07 8258268 *Web:


Permaculture Design Course – SOLSCAPE, Raglan 8-23 Sept 2012

Fri, 20/07/2012 – 13:54 — SOLSCAPE
Start: 08/09/2012
End: 23/09/2012

*Permaculture Design Certificate Course*
Two Week Intensive: September 8 – 23rd 2012.

Course Topics Include:

  • Permaculture Ethics and Principles
  • Design methods and strategies, The Natural Step, Patterns to detail
  • Organic Food Production, Urban Farming, Biodynamics…
  • Social Permaculture, Building networks, Decision making
  • Soil Nutrients, Composting, Worm Farms, Bokashi, EM, soil food web
  • Natural Building, Building biology and ecology, Passive solar design
  • Appropriate technology, Hemp as solution
  • Renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation
  • Simple water harvesting and grey water reticulation
  • Economic Permaculture, closed loop, community scaled structures
  • Waste as Food, Community Recycling

*Residential Rates from NZ$1545 – rate includes accommodation, 3 meals per day, and tuition.

*Non-Residential Rates from NZ$1045 – includes 1 meal per day and tuition.

Contact us at / 07 8258268 and/or visit our Website

SOLSCAPE is a 10 acre property nestled at the foot of Mt Karioi overlooking the Tasman sea, a short bush walk away from Ngaranui beach and world famous surf break Manu bay.

We are an Eco Retreat offering diverse accommodations consciously designed to fit within our primary goals of minimizing our ecological footprint and inspiring visitors with working models of sustainable living. And a Progressive Learning Centre hosting and delivering learning opportunities in Sustainability arts, Permaculture and Holistic Living.

Tutors: Joanna Pearsall, Brian Innes (Eco Show NZ), and the Raglan Permaculture Community
Location / Venue: Solscape: Eco Retreat & Progressive Learning Centre. 611 Wainui Rd, Raglan
Contact Details: *Email: *Phone: 07 8258268 *Web:


Wilderland Workshops July – August 2012

Greywater reuse and biofiltration workshop
Tue, 17/07/2012 – 10:14 — Wilderland Trust
Start: 22/07/2012 9:00 am

Hands-on, practical learning with experienced practitioners

Sunday 22 July – Greywater reuse and bio-filtration
Sunday 29 July – Passive solar design for energy efficiency
Sunday 5 August – Organic pest and disease management in the garden
Sunday 12 August – Effective composting and worm farming
Sunday 19 August – Introduction to small-scale bee-keeping
Sunday 26 August – Organic soil fertility management

Workshops run from 9am to 1pm. Cost is $60 and concessions are available. More info at

All sessions from 9am to 1pm, followed by shared lunch. Cost of $60 includes all materials, morning tea and lunch. Concession and discounts for multiple bookings available. Email visit(at) or phone (07) 866 3848 for details or to register

Wilderland is an Educational Trust on the Coromandel Peninsula near Whitianga.

Tutors: Various
Cost: $60.00
Location / Venue: Wilderland Trust, Whitianga
Contact Details: visit(at)

Read more here

Country Calendar: A Clean Break

Andreas Kurmann

This episode of Hyundai Country Calendar screened on 14 July, 7pm on TV ONE. If you missed it, (at the time of writing this post) it’s still available at

Interesting, challenging and inspiring – worth seeing.

“A Swiss soil and water scientist who has made his home in New Zealand believes this country is 30 years behind his homeland when it comes to caring for the environment.

Andreas Kurmann moved to Northland 15 years ago after being involved with a successful project to clean up Lake Konstanz in Switzerland. He now analyses soil and water for farmers and local authorities.

Andreas expected New Zealand to be “clean and green” but he’s found many rivers here are dirtier than Lake Konstanz at its worst. He is especially concerned about pollution from farm run-off in Lake Taupo.

Europe and the United States restrict the levels of phosphorus and nitrates in rivers and lakes but Andreas says there are no such regulations in New Zealand.

