Conservation awards celebrate Southland’s conservation champions
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionDeveloping innovative pest control methods, researching and monitoring native species and introduced pests are just a few of the projects being undertaken by the recipients of this year’s Southland Conservation Awards.
Date: 15 September 2010
Developing innovative pest control methods, researching and monitoring native species and introduced pests and preserving conservation’s history are just a few of the projects being undertaken by the recipients of this year’s Southland Conservation Awards.
The passion and dedication of all of the finalists is a true reflection of the 2010 Conservation Week theme, ‘Love New Zealand’ and last night the Department of Conservation (DOC) acknowledged this commitment at the annual Southland Conservation Awards.
DOC Southland Conservator Barry Hanson said the awards recognise Southland’s greatest point of difference, “our people and our can-do attitude”.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate Southland’s 2010 conservation champions who have shown how much they love New Zealand and who work hard to conserve and protect the special things that make our country – and our backyard unique,” Mr Hanson said.
The awards function enables the guests and finalists to meet and share what they have learnt, strengthening the conservation network.
“The time and effort volunteers put into helping enhance and protect our natural and historic heritage is vital. They are inspiring just like Southland’s conservation treasures.”
Mr Hanson said the quality of all 19 award finalists was again outstanding, making it difficult for the judging panel to select just one recipient for each category.
“Tonight we celebrate Southlander’s love for New Zealand and the many ways in which conservation, communities and business are good for each other.”
This year’s award recipients are:
Richard Henry Conservation Award for Southland Schools – Halfmoon Bay School, Stewart Island/Rakiura for their research into the decline of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho and their focus on Stewart Island’s environment. Both projects have lead to promotion of conservation at national levels.
Individual Services to Conservation Award – Alistair Jukes for his dedication and innovative designs that have significantly benefited pest control methods. Alistair’s tireless enthusiasm as a keen conservationist lead to the development of two innovative tools which assist trappers in their task.
Community Conservation Award – Bluff Hill/Motupōhue for their commitment and persistence in creating a comprehensive network of traps and bait stations covering Bluff Hill/ Motupōhue and their success in reducing rat, stoat and possum numbers. The trust has also encouraged their wider community to get involved by volunteering and sponsoring operating costs.
Corporate Conservation Award – Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand Limited for their commitment to conservation through the Kākāpō Recovery Programme. The partnership behind the programme is the longest standing conservation partnership the department has been involved with and 2010 marks its 20th anniversary. Not only has financial support been given but generous in-kind support has been offered with staff from the Tiwai Point Alumnium Smelter involved with volunteering programmes and highly skilled smelter engineers and technicians assisting the department with power schemes and infrastructure work. Since the partnership was formed, the kakapo population has risen from 49 birds in 1990 to 122 in 2010.
Conservation Champion – Michael Skerrett who has demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment to conservation in Southland. As Kaupapa Taio Manager for Te Ao Marama Michael works in Resource Management and engages with many local authorities during the course of his work.
Michael is also Upoko and Kaiwhakahaere of Waihopai runaka.
Each April Michael heads to the Titi Islands to harvest Titi/Muttonbird, and is a member of both the Rakiura Titi Islands Administering Body and the Rakiura Titi Island Committee.