The Department of Conservation (DOC) is today celebrating a quarter of a century of support from New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) and Forest and Bird to Kākāpō Recovery at Zealandia in Wellington.
Formed in 1990, the Kākāpō Recovery Programme is a partnership between DOC, NZAS and Forest & Bird. It is the first and longest-running commercial partnership in DOC's history.
The celebration of NZAS' role in saving this critically endangered iconic species over the past quarter of a century highlights that during that time kākāpō numbers have increased from 49 to 125 birds.
NZAS has contributed nearly $4.5 million dollars during the past 25 years, as well as more than 1,100 days of employee volunteer support for DOC's kākāpō rangers.
New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter electricians, Alistair Wilson (left in white overalls) and Donald Faulkner (right in blue shirt), volunteer with the Kakapo Recovery Programme, applying their vital expertise to the Whenua Hou/Codfish Island hydro system
"NZAS has helped its most vulnerable neighbour walk back from the brink of extinction and into the hearts and minds of New Zealanders. It is an extraordinary achievement," says DOC Director-General Lou Sanson.
"With their support the Kākāpō Recovery Programme has become a world-leading conservation programme, which in turn has helped raise awareness of our incredible wildlife and the conservation challenges we face here in New Zealand."
Guests will be welcomed with a mihi whakatau from Sir Tipene O'Regan acknowledging the significance of this taonga species to Ngāi Tahu. The event will also be attended by Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry, NZAS CEO and General Manager Gretta Stephens and world famous kākāpō and conservation spokesbird, Sirocco.
Kākāpō Recovery was established as a partnership between DOC, NZAS, and Forest & Bird. As principal sponsor NZAS has injected more than $4.5 million towards breeding programmes, predator free sanctuaries and innovative research, plus more than 1,100 days of employee volunteer support carrying out maintenance work, supplementary feeding and nest minding.
Kākāpō Recovery's long term goal is to have 150 females at three separate sites, one of which is self-sustaining.
Get more information on the Kakapo Recovery website.