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Conference 2020 - “46° South Revisited”

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Programme includes:

  • Interest Group Meetings
  • Council Meeting and AGM
  • Three Field Days  
    • Western Southland - Syndicate forestry & Koura management in a Douglas Fir forest
    • Central Southland - Industrial site visit & integrated farm
    • Northern Southand - Douglas Fir management & wilding control
  • Awards Dinner

Members of the Southland Farm Forestry Association look forward to welcoming you to Southland for the Annual Conference. Return the attached registration form promptly and come enjoy southern hospitality. The Conference Centre is in the Ascot Park Hotel, conveniently located as you enter Invercargill on State Highway 1.

Conference Programme:

Saturday 4 April Interest Group Meetings
A day set aside for Interest Group meetings at the Ascot Park Hotel. There is allowance for up to eight interest groups to meet, with a projected meeting time of one hour. In the evening, there will be a dinner in the hotel at which it is expected that the Association’s Patron will addressus.

Sunday 5 April AGM and Strategy Talks
Meetings continue – the Council, the AGM before lunch, then business sessions and strategy talks in the afternoon organised by the executive. There is an optional half-day tour to Curio Bay in the Catlins leaving at 9am.

In the evening the Opening Dinner will be held with a welcome by Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. The Minister of Forestry Hon. Shane Jones has been invited as guest speaker.

Monday 6 April Western Southland Field Day
Buses depart the Ascot Hotel for western Southland where, at Pourakino (inland from the seaside settlement of Riverton, which is passed en route), we will be looking at a successful syndicate forestry operation now into its second rotation. Members of the syndicate will be on hand to explain the intricacies of their operation.

Lunch will be in Otautau as the buses take us towards central Southland and onwards to Ernslaw One’sAvondale Forest. Operations Manager Trevor Tidey will coordinate a visit to the fire ponds where the company has developed the successful commercial farming of koura (the native crayfish).

The day will conclude back in Invercargill with the Awards Dinner and presentations in the evening.

Tuesday 7 April Central Southland Field Day
The day begins with an industrial visit - to Kennington just east of the city, to the Niagara Sawmilling Company’ssawmill and processing centre, to look at their finger-jointing machinery. This, with other initiatives, has permitted the company to take sawlogs as input, to be processed in various ways with almost no resultant waste. Their relatively new and highly automated finger jointing plant is an important part of the process.

At 11 o’clock it’s into the buses again for a journey to the lee of the Hokonui Hills in central Southland where we are to revisit an integrated farming and forestry family business. 3rd-generation Michael and Michelle Anderson (previous winners of the 1999 Husqvarna South Island Farm Foresters of the Year) will be on hand to explain their operations. Michael has prepared a series of tracks through several stands to allow everyone to view the variety of plantings, with several stops for explanation and discussion along the way. NB: This visit will involve a degree of uphill/downhill track walking.

In the evening, there will be a BBQ dinner at the hotel, and there will be the formal handover to the hosts of the 202 AGM and conference.

Wednesday 8 April
Northern Southland Field DayOn the buses again : this time via State Highway 6 (the road to Queenstown) and northern Southland to Cainard Station at Fairlight in the upper Mataura River catchment, to visit Douglas fir plantings on this higher-altitude property. Cainard and Fairlight stations combine a high country farming operation with a planted estate of 3,630 hectares of Douglas fir. The forest manager will join us to explain the workings of this project.

On the homeward run, the buses will stop at Jollies Pass to view the problems associated with wilding pines which have germinated from soil erosion plantings in the 1960’son the western faces of Mid Dome (1478m).

The day is expected to be finished by about 4pm. A casual evening meal may be available at the hotel.

Supplementary Notes for Registrants


Accommodation at the Ascot Park Hotel will be at a premium over the weekend (4 & 5 April), because of a large wedding which is due to be held there; however more accommodation should be available from Monday 6 April when other guests depart.

The registration form lists a number of motels, all located in Tay Street (which is the long street, part of SH1 on which the Hotel is situated), and registrants are encouraged to book their stay in one of these motels.

A daily pick-up and drop-off service along Tay Street will be provided to enable registrants to get to and from the venue - but only along Tay Street.

Pickups from motels – Tay Street

For those staying in motels along Tay Street, there will be a pick-up and drop-off service by bus. Most days begin at 8.30am, so buses will be on the move from 8am. Inward (to the hotel) movements will only run along the northern side of Tay Street, and outward (from the hotel) will run only along the southern side of the street, so you will need to meet the buses according to this pattern.

(Tay Street is a wide 2-lanes each way major route, with a median grassed strip.)

Lunches - field days

Please note that we are NOT providing lunches for the 3 field days. In trying to minimize expenditure, the decision was taken to ask registrants to provide their own lunches. There are plenty of shops/dairies close to accommodation centres to buy what most would need.

There will however be a chance to pre-order (the night before) a lunchbox from the Ascot Park Hotel, at a cost of $19.50 per person.
Water will be provided - 2 x 600ml bottles per day.

Note that for attendees on the first two days (4 & 5 April) which are based in the hotel, that lunches WILL be provided as part of conference fees.

Buses on field days

There will be 3 buses for the field trips. In the interests of safety, you are asked to stay on the same bus, day by day, so that head counts should be sufficient to confirm that there are no ‘lost boys’ as the parties move from place to place.

Hi-vis gear

It is hoped that hi-vis gear will be provided for the one and only visit to an industrial site (on Tuesday 7 April). For all other field day visits it will not be necessary to wear hi-vis gear.

Curio Bay – 50 is the limit

On Sunday 5 April there is an optional tour to Curio Bay on the Catlins coast. Places will be limited to one 50-seater bus.
Note that participation on this tour means that you cannot attend the Association’s AGM and other meetings as the tour will last until mid-afternoon.

Enquiries -
Roger Washbourn. Conference Secretary

Online registration form:


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