He follows his own advice for improving soil and waterways on a small block of land he owns at Taipa in Doubtless Bay. He uses only natural fertilisers and his goal is to retain nutrients and fix carbon in the soil by creating a healthy soil structure.

Andreas and his wife Rosy estimate they are 80 per cent sustainable on their four-and-a-half hectare block, where they produce meat, milk, eggs, honey, fruit and vegetables.”

See full episode details here:

Permaculture Design Course TUI COMMUNITY 8-26 Feb 2013


8 – 26 February 2013
Tui Community, Golden Bay, South Island


‘Permaculture’ is an integrated landuse design methodology based on ecological principles, with practical application from sustainable household to eco-nation to global restoration. The tutors of this course have worked in a wide range of countries and conditions. Their teaching styles are interactive, dynamic and fun. This residential course takes place in the Tui Outdoor Events Treefield in Wainui Bay, adjoining the Abel Tasman National Park. It covers the standard international two week Permaculture Design Certificate curriculum, taught in an integrated hands-on way, culminating in several land-use design projects. We are including an additional week to offer the opportunity to for participants to personally deepen in the ecological and social foundation of Permaculture, under the guidance of tutors who lives and work is dedicated to the conscious design and development of ‘all-species communities’. Upon completion, a Permaculture Design Certificate will be issued by The Institute of Earthcare Education Aotearoa.

Course Programme broadly covers:

  • permaculture design principles & installation,
  • organic growing methods (vege gardens, herbs, animals, fruit),
  • rural land management (orchards, pastures, trees, water systems),
  • ecological building, ‘waste’ recycling & renewable energy systems,
  • urban/suburban scale household design,
  • sustainable community/eco-village design,
  • wildlife habitat & degraded land restoration,
  • wild harvest & nature connection.

Permaculture in New Zealand logo

Inna Alex:

Robina McCurdy and others
Cost: $1990.00

Location / Venue:
Tui Community, Golden Bay, South Island

Weedbusting win for Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

Volunteers at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary - photo Colin Smith

Photo – Colin Smith

Thousands of hours of voluntary weeding effort at Nelson’s Brook Waimarama Sanctuary have paid off – not just in a reduction of old man’s beard and banana passionfruit vine, but also in a double win in the Top of the South Weedbusters 2012 awards.

The sanctuary won the Weedbuster Award for Work on Private Land, andalso the Overall Excellence Award in the annual awards, which are a joint initiative from DOC, the Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, Nelson City Council, Landcare Trust and Landcare Research.

Judging was made on the basis of length and degree of commitment, effective planning, and the degree to which the group was sharing its knowledge and achievements with others in the local community.

The sanctuary volunteer forest regeneration/weed control team has been eradicating invasive plants in the Sanctuary for five years. Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust board member and forest regeneration/weed control team volunteer, Rod Witte, said winning the award was a credit to the current team leaders, Mike Murphy and Grace Sutherland, and the entire team.

“As a member of the weeding team I see first-hand the dedication the volunteers have all have for what can be a fairly unglamorous task that is compensated by the team spirit that Mike and Grace engender.”

Weed control and native plant restoration are key elements in the Trust’s plan to establish a pest-proof fenced wildlife sanctuary for rare native wildlife in the Brook Valley. General Manager, Hudson Dodd, said thevolunteers’ efforts were the lifeblood of the Trust.

“Every invasive plant or tree they eradicate brings us one step closer to realising the exciting vision of a fenced wildlife sanctuary on Nelson’s doorstep.”

The Sanctuary wins vouchers for native plants from Mainly Natives Nursery, tree shelters from Advance Landscape Systems, and for winning the Overall Excellence prize, the labour of 20 staff from BNZ in Nelson who will help with a weed control job for a day.

Weedbusters’ judge and Nelson City Council Team Leader Environmental Services, Richard Frizzel will present the award to the volunteers at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary visitor centre at 10am this Saturday (7 July).

The volunteer team meets fortnightly on Saturday mornings. New recruits are welcomed with warm smiles, a thorough induction process and morning tea. To get involved, contact team leader, Mike Murphy: