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How To Get There 8/12/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, December 8th, 2019 - 51 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:


This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

51 comments on “How To Get There 8/12/19 ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Today and tomorrow I'm at this:

    New Zealand Agriculture 2050 – Pathways of Innovation Symposium

    hearing about these things:

    1. Sustainable food production
    2. Future food, nutrition and medicine
    3. Agritech, food quality and security


    The programme will involve over 10 invited speakers from throughout New Zealand who are internationally recognised as leaders in their field. We will also have panel discussions around holistic farming, synthetic foods and GM foods.

    When combined, these themes should disclose how future food production systems will be sufficient to feed an increasing world population. It is New Zealand’s challenge to decide how we wish to position our food production systems in the future, within the constraints of a zero carbon emissions goal for 2050."

    and here's the full programme:

    Programme and speakers

    Sunday 8 December, Castle Lecture Theatre 1

    Opening session: Chair, Frank Griffin

    1:00–1:10pm Welcome and opening: DVC Research, University of Otago, Professor Richard Blaikie
    1:10–1:15pm Housekeeping
    1:15–1:20pm Dunedin Rural Development Inc: Gold Sponsor
    1:20–2:00pm From Undifferentiated Commodity to High Value Ingredients: Rhys Griffith, Deer Industry (DINZ)

    Agricultural Systems: Challenges and Opportunities

    2:00–2:40pm Holistic Farming: John King, Director of Succession
    2:40–3:10pm Transforming Dryland Farming: Derrick Moot, Lincoln University
    3:10–3:40pm Indigenous Perspectives on Genetic Technologies: Phillip Wilcox, University of Otago

    3:40–3:55pm Coffee

    Chair, Hugh Campbell

    3:55–4:00pm Silver Fern Farms: Gold Sponsor
    4:00–4:30pm Catchment Management: An Exemplar of Farmer Collaboration! Janet Gregory, Extension Services Lead, South Island, MPI
    4:30–5:00pm Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Jude Sise, AbacusBio Ltd
    5:00–5:15pm Regenerating Farming in Hill Country: Henrick Moller, University of Otago
    5:15–5:30pm The Road to Low Emissions Solis Norton, Nuffield New Zealand

    Chair, Julia Jones

    5:30–7:00pm Farmers Forum – Freeflow

    7:30–10:30pm Symposium Dinner at Arana Hall
    At Dinner: Philosophical interlude by Anna Campbell, CEO Abacus Bio

    ^ Top of page

    Monday 9 December, Castle Lecture Theatre 1

    Agritech: Chair, Richard Macknight

    8:00–8:30am New Breeding Technologies for Fruit Trees: Andy Alan, Plant & Food Research
    8:30–9:00am High Metabolisable Energy Ryegrass: Greg Bryan, AgResearch
    9:00–9:30am Bioactives in AgriTech: Greg Cook, University of Otago
    9:30–10:00am Soil Microbiomes: Sergio Morales, University of Otago
    10:00–10:15am Methane Inhibitors: Greg Walker, University of Otago

    10:15–10:30am Coffee

    Future foods: Chair, Anna Campbell

    10:30–10:35am Otago Regional Council: Gold Sponsor
    10:35–11:05am Food Safety and Quality Assurance: Phil Bremer, University of Otago
    11:05–11:35am Food Wastage: Miranda Mirosa, University of Otago
    11:35–12:05pm Alternative Foods: Human / Animal: Frank Griffin, Otago Innovation Ltd
    12:05–12:35pm Consumer-led Production in Uncharted Waters: Julia Jones, NZX Ltd

    12:45–1:30pm Lunch

    Environmental Perspectives: Chair, Miranda Mirosa

    1:30–2:00pm Regaining the Social Licence to Operate: Hugh Campbell, University of Otago
    2:00–3:00pm Overarching Perspectives and Wrap: Melissa Clark Reynolds
    3:00–3:30pm Closing focus

    Key research questions:

    1. Knowledge / technology gaps
    2. Research at the nutrition / medicine interface
    3. Research to inform policy

    Silver sponsors

    • Polson Higgs
    • Environment Southland
    • Microbiology & Immunology, University of Otago
  2. Robert Guyton 2

    I'm sharing a ride from Riverton to Dunedin with the ex-president of Southland Federated Farmers and an ex-Fonterra board member; both "farmer-councillors of the Southland Regional Council.

