By Christine Officer, Department of Conservation.
Air New Zealand is a national partner with DOC for conservation. We share a vision for New Zealand as a place where our natural habitat is thriving, and that all New Zealanders benefit from a healthy environment. Both acknowledge that our environment underpins our country’s cultural, social and economic prosperity and well-being.
The partnership began in April 2012 and is currently focused on New Zealand’s Great Walks, marine science and threatened species programmes. On top of that, Air New Zealand’s 3000 member-strong ‘Greenteam’ are an energetic force, giving thousands of hours of volunteer time to conservation projects around New Zealand.
The Nelson based Greenteam recently headed out in with our rangers and volunteers from the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust to weed large areas of ice plant, and plant spinifex and pingao at Apple Tree Bay, on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Spinifex is the most important native sand-binding grass in New Zealand. It can tolerate high winds, salt spray and shifting sands and is a great support system at Apple Tree Bay. The planting will help to create stability in the dunes and provide nesting areas for local bird life.
On site, 47 volunteers worked hard weeding and planting close to 700 plants. It’s the second year the Greenteam have helped at Apple Tree Bay, and have committed to returning again next year to continue the job.
“These events mean a lot to our Greenteamers and their families, meeting new friends from all over the business with a common interest in preserving and protecting New Zealand’s taonga” – Shelley Crawford, Air New Zealand Community Engagement Exec. and Greenteam Coordinator.
Greenteamers meet internet sensation Tūmanako
Air New Zealand often go above and beyond the call of partnership-duty, and donating return flights for two for winners of our recent ‘Royalcam’ competition is just one example of this. The Air New Zealand Environment Trust has also contributed 55,000 trees to the sanctuary.
To repay the favour, we invited two Greenteamers to accompany ranger Jim and Nic Toki, DOC’s Threatened Species Ambassador on the trip out to Taiaroa Head to meet Tūmanako, the baby albatross star and Royalcam internet sensation.
Greenteamers Vicki and Brett loved the whole experience at the Royal Albatross Centre, especially the ‘behind the scenes’ look into conservation with Nic and Jim – “it was an experience I will treasure forever” – Brett, Air NZ Greenteam.
“Vicki and I with Tūmanako of web-cam fame! The name means hope. I for one certainly hope he makes it. They are the most graceful and elegant creatures I have ever seen. I strongly urge you to visit and support the efforts of DOC to protect them…..at the very least you owe it to yourself to see them live before it’s too late” – Brett, Air NZ Greenteam.
Coming up for the Greenteam…
If you’re entered in the Kepler Challenge 60km mountain run in early December, then keep an eye out for those green t-shirts en-route! The Greenteam will be assisting the Kepler Challenge Committee with trap checks in December, and you may also see them helping out at drink stations along the way!