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Earlier this month our Minister Kate Wilkinson launched Living Legends, an exciting initiative that DOC is a major sponsor of. 

Living Legends is about combining rugby and conservation by running 17 major planting projects across NZ in September and October 2011, that you can get involved in. And what’s the rugby connection? Living Legends will dedicate each planting project to a ‘Rugby Legend’ that’s been nominated by provincial rugby unions. These Rugby Legends are former or current players or administrators who have made a huge contribution to rugby in NZ.

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson with some of the Rugby Legends.

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson with some of the Rugby Legends: Ian MacRae, Duane Monkley, Sir Brian Lochore, Tane Norton, Kevin Laidlaw and Jock Ross.

The Northland planting is at Uretiti Rest Area and their legend is Richie Guy. Wayne Shelford is the legend for North Harbour’s planting  in Long Bay Regional Park and Bryan Williams has been nominated for Auckland’s Motuihe Island planting. King Country will dedicate the planting at Whakaipo Bay Recreational Reserve to Sir Colin Meads and Christian Cullen is representing Horowhenua-Kapiti’s planting at Whareroa Farm.

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson with Rugby Legend for Canterbury, Tane Norton.

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson with Rugby Legend for Canterbury, Tane Norton.

In Tasman the Whakapuaka Wildlife Reserve planting will be dedicated to Todd Blackadder and Tane Norton is representing Canterbury at the Otukaikino Reserve. The Living Legends website has full details about where and when the plantings are happening and who all the Rugby Legends are. On the website you can also subscribe to updates and keep in the loop about what’s happening in your region.

DOC is a major sponsor of Living Legends because we love NZ’s special outdoor places and we want to give all New Zealanders and international visitors the chance to experience them and do their bit to enhance them.

Living Legends kicks-off in September 2011 but we’re investing in the project for the long-term. The aim is to plant up to 5,000 trees at each site this year and up to 10,000 at each site by 2015. It’s a big challenge and we’ll need a big team effort to get the job done, so make sure you check out the website and register your interest in getting involved.

As with most of the work DOC does, we’re not in it alone. Living Legends is a joint venture between Project Crimson and The Tindall Foundation and Meridian Energy is also a major sponsor.

Music in Naseby, sculpture in Rotorua and taonga puoro on Stewart Island – New Zealand will be alive with new sights and sounds in 2011 thanks to our latest Wild Creations artists.

Wild Creations is an artist-in-residence programme that we run in partnership with Creative New Zealand. The deal is that each year, three NZ artists get to spend six weeks staying in DOC accommodation in some pretty special parts of our country. They immerse themselves in the places they visit and share its stories and unique qualities through their art – encouraging all of us to see it in a new way.

One of our winning artists is musician, Dudley Benson. He’ll head to Naseby, Central Otago to work on new material inspired by the history, geography and people of the region. Dudley has just released his second album, Forest: Songs by Hirini Melbourne, and completed a ten-date nationwide tour performing songs from the album along with all-vocal ensemble, The Dawn Chorus and dance artist, Cat Ruka.

Dudley Benson, photo by Joshua Thomas

Dudley Benson, photo by Joshua Thomas

Dudley and the Dawn Chorus perform at the Palm Beach Hall in Waiheke, photo by Joshua Thomas & Milana Radojcic

Dudley and the Dawn Chorus perform at the Palm Beach Hall in Waiheke, photo by Joshua Thomas & Milana Radojcic

Another Wild Creations residency winner is the sculptor/writer duo Madeleine Child and Philip Jarvis. They’ll spend their residency in the Rotorua Lakes region, creating objects for an exhibition using ceramic and other materials from the area, and doing a research project to produce a written work. Madeleine and Philip’s past work includes Doodads & Doodahs and Widespread Occurrence of Possible Symbioses, a super colourful reproduction of a coral reef, which they won a Portage Ceramic Award for in 2009.

Philip Jarvis and Madeleine Child

Philip Jarvis and Madeleine Child

Doodads & Doodahs and Widespread Occurrence of Possible Symbioses

Doodads & Doodahs and Widespread Occurrence of Possible Symbioses

Our third Wild Creations artist for 2011 is musician and craftsperson Alistair Fraser, who will spend time on Stewart Island/Rakiura. Alistair is skilled in making taonga puoro – traditional Māori musical instruments – so while he’s on Rakiura he’ll make the most of the access to the island’s unique materials by creating new instruments and recording their sounds. He also plans to create an interpretive display of instruments and recordings to showcase Stewart Island’s conservation values.

