Our stories of 2017

Department of Conservation —  30/12/2017

2017 has been a big year for DOC and conservation. We look back at some of our stories over the year.

January: A #RoyalCam star is born

We welcomed the newest #RoyalCam star, who later in the year, would be given the name Tūmanako (meaning hope, wish, desire). The northern royal albatross chick received over 2 million views online, and fledged on the 28th September. Tūmanako is expected to return to Taiaroa Head in around 4-10 years time.

February: Pilot whales strand

One of New Zealand’s largest ever pilot whale strandings took place 10-12 February near Puponga, the most distant settlement on the Golden Bay side of Farewell Spit. About 200 or more whales died but Project Jonah, tangata whenua and many volunteers worked with us strenuously on their recovery over the three days. We would like to thank all those who assisted and who otherwise offered us support and goodwill. It couldn’t have been done without the help of so many.

March: DOC gets tweeting

In March, we finally said hello to the Twittersphere. Our new Twitter account was created to sit alongside our other social media channels – including Instagram. In May we launched our national Facebook page which is growing rapidly and connecting with the communities we work with everyday. Join us, follow us, or contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

Our top Instagram photos for 2017.

Our top Instagram photos for 2017 #2017bestnine

April: DOC turns 30

Thirty years ago on, 1 April 1987, DOC was born. It was a national declaration that our country valued its nature and wild places, and that we were committed to protecting it for future generations. We celebrated during the month of April with staff, stakeholders and our communities. Here’s a great selection of the delicious cakes made throughout the country:

May: Myrtle Rust is found

Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that attacks some of our iconic trees including pōhutakawa, rātā and mānuka. In May, it was first found in Northland, Taranaki and Waikato. We are continuing to work with the Ministry for Primary Industries(MPI) to manage this outbreak. If you find myrtle rust, please don’t touch and ring MPI immediately on 0800 80 99 66.

June: Great Barrier Island/Aotea becomes a Dark Sky Sanctuary

In June, Great Barrier Island/Aotea was named an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. It’s not only world-class for stargazing. The Aotea Conservation Park spreads over more than 12,000 hectares and offers multiple walking tracks for novice and experienced walkers. It’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

Check out this time lapse created by Mark Russell:

July: New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 goal celebrates it’s first year

It’s been a milestone year for the Predator Free 2050 goal. Predator Free 2050 will deliver huge benefits across New Zealand – for the social and cultural links with our environment, for our regional economies through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species.

August: The Fiordland Kiwi Diaries is born

Since August, we’ve been following Ranger Tim as he manages a project to monitor southern Fiordland tokoeka (kiwi) at Shy Lake, between Wet Jacket Arm and Breaksea Sound. He’s finding out how to protect them from predators like stoats. They have captured a number of kiwi and are now monitoring them through the breeding season to find out how well the adults and chicks survive without pest control. Stay turned for Tim’s next blog on the 2nd January. Click here to follow the series.

Tim and Myrtle - by Em Oyston

Tim and Myrtle – by Em Oyston

September: New dogs have jobs

Well trained dog-handler teams have successfully been used for conservation for more than 40 years. New Zealand was the first country to use dogs to benefit conservation as far back as the 1890s. In September, four new recruits (Hawke’s Bay puppies!) left the kennel to help us towards our predator free goal.

Today, conservation dogs are used all over New Zealand, for example:

  • helping monitor kiwi and pāteke in Northland
  • protecting the Hauraki Gulf islands from introduced pests
  • helping monitor kiwi, blue duck/whio and kea on the West Coast.

October: New Zealand’s short walks and day hikes

We kicked off our network of some of New Zealand’s best Short Walks and Day Hikes. These are existing DOC tracks that showcase some of New Zealand’s best walking experiences. Spread throughout the country, DOC is encouraging New Zealanders to visit these sites and enjoy the benefits of being in nature.

November: Paparoa National Park is better protected

Our Battle for our Birds predator control operation to protect native species in northern Paparoa National Park and adjoining conservation land was completed in November. The species in the area aren’t the only ones to benefit from large scale pest control. This year, South Island kākā made an extraordinary comeback in Fiordland’s Waitutu Forest since pest control started just over a decade ago. We also recently released video monitoring results from the West Otago Blue Mountains, showing significant bird survival rates.

December: The first fairy tern/tara-iti chick of the season

This month, the first fairy tern/tara-iti chick of the season hatched near Mangawhai. There’s only a total population of 40 birds, and each chick is vitally important. Our team of fairy tern rangers and volunteers are working together to implement the Fairy Tern Recovery Plan to protect and restore their population and range. We will be keeping a watchful eye on the new family.

From all of us here at the Department of Conservation, we wish you a Happy New Year.

3 responses to Our stories of 2017


    I certainly wish the Australian government had even half the concern for its wildlife as Dies NZ. You are doing a spectacular job and predator free 2050 is a worthy goal. I wish I would be alive to see it, but alas . . .

    Martin Broadbent 30/12/2017 at 7:38 am

    The walks you’re promoting are great. Your location links are not good though. Please could you give better addresses for car parking. Also to be greeted by warnings for poison is very off putting and distasteful.