    Should have some interesting discussions over that 2-plus hour journey smiley

    • Sacha 2.1

      Conversation tidbits welcomed.

    • Graeme 2.2

      Looking through the programme for the symposium the return trip could provide even more interesting discussion. I hope we will get reports of learnings gleaned.

      But good leadership by your Council for sponsoring that event. There's some good stuff coming out of Southland farming.

  3. weka 3

    I'm interested what the regenerative and native restoration folks have to say about this. The Rangitata River is in flood, and the brown colour there is soil flowing out to sea (more obvious in the Stuff video). There's a theory that the large SI braided rivers are braided because of deforestation. When the trees and wetlands were removed it turned the Canterbury Plains into a super highway for rain dumped in the Alps to flow straight to the sea taking soil and debris with it. When a flood happens that spills out into the surrounding land taking more soil and debris as water flows fast over pasture. Debris here is plant and other material that is fertiliser in an a natural system.

    In an intact landscape, what would happen is the trees and scrub would slow the flow of water considerably, and then as the flood waters recede, much more of the soil and debris is left behind in those forest and scrub ecosystems. The main river bed stays more contained as well. There's still some loss of soil and debris to the sea, but the retention in the riverside ecologies is a key component of the fertility of those ecosystems.

    Afaik there are no SI east coast rivers that haven't been deforested back to the Alps, and I'm not sure that the West Coast systems are comparable (but they operate with the same flood fertility cycle).

    Speculating on restoration options here, one would be to reforest a wide area of land on both sides of the rivers. Either direct natives, or using a fast growing species like willow that can be used to establish mixed forests or be later restored to native. The advantage of willows is that they are very fast and we're running out of time. The imperatives are climate mitigation, biodiversity restoration, protection of top soil/fertility. Such strategies would also lessen the risk of flooding to human settlements.

    Video in this link showing the sea https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118025289/campers-along-rangitata-river-in-canterbury-told-to-evacuate-due-to-extreme-rain

    • weka 3.1

      an explanation of how humans can design systems that are resilient during floods, including the principles above of vegetation and water/soil being retained in the land.

      Rain doesn’t cause most floods, humans do

      • weka 3.2.1

        I saw that, very cool! But what is being seen there is natural enough. Depending on what else happens with the flood (and later floods), that bit that dropped into water will grow vegetation and thus create better river ecology. Did you see how the trees stayed upright? Not sure what those pines will do, but many species will just keep growing in that situation. Those are the species we should be planting on river edges.

        What's in that video isn't a problem. The problem is if the land upstream is deforested and the water is flowing so fast that downstream vegetation gets washed away.

        • weka

          I've spent a lot of time in the bush when rivers have been in flood, observing what happens. What I describe above is what has been happening in those systems over millennia. Yes, you still get wear and tear along the edge, but the system restores that. Afaik this is why the forested river systems don't become braided.

          • Graeme

            There's plenty of braided rivers around New Zealand with forested or undisturbed catchments. Around here we've go Dart and Rees, In South Westland Arawata and Cascade and up north the Whakatane River and many of it's tributaries are braided above the coastal plain.

            Braiding is a function of a high bed load from erosion in the headwaters, and a flattening grade. So as the river slows it can't carry the amount of gravel it could when flowing fast. This gravel drops out of suspension and creates an obstruction that the flow has to by-pass, creating and moving meanders or braids.

            Fun fact, if there's hadn't been any erosion the Southern Alps would be 30 km high, rather than 4. So there's an awful lot of rock that's fallen off and washed down as far as it can go.

            • weka

              those SI rivers have all been grazed since the 1800s i.e. they're not undisturbed and were deforested by humans. I'm struggling to think of an east of the divide river system that that's not true for. Fiordland has some on the west side but that's a different kind of country. Maybe the south coast east of Te Wae Wae?

              • weka

                The more pertinent point here would be, in intact river systems (ie. forested) that are braided, how do they function differently from rivers like the Rangitata?

              • Andre

                The key point about forming a braided river is that the river is moving so much rock and gravel and sand that it is building its bed up (rather than carving down into the bed). Eventually the channel it had been flowing in raises above the surrounding area and then it flows out of the old raised channel and forms a new channel somewhere else.

                Look at aerial photos of the Fox or Waiho (out of Franz Josef). Even where they are confined between hard rock walls, the rivers are braided, and they remain braided out to the coast. Or there's this photo in wikipedia of a river in Washington state (forested both banks).