Alistair Fraser, photo by Andy Morley-Hall

Alistair Fraser, photo by Andy Morley-Hall

Taonga puoro musical instrument, Putorino Urukehu (totara flute/trumpet)
Taonga puoro musical instrument, Putorino Urukehu (totara flute/trumpet)

Best of luck to our Wild Creations artists as they venture out into NZ’s wild places and I can’t wait to see what they create!

When I was studying marketing at university one of my lecturers said, “if you want to communicate a message simply and effectively, ask a young person what they would say”. I was reminded of that as I watched this year’s winning entries for The Outlook for Someday – sustainability film challenge for young people. The winners’ ability to get their messages across in simple but creative ways is really inspiring.

DOC sponsored a special biodiversity award for The Outlook for Someday challenge and at a ceremony in November two teams from Newmarket Primary School in Auckland were announced as the joint winners of that award.

One of the winning films is ‘The Kaitiaki Children and the Birds’. It’s about a group of young people who protect birds and share a message that we can all become nature’s guardians. The judges said the film uses “a wonderful and creative mix of media.”

Newmarket Primary School students and makers of The Kaitiaki Children and the Birds, with Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman.

Newmarket Primary School students and makers of The Kaitiaki Children and the Birds, with Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman.

Watch The Kaitiaki Children and the Birds.

The other winning film, ‘Sam the Superworm’ is about saving our food and tells the story of how everyone, including a small stripy worm, can help protect nature. The judges said this film is “a fabulous tale about taking action on behalf of biodiversity in an urban environment.”

Newmarket Primary School students and makers of Sam the Superworm collect their award

Newmarket Primary School students and makers of Sam the Superworm collect their award

Watch Sam the Superworm.

The winning films are showing on TVNZ 6 each night this week (from 13-17 December) on Freeview or TiVo channel 6, and SKY or Telstra channel 16. Each programme will be shown at 6:30pm and again at 8:30pm.

To enter The Outlook for Someday challenge, young New Zealanders have to make a sustainability-related film that’s up to 5 minutes long, using any camera. People can enter as teams or individuals.

Entries for the film challenge came from all over New Zealand and were made by individuals and teams from primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions.

Well done to everyone who competed in this year’s film challenge and I’m sure next year’s entries will be  just as strong.

There are around 4500 businesses operating in New Zealand’s public conservation areas. A lot of them take on projects to enhance the natural environment that they rely on, as part of their day-to-day business operations and they’re making a real difference to conservation efforts in New Zealand.

One business that’s giving back is the Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre based in the Marlborough Sounds. We got to acknowledge their efforts last week by presenting them with the DOC Conservation-in-Action Award at the 2010 Tourism Industry Awards.

 

Al Morrison presents the DOC Conservation-in-Action Award to Louise Bright and Shayne Olsen. Photo: Tourism Industry Association/Murray Lloyd.

Our Director-General, Al Morrison, presents the DOC Conservation-in-Action Award to Louise Bright and Shayne Olsen from Lochmara Lodge. Photo: Tourism Industry Association/Murray Lloyd

Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre is a tourist lodge which combines accommodation with wildlife recovery programmes and art galleries. The centre runs breeding programmes for kakariki and Marlborough green gecko. It also has a sculpture trail, artists’ retreat and four hectares of native bush.

Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre is nestled in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Photo: Lochmara Lodge.

Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre is nestled in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Photo: Lochmara Lodge.

The DOC Conservation-in-Action Award recognises the innovation behind the lodge’s Wildlife Recovery Centre, which is funded through sales at the Arts Centre and visitor entry fees.

 

Kakariki at Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre. Photo: Lochmara Lodge.

Kakariki at Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre. Photo: Lochmara Lodge.

Lochmara co-manager Louise Bright said: “We are still wowed by what we have done at Lochmara, but we’re so happy that the judges were wowed by it too.”

Fellow co-manager Shayne Olsen said: “The opportunity for us as members of the public to work alongside the Department of Conservation is great. We think that Lochmara is an example of the progress that can be made when private groups are able to support the work of DOC and be involved actively in conservation and restoration work.”

