Aorere shows the way on water

On Friday I had the opportunity to attend a celebration of the Aorere Catchment Project in Golden Bay. When I had been presenting the Green New Deal in Takaka several local people had mentioned the project to me in tones of pride, so I jumped at the chance to attend the celebration.

AorereJamesCutting

Readers of this blog will recall that one of the projects that we included in our Green New Deal Stimulus Package – what we would do to stimulate the economy and restore the environment if we were the Government right now – was a $200m per annum investment over 9 years to protect rivers and streams with fencing and riparian planting.

Last week the urgency of this work was once more brought home by two new reports highlighting the speed with which freshwater quality has been degraded in recent years.

What has been achieved here is extraordinary. Nestled between Kahurangi National Park and the sea, the Aorere catchment is home to around 500 people, and the principle land use has been dairying. The river flows into a bay that is home to a number of mussel farms. Not so long ago tensions in Golden Bay were running high, with familiar tensions between dairy farmers, greenies and Fish and Game, augmented by a further difficulty where the aquaculture industry claimed that E. coli contamination of the river from dairy farming rendered their industry on the verge of closure.

Then something extraordinary happened. The dairy farmers in the catchment got together to do something about the problem. While not everyone was an immediate enthusiast, all agreed to be part of a project to clean up the waterways. The project has been supported by Landcare Trust and MAF’s Sustainable Farming Fund, and has involved collaboration between the dairy and the mussel farmers, scientists and technical experts from multiple agencies, and the Golden Bay Streamcare Group. This latter group comprised an amazing group of volunteers who have raised seedlings, planted them out along stream and river banks and then gone back to release and care for the plantings.

In the space of a few short years the improvement in water quality has been brilliant. This can be seen in return of biodiversity, but is perhaps even better measured by the effect on aquaculture: days where water quality conditions allowed mussel harvest improved markedly from 28% before the project to 80% now. The riparian plantings are now several metres tall in some places, and the return of bird life has been noticeable. One of the farmers I spoke to said that he hadn’t noticed any productivity changes – up or down – from the changes, but there had been animal welfare gains with greater shade for the stock from the riparian plantings.

This group is going to continue work in the Aorere and believe that more is achievable, but their model is also for export, with members of the group talking about the project with farmer groups in other parts of the country, and a new batch of Sustainable Farming funding just approved by MAF for further work in the Aorere and to use the same approach in the Rai catchment north-east of Nelson.

One of the interesting questions this all raises, of course, is what the conditions are that will best facilitate the uptake of this model in other parts of New Zealand. While those involved were anxious to say that there was nothing special about them, attempts to get the model going in a neighbouring catchment have been unsuccessful.

A couple of the farmers there took me to task about our criticism of the Clean Streams Accord and their perception that our criticism of “dirty dairying” was unfair and unhelpful. On the other hand, my observation was that several of the farmers I spoke with identified the very uncomfortable standoff that had arisen and that negative community perceptions about dairying practices as catalysts for action. Would the project have happened without these? I’d like to talk with these farmers some more about that.

What we all do agree on is the huge value of bringing everyone together and talking with those we have disagreements with – maybe a positive sign for the collaborative governance model. We also all agree on the great value of highlighting and celebrating the positive. Jeanette’s currently out there visiting farms that use good sustainability practices, so that we can do exactly that. In the meantime, it would be hard to go past the inspirational nature of the Aorere Catchment Project and all of the individuals and groups who have been associated with it.

43 thoughts on “Aorere shows the way on water

  1. Great post Kevin. Its great to hear in some detail about a success such as this and what can be achieved if people put their minds to it.

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  2. There are many areas on the periphery of our towns where the water quality can be improved letting people settle along the river banks and move the cattle back up onto the hills.

    Riparian margin planting can be made a condition of consent of course the advantage of people over cattle is that cattle do not have septic tanks strapped to their backs ends.

    The riparian settlements can ensure that the evapotranspiration fields are well away from the water’s edge but the irrigation lines can help fertilise and irrigate the planting area without polluting anything.

    There is no cost to the farmer and many need extra cash to raise their overall farm management and selling of the riparian margins would raise that capital – and people would get to live where they want. Those same people could help manage the mangrove explosion. And again moving the pastures back would reduce the impact of aerial topdressing on the mangrove prone areas.

    Of course it would not be appropriate in the area described in this posting but there are many areas where it would be a win win game. I have shown how well it works on my own developments and designs.

    The key aim should be to get the cattle away from the water. And control the stormwater with retention ponds etc.

