Conservation work in New Zealand will be supercharged by substantially increasing the amount of money available to hard-working volunteer groups.
“We have a beautiful natural environment, and the efforts of local communities are crucial to protecting our landscape and native species for future generations,” National Party Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
To support these groups, National will more than double the amount of funding available through the Department of Conservation Community Fund, from $4.6 million to $10 million a year.
“Local communities play a vital part in conserving our natural environment - from the War on Weeds and wilding conifer control to predator trapping networks, wetland restoration and the upkeep of historic huts.
“Since opening in 2014 the DOC Community Fund has supported more than 300 projects. National is determined to give volunteer groups them even more support – teaming DOC expertise with community enthusiasm to achieve goals neither could manage alone.
“Increased funding will enable more community groups to expand their scale and ambition. It means we can support multi-year initiatives and enable the use of new technologies, including biological controls for weeds.”
“This new community funding is on top of the additional $4 million a year DOC will receive as a result of National introducing additional charges for international tourists using our Great Walks.
“National is committed to protecting what makes this country special, helping DOC and volunteer groups to work together to protect our beautiful landscape and native species.”
As part of this announcement, National also released its Community and Voluntary Sector policy, setting out its commitment to working with our volunteers and community organisations.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has appointed Wellingtonian Dean Whiting of Te Whanau a Apanui descent to the Arts Council of New Zealand.
“Dean’s significant knowledge of te ao Māori (Māori world view) and Māori arts and heritage make him an ideal person to fulfil the current vacancy on the board,” Ms Barry says.
“Dean has worked in private practice as a Māori Taonga conservator for marae communities and is also a board member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) New Zealand.
“He continues to work in the Māori arts and heritage field and is currently employed as the Māori Heritage manager with Heritage New Zealand, Pouhere Taonga.”
Dean Whiting will not receive any fees for Arts Council activities undertaken during his work hours with Heritage New Zealand.
Taking effect immediately, Dean Whiting’s appointment is until 31 August 2018.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry has announced the reappointment of two current members of Te Papa’s board, Lady Dayle Mace and Paul Majurey, for a further one-year term.
“Both Lady Dayle and Paul Majurey have made valuable contributions to the board and I am delighted they are able to continue their involvement with this outstanding institution,” Ms Barry says.
Aucklander Lady Dayle Mace, MNZM, is a longstanding supporter and patron of both the visual arts and theatre in New Zealand and was a member of a taskforce set-up to advise on philanthropy in New Zealand.
She is also on the Elam Advancement Advisory Board, the New Zealand Contemporary Art Trust, the Auckland Art Fair, the Arts Regional Trust Board and the Creative Giving Reference Group.
Paul Majurey of Ngati Maru, Ngati Whanaunga, Ngati Paoa and Ngati Tamaterā (Marutūāhu) descent is a senior partner in the specialist environmental and public law firm, Atkins Holm Majurey.
He was senior counsel before the Privy Council and Supreme Court representing Māori and corporate interests on Treaty of Waitangi and environmental law. Paul has also advised on and led Treaty negotiations across New Zealand and served on three ministerial technical advisory groups.
“I extend my congratulations to both Lady Dayle and Paul Majurey on their reappointments,” Ms Barry says.
Their appointments take effect from September 1 and are until 31 August 2018
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced an eco-sanctuary will be created on Farewell Spit in a partnership between DOC and natural health and wellness retailer HealthPost.
Ms Barry says Collingwood-based HealthPost aims to raise $100,000 a year to fund ecosystem restoration and native species protection on Farewell Spit and adjoining public conservation land.
“Farewell Spit is internationally important as a wetland and sanctuary for migrating wading birds and it has the highest level of protection as a Nature Reserve. More than 90 bird species live in its diverse habitats that include salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes,” Ms Barry says.
“The new partnership will enhance the exceptional Farewell Spit ecosystems and its pest control will also contribute to our goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050.”
“The initial phase of the project will focus on 900-hectare area at the base of Farewell Spit. It includes forest and wetlands and takes in the cliffs around Cape Farewell which are home to colonies of seabirds, including fairy prions, petrels and shearwaters.”
“Trapping will control pests including possums, rats and stoats and small fenced pest-free areas for seabirds will also be established on the cliffs, particularly to protect the birds from wild pigs.”
“Once predators have been reduced, it is aimed to reintroduce species such as brown teal/pāteke and the rare Nelson green gecko,” Ms Barry says.
HealthPost staff have already begun planting native species such as spinifex and sand coprosma in the dunes near Triangle Flat.
“The Wharariki and Triangle Flat area attracts an estimated 70,000 plus visitors a year and this ecosystem enhancement will give them the thrill of seeing thriving native wildlife on the coast and in the forests and wetlands,” Ms Barry says.
