Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the Predator Free 2050 project is making good progress on the first anniversary of its announcement at Zealandia in Wellington.
“Today marks one year since the Government committed to our ambitious, world-leading plan to eradicate possums, rats and stoats from New Zealand by 2050,” Ms Barry says.
The Minister returned to Zealandia today to show British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson what New Zealand used to look and sound like before the arrival of introduced vermin.
“The Foreign Secretary congratulated New Zealand on our ‘campaign of slaughter’ and said many people did not grasp the threat to our birds, insects and reptiles posed by introduced mammals.
“Predator Free 2050 is the most important conservation project in the history of our country – one which will secure our native species from the threat of extinction and safeguard them for future generations.
“Over the last year we’ve seen tremendous enthusiasm and support for the goal. More and more communities are signing up to work with DOC on predator control and we’ve built a national movement dedicated to achieving our objective – one which is receiving international interest.”
Predator Free 2050 Ltd, which will direct $28 million initial funding into large-scale landscape predator control projects and scientific research, is up and running with an announcement on the first project it will support expected by the end of the year. It has a draft science strategy to develop the tools and technology needed for the task ahead.
DOC has set up a team of nine Predator Free Community Rangers, backed with a contestable fund of $300,000. Their job is to use their expertise and skills to help communities scale up efforts, commit people to the cause and coordinate plans.
“The community rangers can help plan trapping strategies, set up trap libraries and ensure we’re getting the most out of everyone’s time and effort,” Ms Barry says.
A Predator Free 2050 online community toolkit will be launched in the coming weeks.
In addition, three multi-year research projects have received $1.24m support from the first round of the DOC-managed Tools to Market fund, which helps develop promising predator control science into operational tools.
DOC has also started work on plans to eradicate pigs and other invasive species from the Auckland Islands in the Subantarctic.
“This is just the start of a long road, but if we work together we can achieve something once thought impossible. The Government backs New Zealanders to do it.”
Four interim goals have been set for the project by 2025:An additional 1 million hectares of land where pests have been supressed or removed through Predator Free New Zealand partnerships Development of a scientific breakthrough capable of removing at least one small mammalian predator from New Zealand entirely Demonstrate areas of more than 20,000 hectares can be predator free without the use of fences Complete removal of all introduced predators from offshore island nature reserves
Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry has welcomed the commitment to protecting older people shown at the first Elder Abuse Response Service provider’s forum.
“Over 2000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year but the majority goes unreported. It’s believed up to 10 per cent of seniors experience some form of abuse and three quarters is carried out by family members,” Ms Barry says.
“On July 1 the Government launched EARS, a new approach to how we intervene and respond to elder abuse cases across the country, with a free and confidential 24/7 help-line, 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK) as its cornerstone.”
Representatives from the 18 groups delivering the EARS met in Wellington yesterday. It was a chance to share experiences, compare approaches and see how their service connects with the nationwide network protecting older people.
“I was encouraged by the level of understanding and dedication shown by the providers. They are building services focused on the needs of their particular communities and areas – culturally appropriate, responsive and empathetic.”
The Government has committed $2.9m a year to EARS, up from $1.7m under the previous model.
“EARS is designed for real action on elder abuse, getting older people the help they need, quickly, effectively and safely. I have no doubt the providers are well placed to deliver that service.”
For more information on EARS visit http://superseniors.msd.govt.nz/.
Education Minister Nikki Kaye and the Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have announced the winning students who will be flying to Belgium to attend the 100th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Passchendaele.
The students impressed the judges with their digital creations designed to teach younger students about this important event in New Zealand’s history.
“All the students should be extremely proud of what they’ve produced,” says Ms Kaye.
“The feedback from the judges was outstanding, with one reporting that the entries reduced him to tears with the students’ understanding of what they had learnt from Passchendaele.”
The winning entries came from St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, St Margaret’s College in Christchurch and Rotorua Girls’ High School. The students created websites encompassing a range of digital resources including an interactive map of the battlefield, social media profiles and provocative questions.
“This competition is a great example of how digital technologies can help inspire our students to learn about different areas of curriculum.
“What these students have produced gives us a glimpse of what they are capable of and gives me real confidence that young New Zealanders are well on track to be successful in this fast-evolving digital world.”