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  3. The downside of course being the inevitable floods that will now destroy houses rather than killing livestock.

    I like the idea of moving the cattle away… you ARE right about that… but I don’t think you’ll actually get that many people dumb enough to move right next to the river.

    You could not pay me to live on a flood plain or next to an uncontrolled river… or downstream of any major dam.

    Yet it is a “desirable” spot?

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  4. Owen – I’ve some questions for you.
    Firstly an observation: This was funny.

    of course the advantage of people over cattle is that cattle do not have septic tanks strapped to their backs ends.
    (neither do people, I’d always believed :-) )

    Your idea is excellent. Cows moved away from water courses. How wide do you envisage these ‘riparian settlements’ to be? The aerial topdressing load would be reduced, but the ‘flow down’ from effluent moving through the soil/subsoil would not be, if the cow numbers remain the same. The riparian plantings would perhaps reduce some of it, but I think, very little.
    It would be very interesting to learn how the people living in your ‘riparian settlements’ would regard the farmers, whose management of their farm nutrients would be very obvious to those now living alongside of what was once a farm ‘drain’. Will they hope to swim in them? Collect shellfish? Catch eels?
    The ‘stormwater retention ponds’ you describe – why have you chosen ponds over swales or other ‘gradual release’ systems? What happens to the water you will collect? Is it for fire-fighting or irrigation? I think water is best kept in the soil, but you may have thoughts about that.
    Don’t feel pressure to respond Owen. I’ve time on my hands presently, but my interest is genuine. I’d like to talk more about humanure in terms of your plans also, but … later.

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  5. Kevin – if you’ve not already moved on…
    I watched a Country Calendar programme on the Aorere situation some time back, where these ideas were just being explored. The quality of the water in the streams etc. was appalling at that time. The place, we were told, reeked!
    The programme highlighted the problems faced by the aquaculturalists and the way that their economic welfare was being compromised. My question to you is: if it wasn’t for the mussel farmers, would any change have been made?

    Ko te Tauihu o te Waka a Maui te Rohe
    Ko Te Tai o Aorere te Moana
    Ko Waimea te Awa
    Ko Tahunanui te Papakainga

    Greenfly

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  6. Many of these waterways are estuaries and are not really rivers running through flood plains. Most New Zealand land is quite steep and you can live alongside a river, or stream or estuary with no risk of flooding if you place your house higher up the slope rather than right on the land.
    So I do not why you say floods are “inevitable”. I would not build a house where flooding was inevitable – end of story.
    I am just trying to point that one size does not fit all, and there really are horses for courses.
    I do not think I am dumb and I lived next to estuary but was at no risk of flooding because I am not dumb.

    Do not let the perfect drive out the good is another useful policy.
    One of the problems with present arrangements is that livestock can wander directly into waterways and watercourses.
    In my last property of twenty acres I developed a series of watercourses and swales and wetlands (which serve as retention ponds) to direct water across the contours and enter the larger streams at low volumes.
    The planting we use on evapo transpiration sewage treatment fields really are pumps and both trap nutrients in the plant growth (canna lillies for example) and slow the passage of surface water In my last property the nearest house to the waters edge was a good 250 metres away with a combination of evapo fields and dense bush in between.
    ON my present property the top pond (fed by swale drains to slow the downhill flows) is for irrigating the vegetable gardens and fruit orchards below, the one below is simply a retention pond to prevent scouring and to allow two diverging flows to deed a pair of wetland on the neighbouring farm, while the big one is a three thousand sq metre wetland.
    This is just about design and management.
    There are farms above both these properties and their run off gives me no concern and I certainly swam and fished in the estuary at the bottom of the last one.
    I suppose that as an architect and semi engineer (Eng int) I see a problem as something to be solved by design and management rather than as an obstacle to action. I like to see people enjoying themselves and many people take great pleasure out of developing bush, wetlands and gardens and protecting the environment from needless damage.

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  7. Ah… to me an “estuary” is a very different thing from a river. Would be not the first time a definition stood in the way of understanding.

    To me a river is the Ohio or the Missouri or some such, and floods really are “inevitable”. They happen when the weather gets a bit unusual.

    I do like the idea of getting the livestock away from the rivers.

    A useful tool to keep to hand. You have your moments. Thanks for this.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  8. “There are many areas on the periphery of our towns where the water quality can be improved letting people settle along the river banks and move the cattle back up onto the hills.”