“It’s expected to be able to extend the project to Farewell Spit itself within five years to the cover 3,000 hectares.”
51 black stilt, the world’s rarest wading bird, are being released at Mount Gerald station in the Mackenzie basin today.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the birds will add to the 60 released into the Tasman valley earlier this month, significantly boosting the wild population.
“DOC works really hard on black stilt (kakī) recovery, controlling predators in their braided river habitats and hatching and rearing chicks in aviaries before releasing them into the wild. This programme has helped build numbers in the wild from a low of 23 to more than 106 adult birds today,” Ms Barry says.
“The release is a textbook example of collaboration between DOC, the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust and a private landowner for the benefit of this extremely rare bird.”
“DOC’s been working with Mount Gerald Station over the last two years to use the area’s highly-suitable habitat for the release. The station owner has been hugely supportive, letting DOC trap predators on station land, allowing daily access to the release site, and providing accommodation for onsite feeding and monitoring staff.”
“The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust bred all the birds released today at its chick-rearing facilities in Christchurch,” Ms Barry says.
Additional support for the birds has recently come from Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) which is funding a replacement aviary for one destroyed in a snow storm in 2015, in time for this year’s breeding season.
Almost all the Black stilt’s wild population is restricted to the South Island’s Mackenzie basin.
“They are so vulnerable to being killed by feral cats, stoats and ferrets that only about 30% of captive-reared young birds survive to breeding age in the wild so their only viable long-term future is to make their habitat predator free and clear from invasive weeds,” Ms Barry says.
“The survival rate has increased to 49% in the past three years since DOC stepped up its predator control work in the Tasman valley.”
“While it’s not yet feasible to control predators over the entire area where black stilt range, DOC is exploring a wider partnership opportunity to introduce landscape-scale predator control in the Mackenzie.” Ms Barry says.
“This initiative would directly contribute towards New Zealand’s goal of becoming predator-free by 2050 and would completely change the future for black stilt (kakī) and other at-risk species in the area.”
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says there’s been a more than thousand percent increase in the number of kokako in Kauri Coast forests since 1990 due to the continued use of 1080 and trapping.
“An aerial 1080 drop in 1990 is credited with saving the kokako from local extinction and its continued use along with trapping has seen the population grow from a low of 5 pair in 1990 to 60 pair today, as well as 29 single kokako,” Ms Barry says.
“Without the sustained predator control these birds wouldn’t survive in the Waipoua, Waima and Mataraua forests and the fact that population has grown to one of the most robust managed populations proves yet again the value of 1080 to knock down rats and possums.”
“The increase in kokako shows what’s possible when you keep predators down and proves how vital it is that we achieve the ultimate goal of Predator Free 2050.”
“Many kokako pair seen over the last breeding season had juvenile birds with them, indicating a good breeding season.”
“An 1100% increase represents significant success and is down to annual rat and possum control over 20 years. There’ve been 4 aerial 1080 operations just in Waipoua between 1990 and 2014 plus trapping.”
DOC has used a bait station network to control rats and possums and a stoat trap line that’s grown from 300 hectares in 2003 to 913 hectares today.
“No other bird evokes our ancient forest like the kokako. It has the most haunting birdsong in the New Zealand bush,” Ms Barry says.
“Research during the 1990’s identified key predators and how to manage them specifically for kokako and that information is still in use at Waipoua, Mataraua and Puketi.”
“We have the exciting and realistic opportunity to not only protect these kokako populations, but to grow them so that Northland is once again a national stronghold for this taonga of the forest.”
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced government funding for Masterton’s Shear History Trust.
“The Trust has developed a museum dedicated to the national story of sheep and shearing and this almost $23,000 will complete the final electrical fit-out stage of its new building at the Woolshed heritage centre in Masterton,” Ms Barry says.
“Its new building will enable the museum to better care for its valuable collection of exhibits telling the interesting stories of New Zealand’s shearing industry and rural life.”
“This is a small museum, run by dedicated volunteers, and it attracts about 8000 visitors a year. I am pleased the electrical fit-out will see further exhibition space developed.”
“The Woolshed heritage centre is also an active supporter of the annual Golden Shears Competition and this grant recognises the positive regional impact the close association provides,” Ms Barry says.
The funding is the sixth and final allocation from round two of the 2017 Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF).
Previous announcements include $4m for the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, $3m for Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre, $1m for Foxton's Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, $900,000 for the ASB Theatre Complex in Blenheim and $1.08 million to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust in Stewart Island.
“I established $29.5m fund in 2016 for capital projects benefitting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions,” Ms Barry says.
“They make an important contribution to the national economy by helping communities to attract the economic and social benefits of new visitors, businesses and residents to New Zealand’s smaller towns and cities.”