The competition, to raise awareness of the Battle through digital technologies asked entrants to develop a curriculum resource to be used for Year 7 to 10 students in the future.
“It is important for us to learn from the past and through this opportunity the students will be able to share what they’ve learned with others,” says Ms Barry.
This competition has been an amazing opportunity for them to learn more about the Battle of Passchendaele and reflect on the sacrifices made by our ancestors.”
The competition was launched by the Ministry of Education in May, in partnership with the sponsors, Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society.
“Students were asked to think about ways to use digital technologies to connect historical events with our modern digital world to enrich student learning,” says Ms Kaye.
“It was great to see students thinking creatively to find innovative ways to incorporate the various technologies now available to them, to tell the story of the Battle to fellow students and to a wider global audience.
“I look forward to seeing more of this way of working once the Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko is incorporated into The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa from 2018.”
The winners will travel to Belgium on 7 October 2017 to attend the National Commemoration Service at the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke in West Flanders.
“Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world,” says Ms Barry.
“It is also the final resting place of 520 New Zealanders and a memorial to those missing in battle. They will also attend the New Zealand Memorial and Garden Opening on 12 October 2017. I planted a flax to begin construction of the garden in September 2015.”
As well as the commemoration, the students will visit the Passchendaele Battlefields and surrounding areas and the Flanders Fields Museum, and will visit Paris and Amsterdam, where they will visit Anne Frank house before returning to New Zealand
“This will be the trip of a lifetime for the students,” says Ms Barry.
“It will be an invaluable educational experience as they retrace the steps of those who fought in WW1 in Passchendaele and Flanders Field.”
Further details of the winning entries:
Rotorua Girls’ High School, Rotorua
Alyssa Mae Pineda, Kayla Kautai, Mairaatea Mohi, Atawhai Ngatai and Keighley Jones
The students created a scrolling menu of pages on their website called The Missed that detailed different aspects of the battle, a quiz to test learning and material in te reo Maori. The website impressed the judges because it enables students to think critically about the Battle of Passchendaele.
St Margaret’s College, Christchurch
The judges were impressed with the digital map that navigated users through this website. It provided a coordinated story of the Battle of Passchendaele with provocative questions, a brilliant German photo album and some great quotes providing a New Zealand context.
St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton
Dylan Woodhouse, Tony Wu, Lucy Tustin and Conor Horrigan
The students created a website called Blood and Mud which had interactive activities and strong links to the curriculum. The judges were impressed by the use of social media, community engagement and provocative questions. They applauded the website’s ability to address diversity, connect the past with present and encourage students in Years 7 to 10 to engage and do their own research. It had the standout “wow factor”.
The Department of Conservation is progressing plans to eradicate introduced predators on the Auckland Islands in the Subantarctic, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
A specialist team has been established to develop a feasibility study for the total eradication of pigs, cats and mice from 50,000 hectare Auckland Island, the largest in the Subantarctic, which lies 465km south of Bluff.
“A successful eradication would be a significant contribution to meeting our Predator Free 2050 target of wiping out predators on our offshore island nature reserves by 2025,” Ms Barry says.
“This will require careful and thorough planning, and will not be done in a day or even a year. The logistical difficulties of operating in the Subantarctic cannot be underestimated. It is an extreme environment, at the utmost edge of New Zealand’s territory.
“That said, if anyone can do it, DOC can – New Zealand is justifiably recognised as a world leader in successfully eradicated predators from offshore islands. Stephen Horn, the team leader for this effort, project managed the recent successful Million Dollar Mouse eradication on Antipodes Island, also in the Subantarctic.”
Pigs, cats and mice were introduced to Auckland Island in the early 19th century. These pests are responsible for decimating many species of bird on the island and continue to prey on chicks from species such as the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.
“Visiting the Auckland Islands in February, I saw first-hand the damage pigs have done to the foliage and habitat for sea lions as well as bird species like penguins and albatross,” Ms Barry says.
“Feral pigs have wiped out the flightless teal, snipe and rail, as well as all the burrowing seabirds. They have devastated the vegetation, megaherb fields and insect life, and they continue to harm the yellow-eyed penguin population.
