Our Director-General Lou Sanson talks about Pest Free Auckland, Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, our partnerships with Kiwibank and Global Wildlife, and DOC on Facebook.

Date:  05 July 2017

D-G Direct: An update from Lou.

Towards a Pest Free Auckland

Squawk Squad group.
Fraser McConnell and his Squawk Squad team at Pestival

I spoke at Auckland City's Pestival, where 400 people had turned up aiming to create Pest Free Auckland 2050 (Predator Free 2050 and War on Weeds together). What was particularly impressive was only two people for each community group was able to attend due to demand.

Speakers focused on technology, building partnerships, islands and ecological restoration.

One of the most inspiring speakers was Fraser McConnell who through Squawk Squad remote sensing technology, aims to have New Zealand as the most environmentally engaged country in the world through 100,000 New Zealanders taking part to remove a minimum of 230,000 pests over three years.

A huge achievement by Brett Butland at Auckland Council with DOC and the Predator Free New Zealand Trust, with great support from Auckland Councillor Penny Hulse.

Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park

I was at the Ngāti Whare Board of Trustees meeting in Murupara recently with Central North Island staff. It was remarkable to see the progress we have made with Ngāti Whare over the last two years:

The Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park Management Plan is at the forefront of the new Crown/Iwi relationship in terms of partnership.
Their $1.2 million native plant nursery is now set up at Minginui.

It was good to see Timberlands, the owners of Kaingaroa Forest, beginning a commitment to control wilding pines within the rohe of Ngāti Whare. Timberlands Chief Executive Officer Robert Green has been working with the leadership of Ngāti Whare on this initiative.

Their key message is how DOC can help them to gain employment through tourism and pest and weed management through nurturing their ngahere and kaitiakitanga.

Members and staff group photo.
Ngāti Whare Board of Trustees and DOC staff at Murupara

Kiwibank partnership

It is with pleasure I provide a heart-felt thank you to Kiwibank to acknowledge their ongoing partnership in working with the Department on the Conservation Dogs Programme. Kiwibank's ongoing financial commitment to the Programme is greatly appreciated.

Kiwibank joined forces with DOC in September 2016 to support the pilot phase of the programme. Additional funding provided by Kiwibank will help transition the programme from its pilot phase to more strategic long-term approach.

Through this national partnership we are able strengthen our biosecurity programme via enhanced quarantine and surveillance of our pest-free islands and provide increased coordination of our species dogs programme which plays a major role in the conservation of species such as kiwi, whio, pāteke, takahē and kākāpō.

Dogs wearing Conservation Dogs jackets.
Conservation dogs
Image: David Abbott/Liquid Action Films

Working together with Kiwibank allows DOC to maximise the potential of these incredible dogs and boost our advocacy programme. This will lead to greater awareness and protection of our pest-free islands and predator free sanctuaries.

I am really excited about the Department's partnership with Kiwibank as we work towards the Government's ambitious goal of being predator free by 2050. This is a significant conservation challenge and I would like to recognise Kiwibank's leadership and influence towards this challenge.

Kakī partnership in the Mackenzie basin

It's fantastic to see how our new operational approach is delivering results. The partnership announcement between DOC and Global Wildlife Conservation to increase the kakī (black stilt) breeding programme is a major success for conservation, and an example of what we can achieve with others.  

I was delighted to meet Brian Sheth in Auckland, who through Global Wildlife Conservation has committed US$500k towards our kakī (black stilt) breeding programme at Twizel.  In 1991, we only had 93 birds left and through our captive breeds facility, we can produce 100 chicks per year.

At the same time, we are exploring Predator Free Makenzie basin to ensure much greater success of our kakī released into the wild.

DOC on Facebook

Our DOC social media channels have had a revamp. Be sure to follow DOC on our new Facebook page, on Twitter, Instagram and more.

To keep up to date with my activities see Lou Sanson #DOCBoss.

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