Rural update March 2023

Healthy Ecosystems

Jobs For Nature

Risks to our Catchment

Rural Development

Te Taiao

WAI Action Groups

What a month we have had here in Wānaka! We have welcomed some much needed rain which lifted the river flows and has hopefully woken up your pastures and crops. We also had a great Wānaka Show over the weekend. 

WAI Wānaka were at two sites this year and we want to thank you for visiting us. We really enjoyed having conversations with you over the two days of the event. We ran an NZFAP+ workshop in late February, which was attended by a mix of farmers and rural professionals who found it very informative, therefore we will be looking to run another workshop in May.

Planting season has begun – if you’d like a hand to get natives planted this autumn, please get in touch with Prue.

People from WAI and Our Land and Water standing in a marquee at the Wānaka A&P Show
People from WAI and Our Land and Water standing in a marquee at the Wānaka A&P Show


Intensive Winter Grazing Consents Application Workshop

Amendments were made to the Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) regulations on the 1st of November 2022, and many farmers now need to obtain a resource consent to undertake IWG practices. For those of you requiring an IWG consent, these need to be in place by the 1st of May 2023.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) are hosting an Intensive Winter Grazing Consents Application Workshop to guide farmers through the application process. The ORC consents managers, catchment advisors and environmental compliance officers will:

  • Walk you through the IWG Online Resource Consent Application Form, where you fill in the application form and identify the necessary information.
  • Walk you through the IWG Management Plan Template (this is your on-the-ground action plan).
  • Show examples of Paddock Wintering Plans, including some that our farmers submitted and were accepted.
  • Give a clear understanding of what a critical source area (CSA) is, discuss the importance of CSAs and the way they relate to your consent application and offer up management strategies.

Venue: WAI Wānaka – 185 Riverbank Road
Date: 28th of March
Time: 4pm – 6:30pm

To find out whether you need a consent, or for more information on the intensive winter grazing rules click here. To access the ORC Intensive winter grazing application form, click here.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please contact Magali by email or give her a call on 020 4167 1367.

Free Mental Health First Aid Course

St John, sponsored by Powernet, are running a free Mental Health First Aid Course for farmers in Wānaka on the 14th of April. The course will teach you the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond to someone experiencing mental health concerns.

  • Mental disorders as a group are the third-leading cause of health loss for New Zealanders
  • Ideal training for anyone, including managers, responsible for their staff, those interacting with the public, or simply anyone who wants to improve their knowledge around mental health.
  • This course will help you build your own mental fitness as well as being able to assist others.

St John also offer an Online Mental Health First Aid course, use the link to find out more information.


Person in a stream, assessing water quality

Biodiversity Monitoring

If you would like to discover your on-farm biodiversity we are ready to help you out. WAI Wānaka can guide you through creating a biodiversity monitoring plan on your property. This will show you what and where you should be monitoring and how often. We also offer the following biodiversity monitoring services for you:

  1. Bird monitoring: 5 minutes bird counts (Early spring-summer) to understand bird species populations.
  2. Vegetation photo points: for monitoring long-term trends in regenerative growth by taking wide-angle photos of areas for regeneration.
  3. Visual Soil Assessments (VSA): to get a holistic understanding of the health of the soil per soil type or land management unit on your property. 
  4. Aquatic life and water quality assessments:
    • Stream habitat quality
    • Physiochemical properties: conductivity, pH, oxygen saturation, temperature
    • Benthic Macroinvertebrate sampling
    • eDNA samples (when applicable)
    • Rapid habitat assessments

Please contact Magali if you are interested in booking a monitoring date or would like to know more about it.

Upper Clutha Winter Feed Competition 

The Upper Clutha Winter feed Competition is fast approaching. All of the funds raised from this year’s competition and auction are going towards the construction of the helicopter pad at the new Wanaka Primary Birthing Unit (planned opening April 2023). 

If you would like to enter the Winter Feed Competition, please complete an entry form and email it to by the 14th of April. Entries cost $40 per crop.

The winter feed social night and prizegiving will be held on the 9th of June 2023 at the Hawea Community Centre.  Carlos Bargie from Royalburn Station will be the guest speaker for the evening. For more details, please email

Podcast of the Month

This month’s podcast comes from The Whole Story, a podcast by Becks Smith. In this podcast Becks speaks to David Norton about native biodiversity. If you’ve got recommendations you’d like us to share please let us know.

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