    You see, this is the problem with you guys. Riparian planting is a great idea don’t get me wrong, but as soon as thats done you then want another 100 meters either side. You will never win over farmers if they think in the slightest that you are after more of their land.
    Why not just settle for fenced of waterways and riparian planting? why do you always push for more than is realistic?
    There is no way settling people in along streams in any number would be better for biodiversity than a farm.
    Start small guys, leave the land grab till after you’ve got control of the masses.

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  9. Don’t be daft Shunda. You’ve thrown your net wildly and snared nothing but your own insecurities. Your claim that farms can’t be beaten for biodiversity is wildly innacurate, that is, if you are talking about ‘ordinary’ NZ farms, which are by and large, deserts, biodiversity-wise.

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  10. The leaves of all the classic “pumps” are great mulch.

    Shunda. No one is suggesting the riparian margins be taken from the farmers. The farmers can sell the land or do their own developments and gain some capital.

    The present regime is based on takings without compensation which creates much of the resentment.

    re: wetlands. I would like to introduce a trading regime where people who manufacture wetlands can trade their wetland currency for cash to those (like Transit NZ) who need to destroy the odd wetland to do their job.
    The ratio could be two to on so that over time the acreage of wetland increased and everyone would benefit. One way for old age pensioners to increase their earnings using their gardening skills.

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  11. Owen – your ‘wetland trading scheme’ concerns me greatly for the reason that it sounds like a similar forest scheme where old growth native forest could be traded for plantation pinus radiata. Have you good knowledge of the values of ‘historical wetlands’ and the relative values of newly created wetlands? Destroying the ‘odd wetland’ sounds reasonable enough, I suppose, until you look at how many have already been destroyed (most).
    Don’t you feel yet that ‘enough is enough’?

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  12. Well if Transit had to buy wetland credits from a neighbour or wherever to allow them to destroy a wetland in the path of their lowest cost route they would have to recognise that the wetland had a value set by the market.

    At present they have no cost – regardless of their value.
    This has nothing to do with trading native forest for radiata.
    IF you want more of something you make it profitable to make and sell. If you want to stop something you make it have a cost of destruction.

    A sensibly designed trading scheme for wetlands would increase the number and extent and variety of wetlands in New Zealand. You can grade wetlands and hence rank them by cost of destruction. The trading market would set the price of the different grades of manufactured wetlands – just as it does with everything else.

    The proposed EPA could do the grading and the costing of existing wetlands.

    This rewards “good” behaviour and penalises “bad” behaviour.

    I cannot see the problem.

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  13. The most significant wetlands in New Zealand are already ‘graded’ or ‘rated’ or given classifications (Ramsar etc.)
    You don’t favour the ‘let them be’ model? The proposed EPA is one that rationalises further destruction of natural wetlands.

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  14. “Your claim that farms can’t be beaten for biodiversity is wildly innacurate,”

    So having people wash their cars, spray their lawns, dump their ashes and kids killing the eels is going to be better than grass with a planted riparian strip? not to mention run off from roads, roof’s, and driveways.
    I think you’re the one being daft greenfly, people are far more destructive than cows.

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  15. Cows don’t have the sense to keep off drenched pasture or not graze useful plants – a pogged field in winter isn’t a good advert for the benign impact of cows.

    I read some studies of artificially created wetlands in the USA (created to mitigate development over some other wetlands) that reckoned the artifical wetlands had much lower biodiversity than natural ones. I haven’t read anything recently on this though.

    I can see all sorts of problems in grading wetlands’ value – how to incorporate protistan biodiversity, how to cost connectivity to adjacent wetlands, how to cost undescribed species etc. The biggest problem I can see is how to find the money to do the ecosystem/biodiversity research needed to ascertain the real value of a wetland? If the cost of the grading and pricing needed to make a trading scheme work is too high the scheme seems inefficient (whereas outright protection is rather cheap – even if you aren’t sure what you are protecting). I’m not convinced that just counting a few indicator species is sufficient to set the value of an ecosystem.

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  16. Shunda – your response has little to do with my claim that ordinary new Zealand farms are biodiversity deserts. Are you arguing that they aren’t? Can you show me how a dairy farm, for example, with its monocultural, single level grass sward sustaining milk cows, is to anyones eyes, biologically diverse? Looks to me as though they are trimmed to the bone to produce as much ‘white-gold’ as possible, artificially fed and controlled through the use of oil-based products and hugely exclusive of all but a few of our native organisms. Sounds and smells like low, low biodiversity to me. As to your assertions re: people – anti-humans-in-the-landscape are you? Like to see people removed from your ‘ideal picture’ and farmers (who themselves wash cars, spray lawns, dump ashes and have eel-killing kids) take total control of the country?
    That aside Shunda – how can you portray farms as having high biodiversity?