                In older bigger rivers braiding generally only happens where it's carrying a lot of solids and flowing over a wide flat plan, but it's also the same mechanism that forms river deltas where they empty into the sea. You can also see the same mechanism in miniature high speed in alluvial fans coming out of high steep-sided straight valleys. Particularly in dry areas.

                • weka

                  do you think water from the Rangitata headwaters would function differently pre-deforestation compared to now?

                  • Andre

                    Speculating just from limited knowledge of the general area, a quick peek at google maps satellite photos, and general understanding of rivers from doing a lot of kayaking, I'd guess there's very little difference between the Rangitata now and what it would have been had its catchment remained unmolested (forest in its lower reaches, tussock in the hills, snow and ice on the mountains).

                    If unmolested, the peaks of the floods would probably be significantly lower in the lower eaches, forests hold water well and release it much more slowly than grasslands. But most of the solids it's carrying are probably leftovers from glacial moraines. It's braided all the way up to very close to its headwaters.

                  • Graeme

                    If anything, modern land use practices and engineering have greatly moderated the power of the Canterbury rivers. The Waimakariri used to flail across the plains, the mouth moving over a range from Lake Elsemere to Kaiapoi over geologically recent timescales when the plains were a mosaic forest.


                    If the engineering that holds the Waimakariri, or any of the Canterbury rivers, in their current course fails, or is inadequate there will be carnage. Current events would be nothing.

                    I've watched the Dart take out several Ha of beech forest with little resistance, if anything the erosion rate seemed to increase once the trees started going over, the roots ripping the bank to pieces.

              • Exkiwiforces

                I got a few NZ Geo books around somewhere in my study, stating that the South Island East Coast braided rivers have been like this since "Zealandia"was formed many moons ago.

                All of the South Island's braided rivers are from the constant erosion, tectonic movements and climate on both sides of the Alps, as pointed out by Graeme above. If there was no erosion in the Alps when "Zealandia" was form all those yrs ago the Southern Alps would make the todays Himalaya's look like the current Southern Alps. aka Mt Cook would be the highest Mt in the world along with the all the other major peaks in the Southern Alps.

                Get your hands on these two books (these two were close to hand and god only knows where the other 3 or 5 atm)

                Zealandia "Our Continent Revealed"

                In Search of Ancient New Zealand

                Some bloody good reading in these two books. I've stomp, riding horses or driven over/ around about 75% Sth Island in my NZ Army Cav days and I always amaze at the changing landscape of the Sth Island that has happen over time. Heck there are parts Waiberria that are even just as amazing if you know what to look for.

            • pat

              Yes there are and the Rangitata itself passes through Peel Forest….the flow however was still 20 -30 times mean.

        • pat

          not quite as straightforward as that….the plains are alluvial and although tree planting alongside riversides, even for considerable distance from the (current) path of the braided rivers when you get large flows as have occurred the past few days (and largely without local rain) the river simply scours out the trees and carries them down stream along with the thin topsoils.

          The current flood ran 20 -30 times mean flow, when you have that much water it isnt going to be contained and in some ways flooded paddocks are easier to deal with and less damaging than masses of debris swept along by the floodwaters.

          The main thing I think this latest event has highlighted is the impact of the increased frequency of these events and our vulnerability to the disruption and resources that need to be increasingly applied to rebuilding.

          As some spokesperson on the West Coast stated this morning this is another and worse hit to their community after only recently reinstating the Waiho river bridge

          • weka

            why would being alluvial mean that a forest would be washed away? One the other side of the divide trees literally grow on rocks and yet those forests withstand high river flows. They are resilient. Afaik the coast has alluvial soils as well in places. Again, resilient.

            The issues for WC settlements come from poor design. Although designing in that climate and landscape is only going to get harder with CC driving more frequent extreme weather events.

            My point here is that we can design around that much better than we are currently. See the Lawton's farm in that flooding post.

            • pat

              because there is nothing for the trees to anchor in…think about what happens to say a pile of shingle when you direct a jet of water at it…the size of a 'forest' makes no difference to the trees at the edges in contact with that flow. There are many many good reasons to plant trees but for the reasons i have already stated this isnt one of them.

              • weka

                Native forests routinely reforest over shingle/scree, even on slope, in high rainfall, and along water courses.