Other finalists for this year’s DOC Conservation-in-Action Award were Black Cat Cruises and Explore NZ.

DOC and TVNZ 6 filmed a special Meet the Locals episode to celebrate Conservation Week 2010. Meet the Locals is our TV series about New Zealand’s wildlife, wild places and the people working hard to look after them. The special episode played on TVNZ 6 during Conservation Week but if you missed it, don’t worry because you can now watch it online.

In the special our presenter, James Reardon, first takes viewers to Anchor Island where he’s joined by DOC’s Stephen Horn. They check up on Manu the kākāpō and talk about what it takes to move birds back from remote islands to the mainland, for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

DOC's James Reardon and Stephen Horn with Manu the kākāpō.

DOC's James Reardon and Stephen Horn with Manu the kākāpō

He then heads to Whareorino Forest with DOC’s Lisa Daglish to find out more about our unique Archey’s Frogs. Finally, James flies into the Murchison Mountains to talk to DOC’s Linda Kilduff and check on the takahē chicks that were relocated here in 2009, to see how these birds are doing in their new environment.

James and Linda Kilduff talk takahē.

James and Linda Kilduff talk takahē

Watch the Meet the Locals Conservation Week Special on TVNZ 6’s website. Enjoy!

Links:

We have a saying around DOC about our work and that is, “if you’re not working with others, you’re not working”. Around a third of New Zealand’s land is public conservation land, plus there’s marine environments and thousands of native species that we need to protect. Conservation is a massive job so there’s no way DOC can do it alone.

Working with others is a big part of our Conservation Week celebrations too, which start this Sunday, 12 September. TVNZ 6 is our major partner and this is the third year in a row that we’ve worked together. Part of TVNZ 6’s support this year was filming a fantastic television commercial that I just love! You can check it out on DOC’s YouTube channel.

A lot of other organisations support Conservation Week too. Around the country DOC has teamed-up with zoos, wildlife centres, businesses, environmental groups, local and regional councils, recreation groups, volunteers, conservation groups and others to run events and activities in their areas.

Supermarket chain, FreshChoice is also getting in behind the celebrations for Conservation Week. They’re running a competition for customers who spend $100 in one transaction to go in the draw for some Gardening NZ Gift Cards worth $100 each. Each store has one gift card to give away during the week.

To highlight just few events on this Sunday 12 September, there’s a family day at Auckland Zoo, a kids fish fun day at Fish & Game Trout Hatcheries in Rotorua and a weed swap at Civic Square in Wellington. Visit our website to find out more about what’s happening in your area and be part of the team to show New Zealand how much you love it for Conservation Week 2010.

Kia ora!

We’re counting down to the start of our Conservation Week 2010 celebrations from 12-19 September. Conservation Week is an advocacy campaign that we run in partnership with TVNZ 6 and it’s all about showing New Zealand how much you love it by learning about our special places and wildlife, and taking part in activities and events throughout the country.

To help spread the word we created 2 posters. We needed some good images to make them stand out so we grabbed a photographer, rounded up some DOC staff and friends to be our models and set out to stage a beach clean-up and planting – 2 easy things you can do to show Aotearoa you love it. Here’s how it all went down at the beach clean-up photo shoot…

Behind the scenes at the Conservation Week 2010 photo shoot

Pamela practices her beach clean-up pose...

Behind the scenes at the Conservation Week 2010 photo shoot

Robyn and Shelley battle it out for the role of DOC's super(hand)model...

Show your country you love it - Conservation Week poster

Ta-da - the finished product

You can download your own versions of the posters:

Show your country you love it – Conservation Week 2010 poster

Show your natural affection for NZ – Conservation Week 2010 poster

Our wildlife, natural areas and the places that are part of our history are really special.  From them we get places to enjoy, to have adventures and find solitude. But more than that they give us the things we need to be healthy and to live well like fresh water to drink, clean air to breathe and healthy soils to grow our food. They’re also an important part of what makes us who we are as Kiwis and what makes our country so unique.

All of those things are definitely worth celebrating so check out www.conservationweek.org.nz, find out what’s happening in your area and join us to show New Zealand how much you love it!