Kiwis celebrate Conservation Week 2009
31 Aug 2009
Conservation Week 2009 promises some close encounters of the environmental kind as New Zealand celebrates its unique wildlife, natural areas and historic places with many nationwide events.
From 13 - 20 September, many New Zealanders will join in activities at home, school and in the community in what has become the country’s biggest green event.
This year’s ‘Get Involved’ theme will encourage participation and celebrate the efforts of thousands of volunteers and community groups involved in conservation work in New Zealand.
Conservation Week’s guest star is parrot pin up boy Sirocco - one of New Zealand’s rare kākāpo - who will come out of the wild to make a special appearance at Auckland zoo.
Sirocco will be moved from an island sanctuary off the south of the South Island to New Zealand’s biggest city under the careful watch of the Department of Conservation (DOC).
The New Zealand kākāpo is among the world’s largest and most rare parrots, and 12-year-old Sirocco has become a national treasure.
After this year's bumper breeding season, the total population of the native parrot now numbers 124, and the kākāpo conservation story epitomises the world-leading recovery work being undertaken by DOC.
During Conservation Week, DOC and event partner TVNZ will encourage people to get out and about, and learn more about the unique flora and fauna in each region.
Hundreds of events planned throughout New Zealand include:
- a human chain formed around the Whangarei harbour marine reserve in Northland
- tree planting and clean up operations at wildlife sanctuaries including Tiritiri Matangi and Motuihe Islands in the Hauraki Gulf; environmental movie festivals and art exhibitions in Auckland
- ‘teach a kid’ camping experience in Kauaeranga Valley, Waikato
- guided walk and kokako bird spotting in the Kaharoa forest; feeding the tuataras - Rotorua’s resident dinosaurs
- wetland restoration planting, kiwi egg hunt, wild foods cooking competition in the Bay of Plenty
- planting a traditional Māori medicine garden in Ruatoria, on the East Coast
- conservation quiz, and a brown kiwi health check with Napier bush teams
- Whanganui river bird life survey; ‘slugs snails and spider tales’ art exhibition in Palmerston North
- big green family day; coastal dunes discovery, beach clean up in Taranaki
- a visit to Old Government Buildings to view restoration; rock pool and penguin spotting at Owhiro Bay; a weed swap, in Wellington
- tree planting in Pongaroa, Wairarapa, Carterton, Masterton, Greytown and Levin
- traps and trapping workshops in Nelson / Marlborough
- whitebait relay at Hokitika; ‘day at the beach’ events at Hari Hari, Okarito and Greymouth
- opening of Sharplin Falls track, mid-Canterbury; in-depth look at native fish in the Opihi river near Timaru
- ‘ranger for a day’ competition, Coastal Otago; fungi and lichen collection at Catlins river
- Southland community gardening, eco-shopping, Te Anau planetarium visit.
NZ Conservation Week has been an annual event since 1969.
It is coordinated by DOC with input from a wide range of groups including schools, local government, green groups, iwi (local Māori tribes), corporate sponsors, churches and the media.
Messages and themes reflect key conservation priorities and activities, and promotions during the week reflect an increasing commitment to conservation by the community.
The theme for Conservation Week 2009 is ‘get involved’.
There are a many conservation volunteer programmes in New Zealand involving thousands of enthusiasts who help with tasks like bird counts, restoring heritage buildings, habitat restoration, hut maintenance, weed control, whale strandings, tree planting and giving talks.
DOC has volunteer programmes in every region that offer practical opportunities to learn new skills, meet other conservationists, carry out valuable work and enjoy the outdoors.
Rare kakapo on flying visit to Auckland
Bird conservation in New Zealand
Iconic New Zealand native flora
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|Kakapo - native NZ parrot