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  17. “That aside Shunda – how can you portray farms as having high biodiversity?”

    Yes I agree with you on that, but I think a waterway fenced off and planted is going to be alot more healthy than being stradled by a residential subdivision, even with the cows on the other side of the fence.
    Simply shading the water alone would make a huge difference.
    While my dislike of intensive dairying is rapidly growing, I think there needs to be a realistic approach to what the average farmer will accept.
    If we want better attitudes towards waterways on farms I don’t think talking about subdivisions creeping up waterways is a very good idea.
    Farmers don’t like selling land, especially flat land to a bunch of “townies”.

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  18. Shunda – have you read anything about polyculture farming, biomimicry and the Land Institute? It’s very interesting. There is a book – Biomimicry that is worth reading. Essentially, they are saying that polyculture, perennial-plant-based farming is light-years ahead of the ‘desert’ farming we are seeing here.

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  19. “perennial-plant-based farming is light-years ahead of the ‘desert’ farming we are seeing here.”

    Sounds interesting, what are they growing if not grass?
    Where would I obtain a copy of the book?

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  20. Mainly perennial grasses, selected and bred for productivity (grain bearing) and growing without the use of supplementary fertilizing, the way prairie grasses do. Pest resistant too, in the way that mixed polyculture prairies are. Self seeding too. And water capturing (need no irrigating)
    I’ve a ‘thing’ about the sloppy cow-shit that I see erupting from the rear end of dairy cows in our region – streams of brown gush – and know that ‘cowpies’ and not supposed to stream. I’m writing a piece titled ‘Cow pies and Mushrooms’ about the passing of both (not the passing I mean they are no longer found in the way that they once were) Field mushrooms, once commonplace, aint any more, more’s the pity.

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  21. Shunda barunda Says:
    June 30th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    > Yes I agree with you on that, but I think a waterway fenced off and planted is going to be alot more healthy than being stradled by a residential subdivision, even with the cows on the other side of the fence.

    I agree with you on that, but I’d like to point out that what you are advocating is also what the Green Party is advocating. The subdivision idea was Owen McShane’s suggestion, and he probably suggested it because it would be more profitable for him as a property developer.

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  22. “I’ve a ‘thing’ about the sloppy cow-shit that I see erupting from the rear end of dairy cows in our region – streams of brown gush – and know that ‘cowpies’ and not supposed to stream.”

    Are they feeding them the wrong grass, or is it over fertilised grass with not enough bio matter? I know what you mean though, I’ve seen it myself.

    I have been experimenting with grass that is more tollerant of low fertility for my lawns. But all it is, is brown top and fescue, a fairly old mix really. It seems all the seed companies are pushing these new fine turf rye grasses that they have spent millions developing, but there’s one problem….They’re CRAP!! If you don’t chuck nitrogen on every 5 minutes they just don’t perform. I was astonished at how much fertilizer a golf coarse I was working on was chucking on the fairways, and it would all wash off in the next heavy shower. There was so much nitrogen that huge thick blobs of algae was growing all over any patch of bare soil. But they just kept on dumping it on at the recomendation of the crowd that were selling it to them!!!
    The lawns I am doing are not quite as dark green as these new rye grasses but you don’t have to fertilise them every 5 minutes, or at all if you mow regularly WITHOUT a catcher, as I recomend to all my clients (not many listen though).

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  23. kahikatea,
    please.
    I am not a property developer.
    I have simply developed models for high quality residential development and have tested them in practice on my own land. In other words I put my money were my mouth is.
    I call them managed parks and they are serious attempts to address the problems we have.
    And Shunda where do you get the idea that farmers don’t like selling their land to townies.
    They like to have the choice and many are pleased to sell of an underused asset to fund improvements or to meet new obligations.
    Certainly, most are only too pleased to be able to sell their land to someone who will deal with this environmental issue rather than have the land taken by the state and require them to carry the burden of all the costs.

    These experiments are expensive which is why I have not made money out of them. I would have thought a few more of you might be interested in innovative solutions which create a win win situation.
    The Maori trusts around me have been very impressed by the managed park notion because it fits their preference being a mix of private lots within “public” land.
    However, if you feel inclined to rubbish my work because it develops property then so be it. People do want to live somewhere and most New Zealanders would like a property which promotes biodiversity and helps to restored degraded lands. How many of you realise how damaging pugging can be to these northland soils. Olives and truffles are much less damaging.

