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Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group

A river for all

Wrybill eggs

Wrybill eggs

Different interest groups (gravel extractors, 4WDrs and bird enthusiasts) normally on opposing sides of an issue, have joined forces to protect braided river birds on the Ashley River, near Rangiora.

Together the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group Inc. have been working to make the Ashley River a safe place for birds such as black-fronted terns, wrybill, black-billed gulls, banded dotterels, pied stilts, and oystercatchers. But it’s not just the birds that have benefited.


  • Latest report: September 2018
  • Latest trapping report: February 2017 : text PDF  |  maps PD
  • A annual survey of bird species in November
  • Control of mammalian predators in areas with concentrations of nesting birds
  • Manufacture and sell DOC 200 traps – all profits go back to the group for the protection of braided river birds
  • Monitoring bird breeding success
  • Advocacy and liaison with schools, special interest groups and the general public
  • Maintenance of riverbed signs to alert public of bird breeding areas
  • Assisting enhancement of public facilities (walking track, 4WD track, swimming holes, etc) in parts of the river not used by birds
  • Liaison with DOC, ECan, Waimakariri District Council and Zone Committee and Canterbury water use decision-makers

Some of their achievements:

  • An improvement of bird numbers and breeding success in the Ashley river, which has been attributed to the promotional and on-river operational work of the Group.
  • Collaboration with gravel extractors to the extent that they keep regular watch for breeding birds, and are aware of their ability to create weed-free nesting areas, and to assist birds by restricting operations where necessary.
  • With ECan, 4WDers have developed a vehicle track on the berm area between the open shingle and the stop bank to encourage people to stay out of the riverbed.
  • A walking track has been created alongside the river for people and their dogs, again to reduce disturbance. The group don’t say “keep out”. Instead, they have worked to provide other opportunities for people to recreate here, without disturbing the birds.
  • The group have put a big effort into working with community, notifying what’s happening on the riverbed at any time of the year, asking for volunteers to check predator traps – all sorts of people have become trappers for the group from students to old retired hunters and foresters.
  • During the breeding season (August to January) the Group leads guided tours to observe the birds breeding in the riverbed.
Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group putting out seasonal signs

Putting out signs during bird breeding season

The Group has a well illustrated 20 minute PowerPoint presentation which describes activities and results including detailed graphics of survey and breeding results. These are available for presentation to schools, service groups etc. 

At the end of each season, a comprehensive annual report is written.

The Group’s activities over the last year: 2017-2018 Management and Monitoring of Shorebirds in the Ashley River (6Mb PDF)


How can you help?

Group meetings once every 3-4 months (usually in the local Dept of Conservation offices on River Road, Rangiora – see the Calendar of Events for meeting dates). Volunteers can assist with annual bird surveys and predator trapping, plus fund-raising activities such as sausage sizzles, displays and trap making.

Contact details: 

Chairman: Nick Ledgard
 191 Carrs Road
 Loburn RD 2, 7472
 Phone:  03 312 8799

Secretary: Joan Miles
 905 Mt Thomas Road
 Rangiora RD1
 Phone:  03 313 5133

More information