                • pat

                  Yes the do and so do exotics…eventually. That would not stop the bridge closures in Canterbury however

                  • weka

                    I'm not that concerned with bridge closures here. I’m talking about sustainable land management (in the context of CC).

                  • weka

                    Native systems regenerate remarkably fast. But if we want fast in a denuded landscape then species like willow are probably a better bet. Not much will deter the mighty willow. Willows provide habitat for fish species and keep rivers cooler during summer. These are critical functions in a climate future.

                    My thinking here is that we could retire riverside farmland and reforest it for multiple benefits.

                    • pat

                      Think you completely misunderstand the nature of braided rivers

                    • weka []

                      What am I missing?

                    • pat

                      the large braided rivers in Canterbury are largely fed from alpine catchment in the southern alps and flow through gorges in the foot hills till they reach the flat land of the plains….the soils in those plains is essentially a thin covering of topsoil sitting on shingle.

                      When the floods occur the water collected and contained within those gorges spreads out and carries debris from the catchment area….there is no way to contain it as the land is flat and as noted unstable so the top soil and flora is carried in the flood waters and the land scoured and new channels formed….that means there is no fixed bank but a large flat area that from time time will be part of the river and at other times not….if enough time passes between floods or the channels move enough the vegetation will regrow…until the next flood.

                      We can plant trees for kilometres either side of the river in the foothills and on the plains and it will not prevent the loss of topsoil flowing out to sea nor will it contain the rivers path when it is in flood (the slip video demonstrates that) …nor will it prevent the infrastructure damage which you are unconcerned about (but many are)…Planting up to braided rivers is a positive I believe as a filtration barrier and for biodiversity reasons (not to mention carbon sequestration) but given the topography and geology will do little for the impacts of flood events…and due to CC those events are likely to occur with increasing frequency and intensity.

                      That is the problem

            • Poission

              The issues for WC settlements come from poor design. Although designing in that climate and landscape is only going to get harder with CC driving more frequent extreme weather events.

              The present weather system is an analogue of the effects of the montreal protocol.ie a return shift of the weather systems northward during prolonged negative SAM.



              The sign of the system is inverse to GHG forcing,this is well understood in the scientific literature.

  4. greywarshark 4

    How to hold onto flood water and prevent erosion and lessen drought effects. I have broken up a bunch of links which will be helpful to anyone wanting to find out what is being done elsewhere.

    Slowing flood waters with leaky weirs etc. These landowners did it and were threatened by NSW authorities with large fine in 2015. It will be good if thinking people can take action before the land is devastated by the weather events of climate change.

    Weeds and trees together:

    Slowing flood flow – UK:

    UK Natural Flood Management research and evaluation: Pickering Beck and River Seven catchment in North Yorkshire

    Calderdale, Yorkshire project:

    University of Leeds link showing practice:

    Europe Small water retention measures as part of large scheme:

    The Dutch must know much: Water retention in the catchment area.


  5. greywarshark 5

    I am sorry that I have spooked the system. I have prepared a long comment that had lots of links so I split it in two. I had one up successfully, added another two links which were I think within the number OK and I think that went through and got up on the comments listings.

    Then I opened a second window after clicking on the reply button of the first and put the rest of the links which were the OK number there. But both seem to have vanished.

    I have kept a copy of what I did. So I can put them up again in a better way if I have gone wrong.

    • Incognito 5.1

      The problem was, as usual, too many links.

      Another Moderator has released your comment from Pre-Moderation.

      I believe you’d like to build some kind of archive thus the many links make some kind of sense. However, in general it is highly questionable whether anybody will bother to click through all those links and read them in full. In other words, it seems overreach and off-putting. IMO, you’ll get more traction with one or two links supported with a good reason as to why people should read them. Less is more.

      • weka 5.1.1


      • greywarshark 5.1.2

        Yes incognito and weka. There are however no short, simple solutions for us all. I don't have much trust in the authorities and government to do what they should about anything. and as far as I can see it is only when the public push for something and know what they are talking about that we will achieve anything.

        It is true it could be that few will bother to click through those links and read them, but if the right person does and follows that up then it will have been worthwhile. I don't expect a leisurely chat, or even a bracing argument about whether I am right or not. If people who come here are motivated to do something and not just go into flaps about how terrible things are, then I have given them the ammunition. The purpose of having this post should be a meeting of minds and useful information and the learnings that come; it can't be a talkfest for people with nothing better to do when now is a battle for survival of plants, animals, people. Now there must be a wake-up call for those who want to be roused.

