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Our Activities and Events 

The Trust holds field days, workshops and presentations, all geared toward specific topics of interest.

Past Events 


Hurunui Weedbuster Waiau-Uwha River


It was a clear sunny autumn day for the inaugural Hurunui Weedbusters event on the Waiau Uwha River on Saturday 4 May. Six volunteers and the HDC Water and Land Coordinator, Rima Herber, cleared tree lupin and other weeds from an island in the river that has been managed as a safe haven for the rare birds that nest on the riverbed. Birds such as terns, wrybills, dotterels and native gulls nest on the bare gravels of Canterbury’s braided rivers, but their eggs and baby birds are a tempting feed for cats, rats, stoats and hedgehogs. Without protection, survival of chicks can be as low as 6%. With careful management, the black-fronted tern colony on Sharks Tooth Island had 96% hatching success in the 2023 season.

Clearing the island of weeds is an essential part of protecting the birds, as they won’t nest where there isn’t open gravel, and predators are attracted to vegetated areas where there is cover to hide in. In just one morning the seven members of the Hurunui Weedbusters crew removed over 1000 tree lupin plants, as well as other emerging weeds such as gorse, broom, alder, old man’s beard and blackberry. Lupin are a particular problem as they’ll grow to over a metre in a season. Saturday was a great example of how rewarding and enjoyable it can be to get together with others, in the beautiful Hurunui landscape, to do an important service to the environment. The next Weedbusters event on Saturday May 25


iNaturalist Workshop


From the tiniest bug to a grand old totara, the iNaturalist workshop with ecologist Colin Meurk at Hurunui College on the 21st of November introduced participants to the fascinating world of nature-identification with iNaturalist. Big thanks to science teacher Tim Kelly and his Enviroclub students for hosting the workshop. The totara is in the school grounds and could be over 100 years old. It is bearing little blue cones, evidence that it's a female tree. It would be interesting to know more of its history.

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Action for Biodiversity in Hurunui


On the 23rd of August the Trust held a community meeting/presentation to members of the public.


The focus was on presenting the Biodiversity Resource that was formulated by Ecologist James Lambie and Environmental consultant Michael Bennett with the added addition of local knowledge and expertise. 

The evening was a positive one with inclusive interactions from the public with many questions and concerns/queries brought to light. As this document will be forever evolving and developing it was paramount to get more feedback and input from the community.

The hope is that this resource will be used between advisors, individuals and organisations to empower but also take advantage of the prolific biodiversity/environmental opportunities we have in the Hurunui, that is actually consider a "hot spot" for biodiversity.

Tiromoana Bush Field Trip


On April 17, we enjoyed a perfect autumn day of warm, windless weather for our long-planned field trip to Tiromoana Bush Reserve.


The event was facilitated by Transwaste Canterbury which runs this significant conservation and restoration project at the Kate Valley landfill site. With expert commentary from our trip guides


Emeritus Professor David Norton and Fraser Madigan, we learned more about the vision for the project and its practical management. Attendees were stimulated to ask plenty of questions about how the experience at Tiromoana can be applied to other biodiversity actions in the district, bearing in mind various challenges such as pest control, plant sourcing, and factoring in changing climate to ensure the bush's resilience into the future

Huge thanks and appreciation to Transwaste Canterbury for help organizing and funding the day!

Fore more additional photos

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Seed Collection Workshop for Native Plants


Two native-plant seed collection and sowing workshops in Cheviot and Culverden, were hosted by Hurunui Biodiversity Trust and NZ Landcare Trust on 22nd March 2023. 


It was a very practical day in the field where attendees learnt the principles of eco-sourcing seed and how to collect, store and sow seed. It was a very successful day full of interaction, involvement, interest and many question from all the participants. Be on the look out for more of these to come!


Super enlightening discussions were led by Jamie McFadden (Hurunui Biodiversity Trust) and Tom Ferguson (Wai-ora).

Further thanks and acknowledgment for every one involved!

