From 12-19 November, Sydney became a melting pot of information, experiences, challenges and inspiration as 6,000 people, from nearly every country in the world, gathered for the ten-yearly World Parks Congress.
DOC’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Andrew Bignell tells us more…
DOC had a delegation of 14 staff—from rangers to the Director-General—at the 2014 World Parks Congress. The Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry also attended for two days.
We had a strong presence, with presentations given by staff from lots of parts of the organisation. This included:
Marketing Advisor Mel Borich, who gave a presentation on the DOC and Air New Zealand partnership;
Jade Connelly and Henare Winterburn-Chapman represented our young rangers—with Jade co-hosting a session with Jon Jarvis, the Director General of the US National Park Service;
Terrestrial Ecosystems Manager Avi Holzapfel presented on threatened species;
Scientist Graeme Elliott presented on mast events and pest control; and
Taute Taiepa presented a session on DOC and iwi working together, with Nga Whenua Rahui as his focus.
A new United Nations Development Programme manual on concessions—which DOC Recreation Advisor, Andy Thompson, contributed to—was also launched.
DOC Ranger Cornelia Vervoon attended, as part of her Stephen O’Dea Development Award, before travelling to Tasmania to examine aspects of park management there.
We created a buzz by demonstrating our unique culture—after each of our speakers presented there was a strong display of support by Taute or Henare accompanied by waiata. The audience were amazed and questioning.
Opportunities were taken to forge new relationships and the Minister was introduced to conservation leaders from around the world. Many spoke highly of the contribution that New Zealand makes internationally, especially in invasive species control.
And we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korea National Park Service for cooperation, especially on migratory bird management.
Other highlights included the arrival of four voyaging waka from around the Pacific, sailing under Sydney Harbour Bridge—with New Zealand’s Haunui proudly among them. We were formally welcomed on board with a mihi and explanation of the waka’s history and significance.
We were reminded that protected areas have a history extending far beyond the modern national park movement—indigenous people and local communities have set aside protected areas for millennia. They have moved beyond the ‘last line of defence’ to areas which are laboratories in which we can learn how people and nature can co-exist.
There were also whizzy technical developments unveiled such as Google’s new programme which tracks ship movements using their Automatic Identification System (AIS) data.
The map pictured shows the movement of a New Zealand fishing vessel around New Zealand over a two-year period.
Over five days we were able to attend a vast range of inspirational and thought provoking presentations and left with lots of ideas to take back to our offices—watch this space!
Read ‘The Promise of Sydney’ which sets out the future actions that were decided upon at the Congress.