Like most New Zealanders, we’re proud of our natural environment. We’re even in awe of it.
We should probably spend less time talking about nature and more time actually wandering through it and breathing it all in. In that spirit, Air New Zealand has joined forces with the Department of Conservation to preserve and protect some of our country’s most inspiring natural locations.
So with all of that said to celebrate Conservation Week between 8 – 15 September we are supporting the Department of Conservation and encouraging New Zealanders to get outdoors and get amongst nature.
Over 130 Air New Zealand employees between Auckland and Wellington are pledging their support for Conservation Week and will ‘Get out and walk’ at some of their favourite spots.
Our partnership with DOC focuses on supporting conservation biodiversity projects in the vicinity of the Great Walks, and also promotes the Great Walks – We’re helping to preserve and enhance these unique places that every Kiwi should try to experience in their lifetime. Why not make a Great Walks pledge for Conservation Week?
You can visit the Conservation Week website for more information and all the action and keep a close eye on Air New Zealand’s social media channels. Word has it that the Air New Zealand Fairy has some conservation themed goodies to give away!
Conservation matters every minute of every day of every week. But for all that, welcome to Conservation Week. It’s a week when we focus public attention on conservation and this year our theme is around getting whānau involved.
We want conservation to be a family affair. Actually, we want it to be something that all New Zealanders engage in across all of New Zealand.
That’s fundamentally why DOC has been making changes to the way we work. We want to help New Zealanders understand, much better than we do now, that we all need to take care of our native plants, animals and special places so that they can take care of us.
DOC has a special job to do looking after the public conservation land and our native plants, animals and birds and we will continue to take the lead on that. But it isn’t enough. Fencing off a place where the forest is healthy, the bird song is loud and the river runs crystal clear means there is a place where New Zealanders can go to see our natural environment as it was before people and pests stuffed it up. That’s important. But it can’t stop there. We have to make sure the whole river system is healthy, from the mountains to the sea and in to the marine environment. That task is beyond DOC alone. We need to work with community groups, iwi, local government, business, private landowners, and you if we are going to succeed.
The challenge New Zealand faces is not just to claim the Clean Green brand, but live it. We’re a bit mixed on that front at present, and it’s going to take some effort from all of us to get nature in a healthy state and functioning well everywhere. We need to stop making the value of nature invisible; and when we take from nature we need to give back. It’s about balance and harmony.
DOC has gone through a tough period of change over recent years to adjust to that challenge. The change is complete and now we’re in to making it happen. You know our staff. They are passionate, committed, capable, highly skilled and knowledgeable. They have always made a positive difference for New Zealand. Now they are fit and ready to make an even bigger difference.
It’s a fresh start under fresh leadership. That means I’m leaving and this is my last week. It is time for me to let go and hand the reigns to DOC’s new Director-General Lou Sanson. Lou has been Chief Executive of Antarctic New Zealand for the last 11 years but he comes out of DOC’s stable. He knows the business, loves it, and is committed to implementing the course we have set.
DOC is in good shape and in good hands.
I know not everyone agrees with the direction I have led DOC in. You can’t reorganise around a bold, ambitious new approach and expect no criticism. And we need critics because that keeps us on our toes and forces us to question and improve.
Te Papanui Conservation Park
But the conservation movement doesn’t have time to sit around and endlessly argue the toss. There is an urgent need to address New Zealand’s environmental performance and DOC has a strong place in meeting the challenge. It is a time to be ambitious and push beyond our comfort zone.
It is a time for conservationists to, as the Irish poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who passed away recently, so elegantly put it: “Walk on air against your better judgement”.
One of the beautiful beaches on Great Barrier Island
I’ve heard Great Barrier Island described as a remote, tranquil and untouched paradise. My Auckland friends who are lucky enough to holiday there induce jealousy every summer by raving about the pristine beaches, the unique wildlife and the relaxed vibe of the island – if you are reading this I’m still waiting for my invite!
The island boasts scenic mountain biking trails, walking tracks that weave through coastal forests, and isolated coves to snorkel and explore. It’s also perfect for those who want to do a bit of boating, kayaking or fishing. If all that sounds a bit too exhausting, there is always the chance to retreat to the Kaitoke Hot Springs to relax at the end of the day.
There are plenty of activities to do on the island like mountain biking and kayaking
All you have to do to win is to make a pledge for Conservation Week, it’s nothing too strenuous. Simply head to the Conservation Week website, choose a nature-related activity for your pledge and fill in the form. Your pledge can be as simple as changing your Facebook cover photo or something ambitious like planning a Great Walk.
What’s your whānau doing for Conservation Week?
There are also loads of great spot prizes to be given away to those who share their pledges through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest using #pledgefornz. So what are you waiting for? Head over and make your pledge today.