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  24. Shunda – the recomendation of the crowd that were selling it to them!!!

    Therein lies the bulk of the problem – I had a great battle through our ‘letters to the editor’ section with a farm consultant, after I’d written to comment on the massive loss of soil I was witnessing flowing down the rivers and into the sea each time it rained – consultants, especially the fertilizer and herb/pest/icide crews, have a lot to answer for and they’ll never be taken to task – not only for the soil destruction that they are condoning but for the resulting ill-health issues in humans. As to your lawns – let them go! Better yet, dig them up, shrink them down – Michael Pollan has a great chapter on the hidden power of lawns in his Second Nature – a gardener’s education. The chapter is called ‘Why mow?’ Sounds like your kinda issue!

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  25. And my last property was full of mushrooms including Bay Boletus along the boundaries were a few pines grew.
    We also picked giant puffballs which are amazing to eat. A solid mushroom omelette which filled the pan but without the eggs!

    I would post a few photos but it doesn’t work.

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  26. Sorry greenfly. This is a problem with these blogs. I was responding to Kaihikatea and Shunda but fell into the trap of using ‘you’ which captures everyone on the site.

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  27. Yummm, giant puffballs and boletes. My favourite are Coprinus comatus – shaggy ink caps – they melt away in the pan and turn into the most mushroomy gloop you’ve ever eaten. Unfortunately I’ve only once found morels in NZ – they are exquisite.

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  28. My last property was like a fungus museum but never got to eat some of them because I was never sufficiently confident of the identification.

    At least boletes are easy to identify because of the sponge.
    And giant puffballs are well giant puffballs.

    But I have pondered over all manner of funghi which look like inkcaps and saffron milk caps and so on but my books all say “not to be confused with xxxx which are poisonous!” and I would rather remain confused than dead.

    Such is life.

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  29. Owen – that’s interesting. The boletes are nice – birch boletes and ceps being the most tasty and least slimey. They are mycorrhizal and associated with the roots of the pines etc. (I’m sure you know) and less affected by pasture management (lime, urea etc.) and so seem to have ‘survived’ better. The puffballs are a mystery to me. They grow massive in some paddocks which once grew field mushrooms but now don’t. The are good to eat, as you say. Have you tried the shaggy cap/lawyers wig/ink caps? They are very nice but get them when they’re young! I think a healthy fungal community in any landscape is a good thing. I am also very interested in promoting the idea of foragable mushroom resources for NZ communities, but there’s a lot to be done there. I’ve started in my town, finding wild ‘stands/rings’ and assessing why they are doing well where they are. There are great strories of fungi gathering expeditions in other parts of the world. I’d like that to be here too. Lots of basket fungus out at the moment. Not tasty!

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  30. Owen, I wasn’t rubbishing your work, just suggesting that it might have influenced your approach to the problem of agricultural run-off. As the saying goes, ‘if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything can look like a nail’.

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  31. Joe – did you hear about the ‘king of boletes’ that grow in Hagley park, opposite the hospital? They are the best. There are morels that grow occasionally near the hospital in the city nearest me(can’t reveal the location now that I know you’ve a taste for them!). Don’t try stink horns. Don’t even approach stinkhorns. Peeewwww!

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  32. Greenfly- I was just writing that I’d heard that Boletus edulis (the treasured european cep) grows in some parks in Christchurch but I haven’t found it. Now I have to scan your posts to work out your location and track down that morel patch!!

    Drying boletes then crumbling them in sauces removes some of the slimeness. Birch boletes (I usually find them around ornamental plantings of silver birch) aren’t as slimey. I have read advice that shaggy ink cap should be gathered when young but I reckon the older ones – even if they are melting – have better flavour – and they are easy to identify.

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  33. Molten shaggy caps, Joe! Mmmmm! I’ll try it. I collect them when the are full height (they are quite tall for a fungi) just before the frill starts to ‘ink’. I’ll try drying the boletes next time (they’re out here now). If I turn up any morels I’ll make some noise here and we can talk, but as I say, it’s occasional.

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  34. Speaking as one who knows… ;-) The Boletus edulis in Christchurch arrived on the roots of young trees imported from the UK. Those trees were planted at a nursery, and in at least one of the large homes of the time (now operated as a luxury lodge). The suite of fungi on the imported trees became established in the nursery, which then supplied all the trees for Hagley Park. As a result, B edulis can be found throughout the park, and is associated with a species of Amanita (probably excelsa) which is generally avoided by Europeans, but enjoyed by some members of the Asian community (who boil or blanch them before use, I’m told). Estimates of edulis production in ChCh run into several tonnes per season.

