Ten senior students will get the opportunity to join the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium later this year, as part of a competition for schools and kura, Education Minister Nikki Kaye and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry announced today.
“The national competition, for senior students aged 16 to 19, has been organised by the Ministry of Education with partners and sponsors the Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society,” says Ms Kaye.
“Entrants are asked to use digital technology to produce a curriculum resource for year 7 to 10 students about the Battle of Passchendaele.
“The winners will attend the National Commemoration Service on 12 October 2017, at the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke in West Flanders.
“This is an amazing opportunity for senior students to learn more about the Battle of Passchendaele, and to share their insights with younger students through the curriculum resources they develop.
“The competition is also a great example of the innovative ways that digital technologies are being used to transform teaching and learning in our classrooms.”
Ms Barry says the Battle of Passchendaele left a deep scar on our country, and is a significant part of our history.
“The battle saw one of our darkest days as a nation, with 846 of our soldiers losing their lives on 12 October 1917.
“It’s important we continue to commemorate all those who fought for our freedom and peace, and we provide opportunities for our young people to reflect on and honour their sacrifice.
“This will be the trip of a lifetime for the 10 winners, who will get the opportunity as I did two years ago to stand on the battlefield, visit the war cemeteries and understand the sacrifices made by their forebears.”
The competition runs from 8 May to 2 July 2017. Winners will be announced on 24 July 2017.
“This is a fantastic educational opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the innovative and creative resources that are developed as part of the competition,” says Ms Kaye.
More information is available on the Ministry of Education’s website at http://www.education.govt.nz/passchendaele
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced a $40,000 cash contribution along with DOC planting and landscaping to upgrade the site of the Tangiwai Memorial in the central North Island.
Ms Barry today took part in the unveiling of a new memorial yesterday to mark the courage and sacrifice of train driver Charles Parker and fireman Lance Redman who helped save the lives of 134 people when the Wellington to Auckland night express plunged in to the swollen Whangaehu River on Christmas Eve 1953.
“Often the very worst of circumstances bring out the very best in New Zealanders. Tangiwai proved that in times of tragedy the courage of kiwis rises to meet the challenge,” Ms Barry says.
“As the bridge began to collapse Charles Parker and Lance Redman applied the emergency brake and sanded the tracks for 200 meters to help the entire train to brake faster, preventing the last three passenger carriages, guards van and postal van, from falling into the river.”
“134 people survived but 151 died in the tragedy that shook New Zealand to its core. With a population at the time of just over two million most people knew someone involved, bringing it very close to home.”
“The government built a national memorial in Wellington and there are other monuments at the site and I’m pleased Tangiwai Memorial Park is now receiving the care and attention befitting a place of such deep significance,” Ms Barry says.
“As well as the $40,000 from the Ministry for Arts, Culture and Heritage, DOC has worked on the new walking track and viewing area, and will continue to provide help with the landscape design and interpretation panels.”
“I applaud the Ruapehu Lion’s Club, which initiated the project to enhance this site and has carried out a lot of the work and thank the Ruapehu District Council; Ngati Rangi; and all the sponsors supporting the project.”
“That Government is able to assist with funding, tools, plants and labour-force is a mark of the importance of the Tangiwai site for all New Zealanders. The care being taken of this site, and the memorials within it, will ensure New Zealanders will never forget the place of Tangiwai in our nation’s history,” Ms Barry says.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say wilding pines control work has nearly reached its first year target of a million hectares.
“20 per cent of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn't stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand and until now have been spreading at about 5 per cent a year,” Mr Guy says.
“The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme was put in place in 2016 to prevent their spread and systematically remove them from much of the land already taken over.”
Ms Barry says wildings compete with native plants and animals for sunlight and water and can severely alter natural landscapes.
“The control programme is to protect our conservation land, iconic landscapes, tourist routes, high country farming heritage and sensitive water catchments from these invaders,” Ms Barry says.
“Last year the Government committed an additional $16 million to wilding control over the next four years and that’s on top of an $11 million already spent each year.”
“Control work has involved targeted aerial spraying of individual trees in remote areas where there is light wilding infestation, and ground control in more heavily infested areas. The programme this year covers 14 initial priority areas, including extensive areas of conservation land and farmland in Central North Island, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.”
Minister Guy says wilding conifer are incredibly hard to get rid of once they become established.
“Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings before they start producing seeds costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost over $10,000 per hectare.”
Minister Barry says wildings are public enemy number one in the War on Weeds and top the Dirty Dozen 2017 list.
“The Department of Conservation’s Community Fund has financed a number of community groups, trusts and organisations to carry out wilding conifer control ion work in 2016/17, complementing the work of the national control programme by reducing wilding conifer spread in low density areas.”
The Wilding Conifer Control Programme has already started preliminary planning for 2017/18 control operations.
