Spring Newsletter

Welcome to our spring newsletter. Isn’t it wonderful to have a bit more sun in the mornings and evenings. It’s been a busy winter and calving/lambing season for many and I know from the chats I’ve been having with many of you, that it’s a relief to have the end in sight.

Taranaki Catchment Communities continues to be active in your local community and it’s great that there are such well attended events across our region. We profile a few of these in the newsletter and hope you can make a few of your local catchment group events in the next few months.

The big news this spring is the beginning of the Integrated Farm Planning work – known as Good Farm – that we are leading for the region. You can read more below.

We’re also beginning the exciting work on the project, Saving Energy on Farm – It just makes sense, Taranaki Rural Energy. We hosted a stakeholder morning tea and workshop on 13 October and you’ll see lots more details come out in future newsletters, on our Facebook page and on our website. The first priority is to find 20-farmers willing to take part in on-farm energy audits. If you’re keen, please get in touch with saveenergyonfarm@tcc.co.nz.

We are a proud sponsor of the Sustainable Backyard Trail – which runs from 27 October to 5 November. There are some fantastic trail runs planned this year taking you through some of our most beautiful rural properties. Pick your run, event, talk, tour or workshop at Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail.

We’ve also just launched the first of a series of videos, Conservation Conversations, on our website or follow our Facebook page. They are well worth a watch!

Also enjoy our Farming Today for Future Generations – meet Bryan Hocken and grand daughter Hailey Coogan exploring the history of their farm:  https://youtu.be/j7Fh8NRPIyw.

Good Farm – Planning for the Future Project underway in Taranaki

Good Farm is here to offer free support and learning opportunities for farmers and landowners who want to plan well and perform even better.

Farming is a huge part of New Zealand culture and quite simply, the backbone of many rural communities. At present, there are many new demands being made of farming businesses to comply, not to mention the financial and social pressures farmers face daily.

Funded by Taranaki Catchment Communities, Good Farm is here to support farmers wanting to better understand what is being asked of them, help to enhance and bring purpose to any planning that has already been done, and help drive thriving agribusiness around the maunga.

Good Farm wants to be useful. It aims to work alongside farmers to provide information and expertise that will be helpful for their specific challenges. It’s about breaking through the busy-ness so that together, we can turn any required changes into positive opportunities.

It will be delivered through down-to-earth discussion groups, online resources and farmer-led events with experts. 

You’ll see a website with more information by the end of 2023 and discussion groups start in January 2024. 

Rahotu School and Ratapiko School excel at Agri4kids

Well done to The Rahotu Agri4kids team for giving it their all in July. They have had a wonderful experience down south and even got to go to the Potato farm for Heartland chips. A big shout out to Mel Thompson @Amped Art for this amazing piece of artwork that has travelled to the far south to Timaru for the agrikids competition. The boys did an amazing job carrying this, not so light, piece of art in the parade.

Ratapiko School’s Agri4kids learnt about sheep and wool and in early August the whole school went to see a low-line herringbone shed, a rotary shed, and automatic calf feeders. Well done Ratapiko catchment for the great mahi you are doing with your younger generation – what great learnings for the tamariki.

Women's Networking Evening

Our Urenui, Mimi & Uruti Catchment Group hosted a Women's Networking Evening at Peihana Farm in early July. Brylee Flutey and Ronelba Blanco from Venture Taranaki talked about AgriTourism and the services they offer.

It was an awesome turnout and a great chance to catchup with women from our area and to talk about diversifying land use and adding value to our local economy. Exciting times are ahead!

Te Pūmaomao Nationhood Building course

In late July, our project leads and coordinators attended a Te Pūmaomao Nationhood Building course for two days. We were hosted in the Te Whare Hononga – what a beautiful building and had a great time learning and connecting.   To learn more about Takawai and Chris visit their website at www.takawai.com

Growers & Producers Winter Feast 

Taranaki Catchment Communities invited local farmers and local growers/food producers to a winter feast in early August. What a night of conversation and delicious seasonal food at Peihana Farm in Okoki.

Guest speaker Michelle Bauer from Venture Taranaki talked about emerging food trial crops in Taranaki. Vance Hooper, nurseryman and plant breeder, covered his own adaptation of banana growing to a commercial scale in North Taranaki (39 degrees south latitude). Steve Rowe, is growing several varieties of banana along with coffee and mountain paw paw in Urenui, and shared his progress.

Tarata Catchment Group water sampling results shared

In late August, Tarata Catchment Group heard from Wai Comply and see interim results of water sampling tests.

Awatuna/Auroa catchment group water testing

Awatuna/Auroa Catchment Group carried out their 20th round of water testing in late August on their streams and rivers. Fantastic to see them on this journey of understanding their rivers and streams.

Paul’s day at sea

Our project lead, Paul Turner, got to spend a few hours with DoC chasing molly mawks in early September – it was a beautiful day and a wonderful opportunity. (Photos courtesy of Paul).

Urenui, Mimi & Uruti Catchment Group dance party

Great to see so many supporting our Urenui, Mimi & Uruti Catchment Group at their dance party in early September. We had about 70 people through the door, a starry night, plenty of food and delicious cocktails.

Makuri Catchment Group Farming and Compliance Confidence

Makuri Catchment Group have continued to have a great turnout to their Farming and Compliance Confidence series sessions. It continues to help farmers to build confidence to navigate today's farming realities.

Predator Control Evening – hosted by the Tarata Catchment Group

On Thursday 21 September, 20 people from the Tarata community gathered at the Tarata Hall to listen to Angeliqe Nel from the Taranaki Regional Council and Rawiri Walsh from Predator Free Wellington and Te Kaahui o Rauru.

Angeliqe gave an update on the priorities of Towards Predator Free Taranaki, a large-scale project to work alongside the community to restore native species across the region by removing predators.  12,000 traps have been distributed in urban area around New Plymouth, focusing on rats. The Zero Possum project around Okato and the Kaitake range has 1300 traps deployed across the 9500 hectares. The big focus rurally is on mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) around the Taranaki ring plain.

7,200 traps have been deployed, so far having caught 1,168 mustelids. Check out  www.predatorfreenz.org and www.connovation.co.nz for more information.

Rawiri questioned us all on what we were actually trying to achieve in our trapping quest. What is our “why” went it comes to predator control?  For some, it is possums with lemon trees, for others it is to encourage more native species, for others it may be to protect kiwi. 

Checkout Rawiri’s feature on a recent Country Calendar episode 27 Season 2023 - getting kiwi back onto a big Station on the Wellington Peninsula.

Freshwater testing with Auroa School as part of the low flow hydro curious minds project

Auroa School children are part of a Curious Minds project on hydropower and we joined them visiting one of their local rivers to learn about their waterways and water testing.

Farming and Compliance Confidence Taranaki (FACCT)

FACCT concept has been running in the Makuri Catchment by Campbell McCown and has been very popular. It is a farmer-led series of informal meetings to help farmers and the community understand the science behind Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Freshwater Management. It enables the ability to sort fact from fiction on these topics, especially with respect to their own farm or business and build confidence by having an evidence-based plan to address increasing regulation in relevant aspects of their farming operation.

Taranaki Catchment Communities AGM

25 October, from 7pm to 9pm
Stratford War Memorial
Contact Nicola for more information