    A second phase of distribution took place in the last 50 years, because edulis was also present at a Ministry of Works nursery in Avonhead (long gone, sadly), which supplied trees (especially silver birch, which is a good host) for many streets/parks in ChCh and for projects around the South Island. I have it on good authority that included the Mackenzie hydro development, and that in wet years edulis can be found around Twizel.

    The scientific confirmation of the presence of edulis in ChCh only took place in the mid-90s. When I first went to look, I was astonished to be able to fill three carrier bags with perfect specimens. Unfortunately, the news spread fast (not from me, I can assure you… ;-) ) and now it’s getting difficult to find a decent haul unless you’re very devoted. At least one person collects commercially, and he picks them far too small. There are several people who would happily give him a good smacking (as part of good parental correction, of course).

    Giant puffballs are surprisingly common – at least around Canterbury. I picked two by the roadside in Rangiora this autumn… As with all fungi that grow in association with grass, they prefer long-established and “unimproved” pasture. Puffballs, in particular, like rich soil – my neighbour finds them from time to time near his silage pit.

    Morels are also widely distributed in NZ. I’ve found them in a ChCh garden. Unfortunately they are not particularly common (or don’t seem to be) so they’re more of an occasional treat than a regular harvest. They often seem to appear where there’s recently been a fire (true where I found them), which has prompted some misguided French enthusiasts to start large and very damaging forest fires…

    Setting aside truffles, two species of which are already grown commercially in NZ, plantations of pines infected with the saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus, aka pine mushroom in Aus) have been established near Gisborne, and are already producing an export crop. This is particularly interesting from a forestry perspective, because in an era where permanent forest carbon sinks are a commercial reality/climate necessity, having mushroom production from a forest (can start at five years) produces a very useful income.

    The boletes most commonly found in association with pines in NZ are usually called slippery jacks because they have a slimy cap. Species is Suillus bovinus or similar, and they’re really only worth eating if you’re prepared to peel the cap, because it has the unhappy ability to make food slimy… Best use, according to Polish experts, is to peel, dry and powder the mushrooms, and then use the powder to make soup, or as a seasoning.

    HTH… ;-)

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  35. Yes but do you know anything about mushrooms….?

    That’s great Sir Henry. The puffball/silage connection is one I’d noticed too, but not confirmed. Thanks for that (Probably the only good thing that can be said for silage leachate though)

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  36. And whilst following a Lovelockian lead, I stumble on…

    http://www.conservationmagazine.org/articles/v10n1/the-mushroom-messiah/

    Another interesting thing (to me at least), is that the edible agaricus in NZ pastures can form “fairy rings” – rings of darker green grass – as the colony grows. On the slopes of some the hills round me, where the grass is too steep to bother improving with machinery, the rings can be a hundred metres or more in diameter – striking landscape features.

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  37. I have peeled the caps of slippery jacks and then dried them in a fan oven on very low heat and then put them in jars and stored in the freezer.
    They solid flesh makes them great in casseroles or in my numerous coq au vin from culling the flock every year. (Having one tonight – the bantam cockerel’s meat is as dark as lamb and the fat is as yellow as – well, yellow.

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  38. was this conservation work given the nod by the kaitiaki tangatawhenua?

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  39. “I would have thought a few more of you might be interested in innovative solutions which create a win win situation.”

    Sorry Owen, I have completely misunderstood your position.
    I am intrigued over what you are doing, do you have any links or other info you could share on some of your ideas/projects? I am in the business of creating landscapes and it sounds like you have been doing for some time what I can only dream about at the moment.
    Your “managed park” idea, is that an idea for low density residential development? sounds interesting.
    It is a dream of mine to one day build a subdivision that enhances/blends into the environment while providing residents with a bit of space to move, I can’t stand the modern cramed in sterile approach.

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  40. Bucolic Old Sir Henry –

    An alternative name for the literary “pastoral” (both as an adjective and a noun) is bucolic, from the Greek βουκóλος, meaning a “cowherd”.
    Well I never!
    No need to search for ‘old’ I suppose.

    The ‘fairy ring thing’ is interesting also.

    What to tell Sir Henry about fungi that he doesn’t already know… thinks ..

    Did you know that the hay that is taken up onto the ski fields during the summer and placed to even out the surface ready for the snow falls
    produces ‘shrooms that are of more than passing interest to many of those young skiiers who will later be plying the slopes?

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