“The feasibility study will give us a clear set of future options as we look to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site for future generations.”
DOC intends to publish the feasibility study in February next year.
For more information on the Auckland Island eradication project visit http://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/eradicating-pigs-and-cats-on-the-auckland-islands/
A new purpose-built heritage centre on Stewart Island will receive more than $1 million in Government funding, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced in Oban today.
“I’m very pleased to announce the Government is committing $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust to build a modern fit-for-purpose facility through the Regional Culture & Heritage Fund,” Ms Barry says.
“The Trust has done a sterling job bringing together its community, local sponsors and business people to achieve a project which will enhance this very special place for generations to come.”
“Rakiura has a rich and fascinating story to tell, but the current museum was simply too small for an increasingly large and valuable collection. It’s time Stewart Island had an appropriate facility for islanders and visitors to enjoy.”
“The new building will allow up to half of the collection to be displayed, and for the rest to be stored safely and securely. It’s also an environmentally-friendly design which incorporates solar power generation and water collection.
“For such a small community, Rakiura has done well to achieve their goals and leverage funds towards the project, and I am pleased today’s Government commitment covers the full remaining shortfall for the building’s construction phase.
“I would like to acknowledge the strong role of local MP Sarah Dowie, who has been a committed advocate for the project and for Stewart Island, and also the generosity of the New Zealand Fire Service, which has made land available at a peppercorn rental for 100 years.”
The Government’s contribution to the $3.609 million centre is conditional on the project securing resource consent by 20 December 2017. A decision on the resource consent application is due in the next few weeks.
Today’s announcement is the fifth of this year’s RCHF commitments. More will follow in the coming weeks.
Further information about the RCHF can be found at: www.mch.govt.nz/RegionalCultureHeritageFund
The ASB Theatre Complex in Blenheim will receive additional Government funding of $900,000, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced.
“I am pleased to announce the Government will commit $900,000 to the project through the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund,” Ms Barry says.
“The ASB Theatre has the potential to be a real asset for Blenheim and has already drawn praise from performers and audiences alike.”
Construction of the theatre received a $1 million Government grant in 2016 and its main 700-seat auditorium is already open. The new RCHF grant will complete fit-out of the smaller 200-seat Anderson Studio Theatre.
“The studio theatre will be a sought-after venue for local productions and smaller touring performances. It will also be used by larger touring ensembles such as the NZSO and the Royal New Zealand Ballet,” Ms Barry says.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of local MP Stuart Smith on behalf of the theatre. His advocacy was instrumental in getting the project across the line.”
Completion of the studio theatre is the final stage of the Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust’s $25.35 million project, with the majority of funding coming from local council, community and philanthropic sources.
Further information about the RCHF can be found at: www.mch.govt.nz/RegionalCultureHeritageFund
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry say two cultural exchanges between New Zealand and Korea this year will have cultural and economic benefits for both countries.
“Rotorua’s Te Arawa Cultural Group will perform in front hundreds of thousands of people at two festivals in Korea this month, and later in the year Korean cultural performers will take the stage at the city’s first Mudtopia Festival,” Ms Barry says.
“Mudtopia is set to showcase the Rotorua district’s Māori culture, geothermal landscape and spa industry and is being supported with $1.5 million over five years from the Government’s Major Events Development fund.”
The 15-member Te Arawa group will perform at the Boryeong Mud Festival’s 20th anniversary celebrations on 21 and 22 July and at the Hadong Seomjin River Festival on 23 July.
“Earlier this year at Te Matatini I met Professor Gang Hoan Jeong, who founded the Boryeong Mud Festival 20 years ago. Professor Jeong is currently on sabbatical here and is working with the Rotorua Lakes Council on the development of the new Mudtopia event in December.”
“The Te Arawa group is travelling to Korea by invitation of the Boryeong and Hadong City Governments, with $44,000 support from New Zealand’s Cultural Diplomacy International Programme as well as from the International Festival and Events Association Korea Branch (IFEA),” Ms Barry said.
The top two most contaminated sites in New Zealand have been successfully remediated, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said today.
“The Prohibition and Alexander mines on the West Coast topped a list of the most contaminated sites in New Zealand,” Dr Smith says.
