2023 Catchment Group: Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group
Connecting, inspiring and supporting a thriving community are key focuses of the Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group that encompasses 60,000ha of rural Southland.
The group has gradually expanded since 2014 as it strives to make well-informed decisions that ultimately enhance the land, water and people.
Today, their catchment incorporates the Dunsdale and Hedgehope rivers, along with areas in Ryal Bush, Waikiwi and Makarewa and includes a diverse range of members.
A common thread running through all their activities is to support their whole community’s wellbeing. This is achieved by choosing projects and activities that bring people together to share knowledge and skills, plus they help to make science accessible.
They have many connections to industry groups and rural professionals, and have collaborated with the regional council to install a permanent water quality monitoring station at the junction of the Hedgehope and Makarewa rivers.
Two big initiatives have been the group’s focus over the past few years.
One is a cutting-edge project that uses science and local knowledge to understand how varying landscapes impact water quality. This information will be used to support landowners as they develop new freshwater farm plans.
The second major project was a cross-sector trial looking at different winter crop cultivation techniques, enabling them to gain real, practical on-farm information to support farmers as they work to meet future environmental legislation.
Led by a strong core committee, Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group has set clear goals, along with practical steps to reach them. They have balanced big projects with smaller local events, frequently connect with other catchment groups, and ensure activities are promoted in the wider community.
As they look to the future, the group’s strategic focuses include strengthening partnerships with local iwi and boosting communication to drive engagement across the vast catchment area.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards