Sealers Bay, Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, looking east to the Ruggedy Range on Rakiura/Stewart Island

Image: DOC

Introduction

Our Director-General Lou Sanson talks about the Minister of Conservation's pre-budget announcement; the Health, Safety and Wellbeing award won by DOC staff member Claire Wooldridge Way; Tūhoe; Ngāi Tahu; kākāpō; the Rakiura Māori Islands; and Project Janszoon.

Date:  15 May 2018

D-G Direct: An update from Lou.

We are rapt to have the more than $81.2 million investment from the Government for predator control over the next four years, which will result in the largest area ever protected against predators on an ongoing basis.

Read more about this pre-budget announcement on our website.

DOC staff member wins Health, Safety and Wellbeing Supreme Award

A number of us were so proud to be at the Government Health and Safety workshop with 350 public servants when Claire Wooldridge Way, Biodiversity Supervisor from our Wairau Office, won both the Spirit of Service Employee Representative of the Year and the overall Supreme Award.

This was for her work following the Kaikoura Earthquake to build a system to monitor not just physical safety, but also mental wellbeing. She has developed real skills in helping colleagues on wellness and mental health far beyond what is expected as a DOC Health and Safety representative. Significantly her nomination was the only one by a government department and union (PSA) together, reflecting our increasingly strong collaboration and relationship with the PSA.

Harry Maher – DOC Director Health and Safety, Claire Wooldridge Way, and Allen Blackwell – PSA Organiser.
Harry Maher – DOC Director Health and Safety, Claire Wooldridge Way, and Allen Blackwell – PSA Organiser.
Image: DOC

Debbie Power, Deputy State Services Commissioner, Claire Wooldridge Way with her Supreme award (a carved taiaha) and Ray Smith, Government Health and Safety lead.
Debbie Power, Deputy State Services Commissioner, Claire Wooldridge Way with her Supreme award (a carved taiaha) and Ray Smith, Government Health and Safety lead.
Image: DOC

Tūhoe – Te Uru Taumatua and DOC. Principles for growing together

On 8 May DOC’s Senior Leadership Team met with Tūhoe senior leaders at their new Ruatāhuna village complex. Our purpose was to move our Treaty Partner relationship from one of negotiation to one that is committed to growing together based on shared principles.

We signed up to a set of core principles to assist us. Importantly these principles set standards for the behaviour we expect of each other in our relationship.

Broadly speaking they are:

  • There is no respect for those without humility
  • Seek to understand before you are understood
  • Difference is the one thing we have in common, it is meant to unite, not divide us 
  • Doing and learning is OK

After considerable korero we agreed that exploration of our differences will make good things happen. There is a responsibility for mutual learning and allowing learning-by-doing so that we grow together.

Two of the most powerful quotes I have learnt from Tūhoe provides real guidance for us:

“Nature is our mother; respect for one’s parent is the highest duty of life, without her we have no purpose together.” Te Kawa o Te Urewera

“The land owns itself.” Tamati Kruger

Above all, what we have committed to is to strengthen the connection of Tūhoe with Te Urewera by resetting our relationship to Te Urewera through kinship with nature, recognising nature comes first.

Members of Tuhoe
Members of Tūhoe – Te Uru Taumatua Senior Leadership Team, Te Urewera Board, Tūhoe Tribal Leaders and DOC Senior Leadership Team endorse the Principles for Growing Together
Image: DOC

Resetting our Ngāi Tahu relationship

Minister Sage, myself, and DOC senior leaders Mike Slater, Joe Harawira and Kopa Lee met recently with Ngāi Tahu senior leaders in Christchurch to establish a more strategic relationship regarding DOC’s work with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu throughout their Te Wāhi Pounamu rohe.

We acknowledged the many significant conservation programmes we have achieved together over 30 years and committed to new ways of working on our kaitiakitanga. These include:

  • Four-monthly meetings of Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai and Minister Sage
  • Establishing a regular hui of Te Wāhi Pounamu Operations and Partnerships Directors to agree on mutual work programmes.
  • Advancing Ngāi Tahu aspirations with regard to threatened species management, management planning, tourism and protected area management

Lou Sanson, Joe Harawira, Matapura Ellison (Deputy Kaiwhakahaere), Minister Sage, Lisa Tumahai - Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Kara Edwards, Arihia Bennett, and Kopa Lee
Lou Sanson, Joe Harawira, Matapura Ellison (Deputy Kaiwhakahaere), Minister Sage, Lisa Tumahai - Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Kara Edwards, Arihia Bennett, and Kopa Lee
Image: DOC

Kākāpō programme – Meridian and Ngāi Tahu partnership

I was able to accompany Tane Davis (Ngāi Tahu) and Daryl Eason (DOC Kākāpō Recovery Programme) on a visit to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island with new Meridian Energy CEO Neal Barclay to see first-hand how our Meridian Energy commercial partnership is helping both Ngāi Tahu and DOC with the Kākāpō Recovery Programme and island management.