“They have been cleaned up during the past 18 months in projects jointly funded by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund. The two projects cost $3.6 million to complete.
“The Prohibition and Alexander mine sites were acutely toxic and a blight on New Zealand’s clean, green reputation. Their levels of arsenic were among the highest recorded anywhere in the world at 400,000 parts per million on land, or 500 times the safe level, and in water at 300 parts per million, or 33,000 times the safe limit for drinking water.
“The Prohibition mine site was contaminated from the operation of a roasting plant from 1935 to 1951, when arsenic bearing ore was roasted to release gold. The sites also have high levels of mercury and cyanide. The mining company has long gone and DOC inherited the site in 1987,” Ms Barry says.
“The Alexander processing plant that produced the high levels of arsenic operated between 1934 and 1936. The mine closed in 1943.
“These contaminated sites were the legacy of inadequate oversight and requirements of previous mining activities on the West Coast. We need to repair the environmental damage and clean up this site, but also ensure that we properly regulate mining activities today so as not to create more problems of this sort in the future,” Dr Smith concluded.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has paid tribute to the legacy of master carver Cliff Whiting, who has passed away at the age of 81.
“Cliff Whiting was an exceptional New Zealander, a master carver who helped develop a new era of Maori arts, and a leader in the early days of Te Papa, our national museum,” Ms Barry says.
“His works, such as Te Marae at Te Papa, are widely recognised as masterpieces of contemporary Maori carving, fusing together modern artistic sensibility with a deep understanding and respect for the past.”
Mr Whiting’s contribution to the arts was recognised in 1998, when he became one of only 20 members of the Order of New Zealand.
As Kaihautu of Te Papa from 1995, he helped to cement bicultural processes based on the Treaty of Waitangi, working closely with Te Papa staff and including local iwi in decision making.
Mr Whiting was also a founding Member and former Chairman of the Council for Maori and South Pacific Arts (now known as Te Waka Toi) and a Member and Deputy Chair of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. He was a Member of the Maori Advisory Board for the Historic Places Trust of New Zealand for more than 15 years, advocating for conservation work on marae around New Zealand.
The Government is contributing up to $3.2 million to help grow the West Coast visitor economy, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today.
“Growing the West Coast visitor economy is a priority of the action plan. The region has significant potential to increase the appeal of its natural and heritage assets, adventure-based attractions, and cycling and walking trails,” says Mrs Bennett.
“The Government wants to see our regions benefitting from tourism growth, but this funding is also about supporting the West Coast to respond to demand with quality facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Bridges says that while the West Coast is experiencing strong growth in international visitor numbers, growth in the domestic market could be stronger and more consistent.
“Challenges in growing the visitor economy include its distance from visitor markets, limited visitor awareness of the range of attractions, a high level of seasonality, infrastructure pressures, difficulty extracting value from many attractions, and a fragmented approach to promoting and developing tourism in the region,” says Mr Bridges.
The Action Plan has identified nine initiatives to support growth of the visitor economy.
“Four initiatives focus on developing and future proofing iconic visitor attractions. The objective is to extend visitors’ length of stay on the West Coast by improving the experience at less popular attractions, while also improving infrastructure at two established attractions – Punakaiki and Franz Josef,” says Ms Barry.
Government funding for the proposed initiatives is as follows:$90,000 for the development of the Oparara Arches near Karamea as an iconic attraction $850,000 for the extension of the Hokitika Gorge walking track and associated amenities, alongside safety improvements to the access road $1.8 million to future proof Punakaiki visitor and heritage infrastructure $225,000 to investigate future proofing Franz Josef infrastructure against flooding and earthquakes $40,000 toward a feasibility study for the upgrade of Croesus Road near Blackball for access to the Pike 29 Trail, which is part of the Paparoa Track Great Walk $50,000 toward a feasibility study for a Kawatiri (Charleston to Westport) Coastal Walking and Cycling Trail The Tai Poutini Māori Tourism Strategy and Action Plan – with $70,000 funding from Te Puni Kokiri subject to meeting the conditions of contestable funding.
Ms Barry added that it is particularly pleasing to note that Development West Coast is contributing a total of $150,000 to the funding of the Oparara, Kawatiri and Croesus Road initiatives.