Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says this year’s Battle for our Birds pest control operations are now underway to protect our most vulnerable native wildlife from the scourge of rats and stoats fuelled by widespread forest seeding.
“Work at 34 sites covering more than 800,000 hectares of high value conservation land has begun and DOC field staff are monitoring another seven sites to see if rodents are at damaging levels,” Ms Barry says.
“We’ll be using aerial 1080 at around 29 sites to knock down rat, possum and stoat numbers and using traps and other ground-based methods at other more accessible sites.”
“Battle for our Birds will protect a dozen priority species of birds, bats, frogs, lizards and snails at risk of serious decline or local extinction and the predator control will also benefit many common native species and whole ecosystems.”
Battle for our Birds supports the Government’s ambitious Predator Free 2050 goal by controlling predators over large areas and also contributes to the interim goal to suppress rats, stoats and possums over a further million hectares by 2025.
“We’ve committed $21.3 million from Budget 2017 to fund Battle for our Birds to enable DOC to safeguard our vulnerable wildlife. It’s the second year running a programme of this scale has been undertaken and the third time since 2014,” Ms Barry says.
“This year’s beech mast affects mainly North Island forests as well as the northern South Island and western Otago areas. The plentiful seed is a food source that fuels rat populations and causes stoat numbers to explode if the rodents are not controlled.”
“Aerial 1080 is the most effective pest control method across large areas and difficult terrain and our monitoring shows it’s a very successful way of protecting vulnerable species and allowing birds to produce more chicks to sustain and grow their populations,” Ms Barry says.
“Without predator control only 1 in 20 North Island Brown kiwi will make it to their fourth birthday, when they are old enough to breed. With 1080 and trapping 12 chicks hatched in the wild survive to breeding age.”
“The story is similar for our river surfing blue duck, the whio – two ducklings from 3 breeding pair increases to six ducklings per 3 pair once predator control’s in place.”
“Our ground trapping work complements the aerial 1080 programme and will protect weta and native frogs in the King Country, orange-fronted parakeet in Canterbury, Haast tokoeka kiwi in Haast, takahē in the Murchison Mountains and the Stewart Island Dotterel.
A new round of pest control operations has just started and runs through to 2018.
- 25 million native birds are killed each year by predators like possums, rats and stoats.
- Battle for our Birds 2017 follows large-scale programmes in 2016 and 2014 after significant mast events in those years, largely in South Island forests.
- The 2016 BFOB programme controlled predators across about 820,000 hectares (about 770,000 aerial 1080 and more than 50,000 ground control) where it prevented rodent and stoat plagues and controlled possums to protect priority at-risk populations of threatened birds, bats and other native species.
- Results from long-term monitoring at Tongariro Forest Kiwi Sanctuary in the central North Island show that the survival of kiwi chicks to six months of age doubles in the two years after 1080 use compared to other years.
- The research shows that use of 1080 in a three-yearly cycle allows the kiwi population to grow at 4% per year.
- A recent five year study on the effects of 1080 on South Island kākā in South Westland showed that on average 55% of kākā nest were successful up to a year after 1080 treatment but less than 2% of nests produced chicks in a comparison area. This resulted in 30 times as many kākā chicks in the 1080 areas compared to where it wasn’t used.
- DOC is working closely with OSPRI in their TB-free possum control programme, as well as iwi and community-led nature projects, to maximise areas where predators are suppressed and benefits to wildlife.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has paid tribute to the work of Department of Conservation rangers as part of events to mark World Ranger Day today.
“DOC has more than a thousand rangers working across the country from the sub-tropical Raoul Island to the subantarctic islands. They’re out there year round, in all conditions, working hard to safeguard our unique wildlife and special places on behalf of all New Zealanders,” Ms Barry says.
“Rangers do vital work in DOC’s key programmes of Battle for our Birds and War on Weeds and play a vital role in Predator Free 2050 – the Government’s ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats”
“There are now 9 new Predator Free Rangers across the regions who’ll work with local communities and volunteer groups to scale up predator control efforts. Backed by a $300,000 fund they will help get community-based initiatives started, provide advice to existing groups and be the point of contact to co-ordinate DOC rangers in every district to set up trap libraries and provide whatever help is needed.”
DOC rangers look after 13 national parks and many other conservation areas, 44 marine reserves, more than 14,000 km of tracks and over 300 campsites, 500 picnic areas and 900 huts.
“They do it all - rearing chicks, monitoring marine reserves, fighting wildfires, clearing tracks, trapping predators, spraying weeds, servicing huts, connecting kids with nature – it’s all in a day’s work for DOC rangers,” Ms Barry says.
“Our dedicated rangers are committed to making a difference for our natural environment. As the front-line of DOC they are important ambassadors and New Zealanders as well as overseas visitors consistently rate highly their contact with rangers.”
World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July to celebrate the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures, as well as commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has congratulated the sixth Porirua suburb to join the predator free movement, boosting the number of city residents actively trapping rats to more than 500.
“Today Titahi Bay joins the fold and adds its efforts to the hundreds of Porirua residents who’ve already joined the Predator Free 2050 cause and been converted to rat killers over the past year,” Ms Barry says.
“The predator-free momentum in Porirua is tremendous, symbolising how far we’ve come since New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 goal was announced just a year ago.”
“Backyard trapping is a huge part of making New Zealand of rat, possum and stoat free. Yet another predator-free suburb kicking off shows just how much enthusiasm there is from communities to get behind the idea.”
Titahi Bay locals follow residents in Plimmerton, Mana/Cambourne, Pukerua Bay, Papakowhai and Golden Gate who already have traps in their backyards.
“If we can make the Porirua harbour edge predator free native birds and lizards will return to people’s gardens where it’ll be safe for them,” Ms Barry says.
“The initiatives in Porirua are a great example of communities picking up the predator-free vision and running with it.”
“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 like Titahi Bay scale up efforts, commit people to the cause and coordinate plans.”
With support from local DOC and Porirua City Council staff, community organisers supply traps and advice to their neighbours to control pests in their backyards.
“The number of predators caught is recorded centrally and residents see the rewards of fewer rats around their properties,” Ms Barry says.
“Up to 70 Titahi Bay residents will be supplied with free traps at today’s launch at the Titahi Bay Baptist Church at 10.”
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.