Daryl Eason with kākāpō Taeatanga
Daryl Eason with kākāpō Taeatanga
Image: DOC

Highlights included:

  • Talking to Meridian about a new step-change artificial insemination programme that could potentially double the number of chicks that are bred in a breeding year.
  • Meridian’s staff working on moving our facilities fully to hydro and solar energy.
  • The highest rimu masting year we have seen potentially leading to a major breeding session this summer.
  • How cutting edge infra-red technology is being used in helicopter hunting to remove deer in Dusky Sound to create new potential kākāpō habitat.
  • We now have a significant number of Campbell Island teal now on Whenua Hou (at their lowest number we had only 30 birds left on Campbell’s Dent Island).
  • The translocation of 300 mottled petrel from Whenua Hou to new breeding areas in Hawke’s Bay over the past 5-years with Ngāi Tahu (99 birds shifted last week).

Neal and I were also able to hear the fascinating Ngāi Tahu story behind their three new Pou erected on Whenua Hou. They are carved from windfall totara we helicoptered off the island.

Lou Sanson, Neal Barclay and Tane Davis beside the three Pou (Te Pou Hou - front, Te Pou Haumi - left and Te Pou Neherā - right) on Whenua Hou at the site of the Māori/Sealer settlement 200 years earlier.
Lou Sanson, Neal Barclay and Tane Davis beside the three Pou (Te Pou Hou - front, Te Pou Haumi - left and Te Pou Neherā - right) on Whenua Hou at the site of the Māori/Sealer settlement 200 years earlier.
Image: DOC

Rakiura Māori Islands

In 1995 the Crown gave the Tītī Islands around Rakiura/Stewart Island back to Rakiura Māori. I was heavily involved in this Treaty Settlement at the time.

I had a privileged opportunity recently to visit Ngāi Tahu kuia, Jane Davis, and her family on Pūtauhinu Island to experience first-hand the Rakiura Māori leadership of conservation and island restoration over the past 20 years.

DOC helped with their biggest island eradications on Taukihepa and Putauhinu, but since then Rakiura Māori, through the leadership of Tane Davis, has completed 8 further island eradications (some of them funded from US oil damage compensation), with at least 8 Tītī Islands now predator free.

Ngāi Tahu are taking a lead role in the conservation and restoration of the former Crown islands by supporting the Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body (RTIAB). The RTIAB and Ngāi Tahu have been funding projects including translocations, surveys, island clean-ups and a greatly improved standard of biosecurity including a rodent dog checking all the vessels going to the islands.

The recovery of species has been incredible, in particular Snares Island snipe, kakaruai/robins, tīeke, meaweka/banded rail and mātātā/fernbird.

Corrina Davis, Rewi Davis, Lou Sanson, Jane Davis and Tane Davis on Putauhinu island
Corrina Davis, Rewi Davis, Lou Sanson, Jane Davis and Tane Davis on Putauhinu island
Image: DOC

Project Janszoon

On 17 April I signed a revised Heads of Agreement for Project Janszoon in Abel Tasman National Park, transitioning the partnership under the Tomorrow Accord. An agreement between Government and the NEXT Foundation, the accord focuses philanthropic investment on achieving nationally significant ecological outcomes, which once achieved, are transitioned to DOC to maintain. I want to thank the considerable number of staff who have made this possible. 

This approach enables us to accelerate achievement of our stretch goals and Intermediate Outcomes for biodiversity, and is proving to be a drawcard for philanthropists seeking to achieve significant conservation outcomes in New Zealand. The NEXT Foundation’s benefactors, Neal and Annette Plowman are remarkable people, determined to create an environmental legacy of excellence for New Zealanders. I am hugely humbled by their gift to the nation.

Lou Sanson, Gillian Wratt (Chair of the Project Janszoon Trust), Bruce Vander Lee (Project Janszoon Director) and Martin Rodd (DOC) sign the Heads of Agreement formalising Project Janszoon as one of the NEXT Foundation Tomorrow Accord sites
Lou Sanson, Gillian Wratt (Chair of the Project Janszoon Trust), Bruce Vander Lee (Project Janszoon Director) and Martin Rodd (DOC) sign the Heads of Agreement formalising Project Janszoon as one of the NEXT Foundation Tomorrow Accord sites
Image: DOC

Back to top