Lou wishes everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and talks about Fiordland seabird discoveries, Neal and Annette Plowman, the new Otago Landmarks, and the Sustainable Business Network Awards.

Date:  22 December 2017

D-G Direct: An update from Lou.

Christmas greetings

I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. We can be assured of the great results we have all achieved for conservation together, and look forward to what 2018 brings.

Have a safe and restful break.

Seabird discoveries – southern Fiordland

Two years ago, we agreed to provide Te Papa free access to our DOC boat "Southern Winds" given that the research they do is so beneficial to conservation.

Southern Winds with the survey team in Dusky Sound, February 2017.
The Southern Winds with the survey team in Dusky Sound, February 2017

In November, Te Papa scientists Alan Tennyson and Colin Miskelly, DOC scientists Graeme Taylor and Terry Greene, and volunteer Laurie Metcalfe, broke all records in visiting 77 islands in southern Fiordland in a week of field surveys during one of the finest weather periods all year. Great work from the boat crew for getting everyone on and off the islands safely, and the biodiversity ranger who organised it all!

Their 2016 survey found 49 colonies of three petrel species (sooty shearwater, mottled petrel, and broad-billed prion) on 45 islands, with 42 colonies previously unknown. This year they found 50 petrel colonies of which 33 were previously unknown. They also discovered the first ever Antarctic prion seen in Fiordland (Auckland Islands is the nearest colony) and two threatened weevil species that appear to be thriving.

An incredible result and great to partner with Te Papa for science, and document some of the results of our Predator Free 2050 initiative.

NEXT Foundation – Neal and Annette Plowman

Christeen Mackenzie (my Corporate Services Deputy Director-General) and I were rapt to take New Zealand philanthropy's largest ever environment and education benefactors, Neal and Annette Plowman, to Fiordland last weekend to show them the results of our work on predator-free islands, the recovery in birdlife and invertebrates, and the start of conservation in New Zealand (Richard Henry's work on Resolution Island, 1894).

Annette and Neal Plowman, Fiordland.
Neal and Annette Plowman, Fiordland

Since their $100 million donation to establish NEXT Foundation, we have worked with Neal and Annette on Project Janszoon, Taranaki Mounga and Zero Invasive Predators. They have additionally made a huge effort, with Auckland Zoo, to completely restore Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It was a privilege acknowledging their significant contribution to conservation in New Zealand.

Members of the Kākāpō team (including kākāpō).
Members of the Kākāpō team with a kākāpō

Landmarks Whenua Tohunga rolls into Otago

I was stoked to see four of our Icon heritage sites included as part of the Otago Landmarks Whenua Tohunga programme, launched at an event in Dunedin last week.

The Kawarau Suspension Bridge, Otago Rail Trail, Bannockburn sluicings, and Arrowtown's Chinese Settlement were amongst the final 12 places chosen as Otago Landmarks places.

The Landmarks programme supports our Heritage Stories stretch goal: 'The stories of 50 historic Icon sites are told and protected'. These Otago Landmarks each tell compelling stories of our past, and have helped shape our kiwi identity. By enabling a stronger connection to these places, visitors will be more likely to want to care for and protect them, which is great from a conservation point of view.

A visitor explores the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement – one of Otago’s new Landmark sites. Image: Stefan Marks | Creative Commons.
A visitor explores the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement – one of Otago's new Landmark sites
Image: Stefan Marks | Creative Commons

NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2017

It was great to hear that the 2017 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards were so well subscribed, with 93 finalists for the awards themselves (across 10 categories) and 600 people at the awards ceremony (including Prime Minister Jacinda Adern).
This reflects the increasing awareness generally around sustainability and our shared role in contributing to a more sustainable New Zealand.

Hats off to all the winners. Especially Zealandia, winner of the DOC sponsored Restoring Nature award. We have committed to sponsoring this award again in 2018.

Group photo at NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.
Back row: Daniel Harrison, Chris Charles, Pieter Tuinder, Geoff Ensor, Heather Peacocke. Front row: Keith Gell, Julie Kidd, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Kat Lane, Catherine Buc.

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