        And I thought that up to 10 links in a comment was okay. If so, it is probably that I caused problems mucking round with two windows to TS open at the same time. It is quite a job finding the informative useful links. Maybe some functionary for central or local government or some academic looking for a PhD might use them.

        If I seem OTT, it is the result of living in a world that says one thing and does another. That plays roulette with our lives and pretends that reality is fantasy, and proves it on supposed reality shows, which people watch with the addiction and intensity that the audience in The Truman Show watched Jim Carrey's character. To read an item through from the start to the end could be a test to see if a person is made of The Right Stuff to have a place in the lifeboat and steer the good way in tomorrow's world.

  6. weka 6

    • greywarshark 6.1

      That is a very good outcome in these harsh circumstances. All the best for the fire battlers in Australia.

  7. greywarshark 7

    I wonder who here have read the last of Maurice Gee's Plumb trilogy – Sole Survivor. It is a strong read. Everyone seems to be searching for their own secure place to be as adults, the relative freedom and simplicity of Golden Bay; sexual freedom, experimentation and prudery are strange bedfellows, then there is belief in astral travel of the new age, the dogged pursuance of a goal by his cousin Duggie Plumb sounding very much as one would imagine Muldoon was; political skulduggery where a closet queer who is an academic is outed etc.

    Wow deeply disturbing, and our hero R. Sole seems named to receive kicks from everyone and yet heroically comes through after a time of relatively peaceful tranquility, and sets off to pursue the everyday life of a hero, a journalist who tries to find and present as much truth as the occasion will stand.

  8. weka 8

    Very cool.

  9. Jenny How to get there 9

    Just watched the first episode of Chernobyl on Prime.

    Must say the denial was epic.

    Especially from the leadership.

    Reminds me of the climate crisis

  10. Jenny How to get there 10

    How not to get there

    World doomed to 3C temperature rise if everyone copied New Zealand

    "The Zero Carbon Act does not introduce any policies to actually cut emissions but rather sets a framework,"


    • Jenny How to get there 10.1

      The politicians climate change dilemma in a nutshell.

      “They mustn't, but they must.”

      They must fight climate change.

      They mustn't fight climate change


      I can smell the CO2 on your breath

      Defending New Zealand's nuclear free legislation against a proponent of nuclear weapons, David Lange said "I can smell the uranium on your breath"

      Referencing New Zealander's past campaign against nuclear weapons, Jacinder Ardern Said, "climate change is our nuclear free moment."

      Under John Key's administration, John Key's said that New Zealand should be a "fast follower".

      Currently, New Zealand is not even a "fast follower".

      When it comes to climate change New Zealand is a leader. But if everyone followed our lead…..

      Climate Change

      World doomed to 3C temperature rise if everyone copied New Zealand

      “The Zero Carbon Act does not introduce any policies to actually cut emissions but rather sets a framework,”


      The Zero Carbon legislation – They must but they mustn’t writ large

  11. Jenny How to get there 11

    The point about exceeding three degrees, is that above this level the irreversible feed backs kick in, resulting in a runaway effect with no predictable upper limit.

    Where the 'Climate Realists' get it wrong:

    ……One example is a famous climate model developed by NASA researcher James Hansen, whose congressional testimony on climate change in the 1980s helped catapult the issue into the public spotlight. Hansen’s 1988 model ultimately predicted about 50% more warming for the coming decades than actually occurred, giving fodder to skeptics’ arguments that scientists were exaggerating the issue of global warming…..

    ……But the new study suggests that the broad-brush conclusions drawn by models about global warming have been largely accurate for decades. And that means there’s high confidence that newer, improved models are also getting the basics right.

    “They haven’t been overestimating warming, but at the same time it isn’t warming faster than we thought,” Hausfather said. “It’s pretty much warming just as we thought it would.”


    Be afraid, be very afraid.

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  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
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  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
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  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
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    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
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  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
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  • Boost for Pacific regional business
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  • PM Ardern call with President Biden
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    2 weeks ago
  • Renewed partnership creates jobs for New Zealand youth
    The Government has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, strengthening the partnership to get more young people into work.  The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is a nationwide network of all Mayors in New Zealand, who are committed to making sure all young ...
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  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
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  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
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  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
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  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
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  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
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  • Hydrogen arrangement signed with Singapore
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  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
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    2 weeks ago
  • Hundreds more hands funded to work for nature
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