The Programme is being implemented by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, and Land Information New Zealand in partnership with other central government agencies, iwi groups, local government, forestry and farming industries, landowners, researchers and community trusts and organisations.
Entries to the 27th annual Green Ribbon Awards are set to close next Wednesday and all unsung environment and conservation heroes are being encouraged to step forward.
“We’ve had some fantastic entries so far. It’s inspiring to hear so many exceptional stories of environment and conservation initiatives being undertaken across the country,” Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
The Green Ribbon Awards are held annually to recognise outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage the environment.
The categories cover biodiversity, resilience to climate change, waste minimisation, caring for fresh water, coastal and ocean protection, leadership, philanthropy and partnerships, and there is a Supreme Winner category.
“Last year our supreme winner was Te Whangai Trust. Every year they provide half a million eco-sourced native plants and more than 156,000 volunteer hours. They have made a significant difference in the Waikato region, restoring ecosystems, wildlife corridors and waterways’” Ms Barry says.
“We will also be awarding the prestigious Loder Cup for outstanding contributions to the protection of our unique flora and fauna. Previous winners reflect a who's who of New Zealand conservation and include the first recipients Duncan and Davies and Dr Gerry McSweeny.”
“These awards celebrate effort and excellence and inspire others. If you’re making a difference to New Zealand’s natural assets, plants and wildlife, I’d encourage you to put yourself forward and enter the Green Ribbons. We’d love to hear from you,” Ms Barry says.
All finalists will be invited to an awards night banquet at Parliament.
The Green Ribbon Awards close on Wednesday 10 May. To enter the awards, visit www.greenribbonawards.org.nz.
A biosecurity response is underway after the detection of myrtle rust on mainland New Zealand for the first time, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced today.
Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which can seriously damage various species of native and introduced plants in the myrtle family, including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, gum, bottlebrush and feijoa.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was notified on Tuesday evening by a nursery in Kerikeri that five pohutakawa seedlings had suspected myrtle rust, and laboratory testing has now confirmed this,” says Mr Guy.
“MPI has moved quickly and initiated a Restricted Place notice to restrict the movement of any plants and people at the site, and is treating nursery stock with fungicide spray as a precaution. Work is also underway to trace any stock that has left the nursery and all other nurseries in Kerikeri are being inspected today.
“The disease is prevalent in eastern Australia and Tasmania, and was discovered on Raoul Island in late March this year.
“Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind. Officials believe that wind was the likely pathway of incursion into Raoul Island, and it’s likely that wind has carried spores to mainland New Zealand from Australia.”
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the incursion could have serious consequences for some native species.
“Myrtle rust generally attacks soft new leaf growth, and severe infestations can kill affected plants. This could include native species like the pohutakawa and the rata,” says Ms Barry.
In Australia, the fungus has had different levels of impact on myrtle species, with some more seriously affected than others.
“Myrtle rust has long been expected to arrive in New Zealand, and since the Australian outbreak began in 2010, the Government has worked on a range of measures to help manage and adapt to the fungus in the long term if necessary,” says Ms Barry.
“This includes accelerating work already underway to collect and store germplasm from affected species, searching for signs of resistant myrtle strains which could be incorporated into a breeding programme and monitoring at 800 locations across the country.”
“DOC will also be conducting inspections of our myrtle species on public conservation land in Northland for any early signs of the fungus.”
There is no known method of controlling the disease in the wild, apart from application of fungicide in very small areas as a last resort. Even if eradication is achieved, there is an ongoing risk of reinfection from Australia.
“It’s very disappointing that this fungal disease has appeared in New Zealand. However, I want to thank the staff and owner of Kerikeri Plant Production nursery for making such a prompt notification to MPI,” says Mr Guy.
Anyone believing they have seen myrtle rust on plants in New Zealand should call MPI on 0800 80 99 66. It is very important not to touch the plants or attempt to collect samples as this will spread the disease.
In particular, anyone who has purchased any plants from the myrtle family in the last month should check for physical signs and contact MPI if any are seen.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced the appointment of Michael Moynahan as the new chair of Creative New Zealand.
“Michael has a long association with literature throughout his 25 year career in publishing including as CEO of Harper Collins ANZ (Australia New Zealand and India), CEO of Random House India and Chair of Random House New Zealand. He also helped to develop the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival and was previously CNZ’s deputy chair’” Ms Barry says.
“I want to thank Dr Dick Grant for his three years of service as inaugural Chair of the new Creative New Zealand, established in 2014.”
Minister Barry also announced the appointment of a new member and the reappointment of three other members – one as Deputy Chair. The appointments all take effect from 1 May 2017.
Caren Rangi of Hawke’s Bay has been re-appointed as a board member and made deputy chair. She is an accountant and auditor, and a former member of the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand.
