In the “Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2014”
The Department of Conservation (DOC) was restructured in 2013 to grow conservation by working in partnership with others. We are now implementing the new structure and strategy, focusing on where we can make the most conservation gains.
New Zealand has some of the best natural and cultural features and ecosystems found anywhere in the world. However, much of New Zealand's biodiversity is at risk from introduced pests, weeds, biosecurity incursions and potential impacts from climate change.
Restoring natural ecosystems and species takes time but we are starting to see results. In the Catlins, for example, the threatened yellowhead/mohua population is now increasing after DOC's work with TBfree New Zealand on a pest control programme to treat 47,000 hectares of forest with aerial 1080 to control possums, rats and stoats. The relocation of 11 Coromandel brown kiwi to predator-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is also contributing towards the establishment of a genetically robust, self-sustaining population of kiwi.
In response to a national beech mast event, the Battle for Our Birds is a cross-agency campaign to save birds and preserve ecosystems on a major landscape scale, and involves aerial 1080 pest control over 700,000 hectares. We also have major challenges in conservation of our marine environments, and the establishment of the three subantarctic islands marine reserves and the Akaroa Marine Reserve are positive steps in meeting this challenge.
DOC's commercial partnerships with businesses such as Fonterra, New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, Air New Zealand, Genesis Energy and Dulux New Zealand are contributing to conservation. We are working with Fonterra over the next 10 years on community projects valued at 20 million dollars to improve water quality and enhance biodiversity. This shows a long-term commitment by one of New Zealand's largest industries to protecting waterways and ensuring dairying works alongside natural habitats and healthy ecosystems. Philanthropic interest from the NEXT, Morgan, Tindall and Aotearoa Foundations also plays a key role in achieving New Zealand's conservation vision.
We have been working closely with iwi as our primary partner through the principles of kaitiakitanga and mātauranga Māori with respect to their interests in conservation. For example, we are working alongside local iwi/hapū/whānau to improve the health of dune lakes in the Far North, and with iwi/hapū/whānau in the Bay of Plenty in the management of the Tarawera Trail. We look forward to continuing work with Ngāi Tūhoe in Te Urewera to ensure the best outcomes for existing biodiversity and visitor projects.
The opening of Stage 1 of the Tarawera Trail in December 2013 was a significant moment for local iwi and DOC. It facilitated the long-held desire of local iwi and hapū to return to their tribal lands and the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand, vacated as a result of the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera.
More than 600 community groups are involved in conservation with around 14,000 volunteers contributing their time. Non-governmental organisations such Forest and Bird, Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand, World Wildlife Fund, New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association and the Environmental Defence Society continue to maintain an active interest in conservation in New Zealand. The New Zealand Conservation Authority and conservation boards, Heritage New Zealand, Fish and Game New Zealand, and the newly created Game Animal Council all have statutory interests in our work.
DOC actively manages 660 key sites that reflect many themes of New Zealand history and 20 Historic Icon sites continue to be developed as part of the Icon visitor destinations offering quality experiences for visitors. And last year we were delighted to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Milford Track.
As well as these achievements, we have been working hard during the past year to implement the new structure, and ensure our strategy reflects the new direction. Such a major change is complex and will take time and effort to implement fully. A significant focus has been placed on improving workplace safety through all the change management processes.
Further details of our progress over the past year are outlined in this report.
30 June 2014