FOM Newsletter                Autum  2016
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Planting Update

We have a new planting area to play with, just across the river from the original Groom Creek site. It is a long strip of riverbank bordering the Maitai camp grounds and already has some existing mature trees to provide cover. We also did a small planting at Hanby Park, adding to an existing group that was planted two years ago.

The focus has been on small scale plantings this year and continuing our plant care Friday sessions. The group is looking forward to being involved in the wetland development at Groom creek in 2018.

The Sacred Kingfisher - Kotare
The Maitai River supports a healthy population of kingfishers that can easily be seen and heard perched in trees and on posts along the river margins waiting patiently for their prey to appear. Their familiar and most often heard sound is a kek, kek, kek, kek, a territorial call. Food taken from the river is small fish and koura (fresh water crayfish) while in the estuarine section of the river their diet is mainly crabs. Mating and nest building or refurbishment occurs in September and October in trees or clay banks. Chicks are fed by both parents and in winter all birds migrate to the coastal environment.
100% Pure?
You may have heard of the Al Jazeera documentary that gives a less than glowing picture of New Zealand’s rivers: “In a two-part, year long, documentary investigation, Al Jazeera’s People & Power series discovers a murkier reality hidden in the depths: a disturbing tale of polluted and dried-up waterways, questionable irrigation schemes, an over-mighty farming lobby and claims of undue government interference.”
The films are now available to view on the Al Jazeera website:
Brook Sanctuary Brodifacaom
There was plenty of media coverage in the winter lead up to the pest eradication poison drop. Within our membership there are differing views on the drop, so we had to handle it carefully at our June meeting. After some discussion we decided the FOM position should be limited to  protection of the river. We wrote to the Sanctuary Trust seeking an assurance that they would make every effort to contain the poison so that the health of the river and the aquatic ecosystem is maintained. We received a detailed assurance on their measures to contain the poison pellets (information which can be viewed on the Sanctuary website). General Manager Hudson Dodd also told us they were proceeding with the water monitoring that was required under their resource consent, even though the consent was no longer needed under new legislation on aerial poison drops.
Council sediment monitoring
We also asked the Nelson City Council to carry out baseline testing of the sediment in the river, including the lower reaches of Maitai into Nelson Haven. We received a positive response from Clare Barton, Group Manager Strategy and Environment. She stated: “I consider that given the community interest in this issue, the lack of consent conditions to require monitoring (given the regulations) and the opportunity that will be lost if baseline monitoring is not undertaken before any drop occurs, that Council will undertake some baseline monitoring of sediment.  Decisions regarding the need for further monitoring will be undertaken at a later date.”
We felt the action on this issue from FOM achieved a good result.
Ron’s rubbish raids
Ron Eckman considers himself a Green Nomad – he is touring the country in his camper van, taking long stopovers in the regions, and has joined FOM. Ron’s crusade against litter is aided by cheap picker-uppers from the $2 Shop, which he hands out to others to join the battle to clean up the city and keep waste out of the waterways. The German tourists pictured were happy to help and the Nelson City Council has committed to providing the picker-uppers to anyone who wants to clean up the environment.
“Cigarette butts are all over Nelson,” says Ron. “The good thing about the litter-picker tool is that you don’t have to bend and you don’t have to touch the litter.”
Community Planting Day Up The Brook
On September 2 several FOM members joined in this venture on the banks of the Brook Stream near the Waimarama Gardens. This is a site where the Little Brook Stream enters the larger river. In August 2015 high nitrate levels were detected here. Hence the importance of such riparian plantings. Approximately 40 people participated, among them were those living nearby. The planting was organised by NCC including Jo Martin, Susan Lavo-Moore, & of course those in the nursery growing the flaxes, pittosporum, kowai, beech etc. The ground is stony so digging took some grit.
FOM unfurled 'The Fish Game'. It’s wonderful to encounter children who have played it before, come back for more; to know that throughout our education system local ecology is being taught; that netting invertebrates & identifying them in streams, fascinates. There was an atmosphere of enthusiasm with lashings of community spirit - all of this fuelled by a sausage sizzle. The recent rains seem timely for the plants to get established. If you get the urge & have some time, weeding & watering over the summer will be helpful. The river runs beside a nice open field accessed just before entering the Waimarama Gardens.
At the Science Fair
It was good to see river health selected as the subject for a few of the entries in this year’s Cawthron Science Fair, and annual event for Primary and secondary schools through out the region.
Toitu is coming to our streets
Have you heard of Toitu, a community initiative for a Street Festival in Nelson early in 2018? The focus is on sustainable living. The success of this event relies on community engagement, and key people to join in and offer their ideas and their skills to the project. The Festival itself is designed to carry a message in a way defined by the participants.
“We are now at the time where we expand our team and gather key people
together. We are very excited to welcome new members and we would love
to have someone from Friends of the Maitai joining us to bring their input to the Festival.” Please contact Quentin on 0212265731 for a chat and more info.
Friday plant care

Spring is here and our young trees need ongoing help. Weeds will be attempting to take over so we have set plant care session times for the rest of the year.
Oct 20th 4:00pm onwards
Nov 3rd, 17th 4:00pm onwards 
Dec 1st, 15th, 29th 4:00pm onwards

Bring gloves and some garden tools.
If you can't make Fridays feel free to go into the Groom Creek paddock in your own time. Even when you are just passing by. Just pick one or two. Every little bit helps.

Love it or hate it social media is an effective way for us to communicate between newsletters. We can let you know about plant tending days, urgent actions needed ot you can just post a photo of your family/dog enjoying the river. Go to facebook and search for Friends of the Maitai or

Visit us online
Our website can now accept donations for those who would like to make a monetary donation towards the work being done by the Friends of the Maitai.  The donation application is located in the How To Help page found at The donations are administered by Give A Little who take no commission and supply receipts to donors.

We’d like some for the River Monitoring and Community Education ‘about ‘pages.  If you have any photos of the activities of these groups that we could use for the website could you please email them to
We aim to send a newsletter every quarter. but joining us on facebook will keep you posted on what we are doing and when, where. Meetings, planting, monitoring and other info that we think might interest you like the upcoming public talk about what's in our water.
Just click on the link above and you will be taken to our page.

If you would like to contribute, please contact 
If you have another name to add to our mailing list send it to
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Friends of the Maitai · Maitai Valley · Nelson, Nelson 7010 · New Zealand

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