Suzanne Ellison of Ngāi Tahu is reappointed a member. She is a former member of the Māori Arts Board Te Waka Toi.
Michael Prentice of Christchurch is reappointed a member. He was a managing director for Designworks. He founded and chaired the trust board of contemporary dance company Black Grace.
The new member appointed is Garth Gallaway of Christchurch. He is a partner in Chapman Tripp and Chair of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Trustees.
Minister Barry also thanked outgoing member Rose Evans for her contribution.
Creative New Zealand, also known as the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, is the national agency for the development of the arts in New Zealand.
It encourages, promotes and supports the arts for the benefit of all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, an international programme and advocacy.
Michael Moynahan (new Chair) Michael Michael has a long association with literature and publishing throughout his 25-year career, including as CEO of Harper Collins ANZ (Australia New Zealand and India), CEO of Random House India and Chair of Random House New Zealand. He helped to develop the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival and is a former Chair of both the Publishers Association and the Booksellers Association of New Zealand. Michael is currently a consultant and company director and a Beachhead adviser for NZ Trade and Enterprise.
Caren Rangi (new Deputy Chair and reappointed member) Caren Rangi is a current member of the Arts Council. She is Cook Island Māori and a former member of the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand. Ms Rangi is an experienced public sector governance practitioner, with a passion for Cook Islands Māori dance, music and cultural history. She is a qualified accountant and auditor who owns and operates Ei Mua Consulting Ltd, providing consulting services in facilitation, strategic planning and training. Ms Rangi has also been a board member for NZ On Air (the Broadcasting Commission) and the Charities Registration Board. She has served as a trustee of the Eastern and Central Community Trust, and Pacific Homecare Services, and was a founding board member of the National Pacific Radio Trust.
Garth Gallaway (new member) Garth Gallaway of Christchurch is a lawyer and a partner in Chapman Tripp. He has extensive experience in civil litigation, insurance law, and health and safety defence work. He is also experienced in alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation. He is the Chair of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Trustees. He is a collector of New Zealand art, a trustee of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust, Chairman of the W. A. Sutton Charitable Trust and Honorary President of New Zealand Football. He was a member of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and a member of the Film and Literature Review Board.
Suzanne Ellison (reappointed member) Suzanne Ellison (Ngāi Tahu) has been an Arts Council member since 2014 and is a former member of Te Waka Toi (Māori Arts Board). Suzanne was a senior manager of Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation for a decade. She has also served on the boards of Well Dunedin PHO and the Ngāi Tahu Fund.
Michael Prentice (reappointed member) Michael Prentice of Christchurch is a current Arts Council member. Mr Prentice has been the Managing Director of the Christchurch office of strategic design consultancy Designworks. Previously he was Planning Director for Ogilvy New Zealand. He has extensive managerial and commercial skills and has developed the brand and advertising strategies of some of New Zealand's most recognised brands. He founded and chaired the trust board of contemporary dance company, Black Grace, and is a former director of Auckland’s performing arts facilities organisation, The Edge.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner have announced a major upgrade and extension to the trap network in Canterbury to protect the critically endangered orange-fronted parakeet.
“This bird is the rarest of our five parakeet species, with the population between 200 and 400, so we installed 500 self-resetting traps in Lake Sumner Forest Park last week as part of DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme,” Ms Barry says.
“We want rat and stoat numbers down to a level where the vulnerable hole-nesting parakeet can successfully breed and the population grow. Conservation measures like these will help us become Predator Free by 2050 and vastly improve the prospects for endangered species.”
“All up 1450 Goodnature traps, which reset up to 24 times before needing to be reloaded manually, and 1700 DOC-200 trap boxes will be added to the network, extending the trap line by 206 kilometres, at a cost of more than $860,000.”
The orange-fronted parakeet is found in only three valleys on mainland New Zealand — in part of the Lake Sumner Forest Park and the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Ms Wagner says 200 more traps will go into Hurunui next month and 570 into Poulter Valley around the same time. The DOC-200 traps will be installed in the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in the next 12 months.
“DOC is using this latest technology to bring the trap network up to best practice standards. The extended network will also bring us closer to our 2025 goal of an additional one million hectares of mainland New Zealand under predator control,” Ms Wagner says.
“Rolleston Prison offenders are building the boxes that hold the DOC-200 traps as part of DOC’s Good to Grow partnership with the Department of Corrections.”
DOC manages the risks to the parakeets by intensively monitoring predator numbers in all three valleys and undertaking pest control using a combination of traps and aerial 1080 when necessary.
The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust has a captive breeding programme for orange-fronted parakeets and in recent years DOC has been releasing captive-reared birds to supplement the wild mainland population.
‘Insurance’ populations of orange-fronted parakeets have been established on four predator-free islands: Chalky Island in Fiordland, Blumine and Maud islands in the Marlborough Sounds and Tūhua in the Western Bay of Plenty.