For further information: www.mch.govt.nz/RegionalCultureHeritageFund
Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry has announced David Elliot’s book ‘Snark’ as this year’s winner of the New Zealand Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award.
“David Elliot, also winner of the Russel Clark Award for illustration, has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature in this country and the award is much deserved recognition for his captivating compositions,” Ms Barry says.
“His books have universal appeal for all ages and in 2014 he was awarded the Margaret Mahy Award for lifetime contribution to Children’s Literature in New Zealand.”
“The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have celebrated excellence in children and young people’s literature since the 1960s. The books have been on different topics and in a variety of styles but they’ve had a common thread – they’ve looked at life from a distinctively New Zealand point of view.”
“Recent research by the Book Council shows New Zealanders love reading New Zealand stories – almost half the adults reading at least one New Zealand book in the past year.”
“Encouraging young New Zealanders to read is at the heart of these awards, and the fact that sales of the finalist books consistently spike during the shortlist period is testimony to their success.”
The ceremony was held at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre and the Minister congratulated the 32 awards finalists and thanked all the authors, illustrators and publishers for getting children reading by creating great books and publishing them.
“I’m pleased the Government is able to support these awards through Creative New Zealand. My thanks to the sponsors, supporters and judges who help these awards to thrive,” Ms Barry says.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says Maungauika/North Head on Auckland’s North Shore Devonport Peninsula is to become predator free, a first step towards a predator free Auckland.
Making the announcement today at the historic DOC managed reserve, Ms Barry says the initial target is rats.
”They kill under cover of darkness, they’re cunning and tough and they’re prolific breeders. Rats are the most significant predator on the maunga and to stop them we’re installing a trap network starting with a ring of traps around the base,” Ms Barry says.
“They’ll be set 25 metres apart to form a predator barrier and we’ll install a network of rat traps on the rest of the maunga, 50 metres apart, alongside roads and paths. This is the local community’s chance to step up as DOC will need volunteers to check the traps.”
North Head is a first step along the path to a Predator Free Devonport and then a pest free Auckland.
“DOC, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Auckland Council are working together to make the whole Devonport peninsula pest free. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has provided 1500 rat traps for distribution to people living on the peninsula and is aiming for one trap in every five Devonport households. I also want to acknowledge and commend the efforts of hard working community volunteers involved with the Devonport Environmental Network (DEN) and the peninsula restoration project Te Manu Hopukia,” Ms Barry says.
“Strategically the Devonport peninsula is a good place to start the Auckland predator free journey because it’s isolated by water and it’s home to significant native and threatened bird populations. It’s also a point of entry to our gulf islands.”
“Controlling predators on the peninsula will help create a safe habitat and a corridor for native birds to return to the mainland. Eventually it’ll expand to cover the whole of Auckland and community by community, town by town, city by city, I’m confident that by 2050 we’ll have a rat, stoat and possum-free New Zealand.”
Auckland’s historic St James Theatre is receiving $1.5 million in government backing from the Heritage EQUIP fund for privately-owned, earthquake prone buildings.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says the money for seismic strengthening work will help secure this special building as a theatre venue for many years to come.
“Built in 1928, this almost 90 year old traditional theatre has significant cultural and heritage value – it’s a Category 1 building on the New Zealand Heritage List and Category A on the Auckland Unitary Plan. Its remarkable main auditorium has high quality acoustics, and the interior features statuettes and elaborate lighting,” Ms Barry says.
“The St James is very dear to the hearts of Aucklanders and it’s also significant for New Zealand as it’s one of the very few remaining buildings designed by Henry Eli White, in the Spanish colonial style, who created the St James Theatre in Wellington and the Municipal Theatre in Hastings.”
Ms Barry has acknowledged the tenacious support for the St James from Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye who has advocated tirelessly to ensure this Auckland landmark is saved for future generations.
“The independent expert advisory panel members who consider Heritage EQUIP applications report to the final decision-maker Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive Paul James. They’ve recognised the heritage value of the St James as well as its architectural merit,” Ms Barry says.
“The complex land ownership issues have taken some time to work through, however the St James owner is eligible to apply for Regional Culture and Heritage (RCHF) funding. The building’s owner is continuing to work with officials on an application.”
The Heritage EQUIP fund was setup in 2016 to provide support for privately-owned earthquake risk buildings so they can be preserved for future generations.
“Heritage buildings are a valuable part of the character of New Zealand, but the cost of strengthening can be prohibitive and unsustainable for private owners and that’s where this fund is intended to help,” Ms Barry says.
Today’s announcement from round two of Heritage EQUIP follows on from the announcement earlier this week, made jointly with Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith, of $94,700 in funding for Nelson’s Lambretta Café.
Further announcements will follow over the next few weeks.