Sunday, 25 March 2007

Aurora from satellite

Here is a satellite image of the recent aurora over the southern hemisphere. Apparently, it will be active and visible (barring cloudy skies) through to March 30th. (Click the image to enlarge)

Aurora australis

Did anyone see the aurora australis last night? I saw it around 9:30pm as I was driving towards Riverton. It was the first one I'd ever seen and it was really impressive -- lots of greens and blues. It took up nearly 180 degrees of the horizon so it was a very big display.

If you have a photo of it, please send it to me so I can post it on the blog. Also, please send your comments about auroras -- how many you've seen, what they were like.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Alex McKenzie Arboretum 2

A recent article in the Southland Times ( ) detailed some of the history of the Alex McKenzie Arboretum. Since I am learning more and more about Southland history, I thought I'd reprint an excerpt from this article in case the article is eventually taken offline.

The property was originally owned by the McKenzie family and it was compulsorily acquired by the Government during World War 2 and served as a linen flax processing site.

The property passed to the New Zealand Forest Service in the late 1940s.

The site was the centre of the Forest Service operations for the Western District from the 1950s until 1987.

During this time, an arboretum was established, with trees dating back to 1952.

The Forest Service was disestablished in the late 1980s and Rayonier New Zealand bought the management and cutting rights to the property in 1990.

In 2003 Southland District Council negotiated the purchase of the land from Rayonier. Since then, a management regime had been debated.

In addition to the arboretum, there is a picnic area, toilet block, network of bridges and a circular walkway.

A Southland District Council report from last year says little maintenance of the block has been done in the past 25 years and work is needed to eliminate weeds, restore tracks and replace broken or missing plaques at the base of some of the trees.

However, the report also notes that it has the potential to become a quality park of significance to the whole region.

The trustee members elected were: Mike Whale (chairman), Dave Frew, Simon Stopford, Vic Keen, Jesse Bythell (secretary) and Sandra McKenzie, with the Wallace Community Board representative yet to be confirmed.

Monday, 12 March 2007


This bug was on the Main Street sidewalk today. Do you know what kind of bug it is? Post your comment.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Alex McKenzie Arboretum 1

On 5 Mar, a meeting was held at the Southland District Council office to form a charitable trust for the Alex McKenzie Arboretum. Members from the Wallace County Community Board, Environment Southland, and several other interested groups and residents were present. Seven people were voted onto the trust and met immediately after the meeting to discuss terms and purposes.

Recently the council undertook willow control and have cleared an area of several willow trees. This area may be suitable for wetland restoration.

Groups such as the Scouts and the local primary school are keen to see the arboretum develop into an educational resource as well.

It was suggested that meetings of the trust will be open to the community so that all will have the opportunity to participate. If you are interested in being on a mailing list, you may want to let the SDC know.

Election 2017

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