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Waiau Uwha Braided River Birds Field Day


Our Braided River Birds field day on Wednesday afternoon, 30 Nov., was a great outing, with the weather cooperating despite a dubious forecast as we visited two sites along the Amuri’s Waiau-Uwha River, near Mouse Point. Our group of around 50 gathered first at the Culverden Rugby Club rooms to learn from Prof Ken Hughey about Canterbury’s braided-river bird species, particularly the endangered black-fronted terns, wrybills, black-billed gulls and banded dotterels, then from ECAN's Zipporah Ploeg of the efforts to protect them by a team from ECAN and their contractors from Wildlife Management International, Keegan Miskimmin and Marcia Welch.

We observed the black-fronted tern nesting colonies on the Sharkstooth island, which had been cleared of weeds and separated from the main bank by a deepened channel to prevent predation. We then visited diary farmer John Faulkner’s impressive revegetation site on the river bank, which has been designed by local native-planting consultant Sue McGaw. We ended a most enjoyable afternoon with a BBQ provided by Farmsource.

This field day event was timely as it marks the culmination of the 5-year Hurunui and Waiau Uwha Braided River Bird Project, which you can read more about on ECAN’s wesbite. (Thanks to Rima Herber and Belinda Meares for the pics).

                Report by Mike Bennett

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Tuhaitara Coastal Park


The Trusts field trip to Tuhaitara Coastal Park (Woodend) on Sunday 25th, led by park director Greg Byrnes, delivered a wealth of learning and insights. For instance the red pond “weed” (as some assumed) is in fact a native floating fern Azolla rubra, which fixes nitrogen and is food for tadpoles. Greg’s plan was to take us on a 5 km loop walk, but there was so much to observe and discuss along the way that we didn’t make it that far, so there’s a suggestion of another tour in summer. We were impressed by the approach of facilitating local groups (including schools and whanau) to adopt and look after specific ‘biota nodes’. In this extensive reserve (800 hectares) stretching from Waimakariri River to Waikuku Beach, there are many varied ecosystems that are evolving and interlinking as regeneration efforts take effect. The project only got started 12 years ago, so with 188 years to go to fulfill the Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust’s 200-year vision, this special part of North Canterbury’s coast promises to teach us lots about how to build a resilient, biodiverse future.

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Community Meeting - Hurunui Biodiversity Action    Waipara Memorial Hall, Wednesday 29th June

An open invitation to learn about and provide input into a new project: creating a resource to help landowners and community groups better manage and protect biodiversity across Hurunui.

More info and presentation on the Action Project page

Media release by Grant Mangin

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Rohe Koreporepo The Swamp The Sacred Place


June 16th Amberley School Hall

In the last 150 years, 90% of Aotearoa’s swamps and wetlands have been destroyed in the name of development. Wetlands support rich ecosystems, provide natural flood control and are significant carbon sinks. They have always been regarded as sacred places and mahinga kai food gathering places by Māori tangata whenua.

This documentary, by acclaimed Christchurch filmmaker Kathleen Gallagher, celebrates the efforts of 60 community kaitiaki/guardians around the country to restore and enhance those that remain today, and explains why they are vital for a healthy and balanced future on Papatuanuku/Earth.

After the screening public discussion was led by Greg Byrnes of Tūhaitara Coastal Park Trust, Greg Bennett of Coastal Restoration Trust NZ, John Preece local wetlands ecologist, Kate Steel Waimakariri District Council Biodiversity Officer and Kathleen Gallagher filmmaker.

Media release by Grant Mangin

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Native Shrubland Field Day May 2021


On the 25th of May the Hurunui Biodiversity Trust held a Native Shrubland field day out in near Scargill on the adjoining Chris Earl and Duncan Murray’s farms. The focus was on the QEII covenant block that runs across both properties in conjunction with the Scargill Creek. 


​Our inspiring panel of speakers were brilliant and covered aspects such as: planting, spraying, land management, shrub values and benefits and other general information. The most important message I took away from this field day were; firstly, the importance of famers and landowners to better understand their givens environments and the ecosystems that reside, because no two pieces of land are exactly the same and all require slightly different requirements/management. Secondly, it is vital that we farmers find a balance between protection and productivity, creating the "sweet spot" of having native shrub/forests amongst having areas of high productive land.