The history of the 28th Māori Battalion’s D Company will be documented by Harawira Craig Pearless, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have announced.
Ms Parata, who is also the Chair of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board, says the A, B, and D companies’ histories are being commissioned to complement Ngā Tama Toa, the C Company history published in 2008.
“When completed, these documents will mark a significant step towards further preserving the legacy of the 28th Māori Battalion. The histories project will also lead to the production of curriculum resources to be used in early childhood education centres, kōhanga reo, kura and schools.
“Whānau participation will be crucial to the project’s success, as they hold the stories, letters, photos and records that will breathe life and colour into the D Company history.
“I’m hoping that whānau will be keen to take part so we can ensure that the history is as rich and detailed as possible, revealing the significant contribution the Battalion’s men and their families made to this country,” Mrs Parata says.
Ms Barry says the history to be written by Mr Pearless will document D Company’s major battles, actions and engagements during World War II. It will also discuss the sacrifices made and commitment of the Hou Kainga (home people) in their support of the war effort and dealing with the loss of loved ones.
“The D Company history, alongside the histories of the other companies, will be highly valuable resources for veterans and their families, and provide historical and educational information for the wider New Zealand public. The histories will commemorate the Battalion’s service to Māoridom and the nation,” Ms Barry says.
The Ministries of Education and Arts, Culture and Heritage along with the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board are all partnering on this project to document the histories of A, B and D Companies of the 28th Māori Battalion.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says 11 of New Zealand’s rarest kiwi have been returned home to the Haast Kiwi Sanctuary today.
“These young tokoeka kiwi were removed from Haast before they hatched and taken to the West Coast Wildlife Centre. The young chicks were then moved to Orokonui Ecosanctuary or Willowbank Wildlife Sanctuary to learn to forage before being moved to Predator Free Rona Island,” Ms Barry says.
“Today’s home-coming is a milestone in the programme to increase tokoeka kiwi numbers from the low of 300 in the early 2000s to a population now of more than 400. Without protection from stoats, 95% of tokoeka chicks would be killed.”
“The community event today is the first opportunity many Haast residents would have had to view a kiwi since work to protect the endangered birds started.”
DOC rangers and researchers working with the tokoeka discovered it needs to weigh more than other kiwi chicks before it can be safely released into the wild.
“A tokoeka kiwi chick raised in captivity needs to weigh at least 1600g before it can fend off introduced predators. Other kiwi species can be released safely once they reach 1100 – 1200g. That’s why until recently placing the kiwi on predator free islands to breed was preferred for increasing the population”.
“One of the birds released today was named Ben by Haast Primary School students, who saw him as a 52 day old egg in September 2014, directly after he was removed from the sanctuary,” Ms Barry says.
The birds were welcomed back to Haast by DOC staff, Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio and the public in an event hosted by the Haast Heartland World Heritage Hotel.
They are being released into areas within the Haast Kiwi Sanctuary, and their progress will be monitored over the next year.
The Haast tokoeka kiwi and its relative, the Okarito rowi kiwi are New Zealand’s rarest kiwi species.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed the release of 36 North Island Robin onto Mount Taranaki today.
“The release heralds the return of a species not seen or heard on the Mounga for more than 110 years and is the first of many species to be reintroduced there,” Ms Barry says.
“Local schools and businesses have been farming mealworms to feed to the robin to encourage them to stay in the protected zone and it’s heartening to see the support the project is getting.”
“There’s also been great support from Ngati Rereahu at Pureora who provided the birds for relocation. Taranaki and Te Atiawa iwi will care for the robin to ensure they flourish in their new home.”
“The relocation wouldn’t have been possible without the large scale predator control work in the area. 1080 has cut predator numbers to very low levels in the release site and a network of 2,000 self-resetting traps will continue to keep rat numbers down.”
“It’s the largest deployment of Goodnature A24 rat traps in New Zealand and shows real commitment to Predator Free 2050,” Ms Barry says.
‘It’s a collaborative partnership between DOC, Taranaki iwi Chairs Forum and NEXT Foundation with founding sponsors Shell New Zealand, TSB Community Trust, Jasmine Social Investments and Landcare Research along with the support and advocacy of local MP Jonathan Young.”
“It’s the first step towards Taranaki Mounga delivering major ecological gains back to the mountain.”
“Robin have a trusting nature and they often come within a couple of metres to people, and occasionally stand on a person’s boot. That makes them a favourite with people because they can get close to them, unlike other native birds,” Ms Barry says.
Since 1991, populations have been established on several predator-free islands - Mokoia, Tiritiri Matangi, Tuhua, Matiu/Somes, Mana, Moturoa - and several mainland sites encircled by predator-proof fences such as Karori Sanctuary and Bushy Park Reserve.