Notes from the address by Shawn Nicholls

Ruud Kleinpaste "Bugs & Biodiversity" March 2021



The ever popular “Bug Man” Ruud Kleinpaste brought his eclectic knowledge, electric passionate energy and such a warm heart when he came to the Waikari Hall to present “Bugs and Biodiversity” to a captivated audience of adults and children.


​We had an amazing turn out, though no surprise due to his popularity with kids and adults alike.


His talked touched on the importance of a process called "Biomimicry", which is the ability to understand nature’s processes and mimic them for our own utilizations as a society. He showed nature performing as a guide for humans to follow, emphasizing that we are a very young species in relation to life that has existed and evolved over millions of years. 


​There was also a strong emphasis on re-connecting the modern world with nature, the importance of nature literacy, and how reliant we are on other life for our own survival, as every biological organism, ranging from large mammals to micro-organisms, has its role to fulfil.

Notes from the address by Shawn Nicholls

Ngai Tahu Kaumatua Tā Tipene O'Regan, Nov 2020



Tā Tipene gave an interesting and thought-provoking address. His suggestion that defining biodiversity protection as a "one size fits all" absolute that can lead to unintended practical consequences, struck a chord with many.

His personal perspective as a Māori is that protection efforts should restore species to levels that allow evidence-based sustainable resource use, while respecting and incorporating the cultural/spiritual aspect of Māori relationships with the land.

Notes from the address by Shawn Nicholls

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Port Robinson Reserve Gore Bay, Oct 2020

Attendees at our Plant & Animal Pest Control field day enjoyed this beautiful reserve, extensively planted in natives by local volunteers. Speakers with a wealth of knowledge shared their experience and gave hands-on demonstrations.

Through organisations such as ECan and DOC, much has been achieved in the control of target species. Ian Hanken (DOC) and Noel Crump (ECan) stated they can only do so much with limited funds and manpower, so commended and encouraged community initiatives such as Jane Demeter’s “Bring on the Birds” trapping project around Gore Bay. The weed and pest threat to biodiversity is  daunting, but with high involvement at community level, energetic leadership and strong relationships with organisations supplying knowledge, strategies and funding, tackling that threat is do-able.


Note from field day by Dave Nicholls

Weed Pictures

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Spring 2019: Field Day on Wetlands

On the dairy farm, “the Triangle”, sharemilker Nigel Gardiner is protecting a natural flax wetland, creating new wetlands, and doing extensive riparian and dryland native plantings. The property features one of the best remaining natural wetlands on the Amuri Plains and a 3.5 km section of Dry Stream with a population of endangered freshwater mussels (kakahi).  We visited these and other sites to learn about the values of wetlands and streams, options for protection and enhancement, and ongoing management challenges. 


Note from field day by Dave Nicholls

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Fools and Dreamers: the Hinewai Documentary,  Sept 2019

 Hugh Wilson has been the kaitiaki/manager of Hinewai for 30 years, overseeing the regeneration of native canopy through a minimal interference method, allowing invasive gorse to grow as a nursery plant for self-sown native trees.

At first people were skeptical of his plan, referring to it as something that only "fools and dreamers" would think of. Now, Hugh is considered a local hero, after giving life to more than 1500 hectares of native forest which is abundant with wildlife.

Our public screening was co-hosted with TimeBank Hurunui’s Learning Exchange at Amberley School. View the doco at:

Winter 2019: Biodiversity in Hurunui
Then, now and what can be in the future.

Wednesday, 10th of July 7-8:30 Greta Valley Tavern


Two noted biodiversity experts Nicola Toki and Alice Shanks presented info and invited discussion on our native flora and fauna, some of which is unique and endangered.

 Nicola Toki slides

 Alice Shanks slides

 Field Day at Davaar, Greta Valley, March 2019

 There was a great turnout to our inaugural field day, supported by an impressive panel of speakers.  Dave Nicholls offered his farm, Davaar, as an illustration of the challenges and opportunities for farmers to enhance biodiversity, with specific focus on two steep and non-productive gullies. One was a gully in which stock had been excluded for the past 10 years, to allow natives to regenerate in conjunction with planted exotics. The other was a gully where little had been done to encourage biodiversity, so presenting a chance to debate about what the best approach might be.

Land Use Options

Notes from field day by Grant Hunter, FFA.

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