On World Conservation Day, New Zealand celebrates the work
undertaken to protect some of the country’s most precious species and their homes
is a paradise for flora and fauna, and unique due to its evolution in
isolation for millions of years. Today, On July 28, World Conservation
Day, New Zealand
acknowledges all the inspiring individuals protecting species,
passionate about preserving and celebrating them in the only place they
exist, for future generations.
Take a sneak peek into the wonderful work done to conserve New Zealand’s indigenous species.
Graeme Atkins, Tairāwhiti
Graeme Atkins listened to tales from his grandmother as a child, he had
no idea he would later make his career from them. Working as a ranger
the Department of Conservation for the last 30 years, Graeme protects
some of New Zealand’s rarest plants and most remarkable lands.
passion for taonga (treasure) and rongoā (traditional Māori medicine
and medicinal use of plants), his protection for rare native plants such
kakabeak/ngutukaka, the native iris mikoikoi, and dactylanthus plus his
advocacy for restoring the health of the forests of the Raukūmara Range
led him to receive New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award
last year, the Loder Cup. The Minister of Conservation
at the time, Eugenie Sage called him “a true kaitiaki for indigenous biodiversity”
Graeme's work and advocacy for restoring the health of the forests of the Raukūmara Range has helped secure a $34 million investment in Te Raukūmara Pae Maunga project.
of our plants grow only in New Zealand. Not to mention all the insects,
lizards, bats, and birds that live nowhere else. Natives have to come
first. Once we’ve lost special things from here, they’re gone for good.
We have a moral responsibility to do what we can to get them to stay
around for future generations.”
Bradley Shields, Nelson Tasman
not common to identify a new bird population before you’re 18 years
old. But Bradley Shields isn’t your average teenager. Noticing
the mud on the edge of a swamp in an area of Nelson Tasman called
Hadfield’s Clearing, it sparked an idea in Bradley to set up trail
cameras and find out if his prediction of new a population was accurate.
of a large kahikatea swamp in the area, it’s very rough and difficult
to get into. It takes an hour to travel 100m. You get mud up to your
knees in most parts, and you can’t see more than a metre in front of
you at times.”
a month later they collected the cameras, and the footage confirmed the
spotless crake was present. It’s a significant discovery for a bird at
risk due to its declining numbers, and a notoriously secretive species.
passion is contagious, and it started at around 14 years old when he
began noticing the remarkable wildlife in New Zealand and doing some
Bradley keeps a list of what he spots every time he goes out, his
current tally of New Zealand bird species is 157. Next on his wish list
is the extremely secretive and relatively unstudied marsh crake.
Angus Stubbs, Speleologist, Waitomo
Stubbs is a caveman. As the Operations and Health & Safety Advisor
at Discover Waitomo, he spends much of his life in the subterranean
family have been in Waitomo for five generations, and having been born
and raised in Waitomo, stalactites have been a part of his life as long
he can remember. The Stubbs family have helped sustain the land around
the caves to ensure its protection and regeneration for future
generations, as well as sustain the precious glow worm population. When
he was young, local cavers would tie ropes around
him and lower him into holes to see where they led.
is passionate about sharing the cave world they've created with others.
He thinks the people that make it to New Zealand are up for everything
loving life. He has guided Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson,
Hilary Clinton, and Katy Perry.
devoted Tolkien fan, many of the sound effects for The Lord of the
Rings trilogy were filmed in Ruakuri Cave. His daughter, Pippin, is even
Frodo's Hobbit companion.
caves, which celebrated 125 years of guiding last year, are one of New
Zealand's original and most visited tourist attractions. From peaceful
walks to the extreme black water rafting adventures, there are many
ways to explore this subterranean playground. Ruakuri Cave, opened 10
years ago, is the newest of these magnificent adventure playgrounds.
daily life includes rappelling into caves, ziplining in the dark
through glow worms and tubing down rapids to climb up a waterfall to
Angus, the underworld feels like home.
Ulva Goodwillie, Ulva Island
Ulva Island is the southern-most bird sanctuary in the world, and for Ulva Goodwillie it’s also her namesake.
Island is a small island, about 3.5km long lying within Paterson Inlet,
part of Stewart Island/Rakiura. Almost all 267 hectares of it are part
Rakiura National Park, and it remains one of the few predator-free
sanctuaries in New Zealand, a haven for threatened wildlife.
runs guided walks on the island, making the most of the environment
that Department of Conservation and the Ulva Island Charitable Trust
to sustain. Their proactive conservation efforts along with the people
of Rakiura have created a thriving, natural habitat. Also playing a
vital role is Detector Gadget, a rodent detector dog who keeps the
island free of introduced pests and predators.
have superb bird life because the bush is original, and there’s more
than enough food for everybody. Birds that used to be in the canopy come
lower and lower as there’s nothing that’s going to impact on their
Here are some fun facts about New Zealand and its ecosystem
- 80% of trees, ferns and flowering plants are found only in New Zealand
- 10-15% of the total land area of New Zealand is covered with native flora
- Four of the native birds are flightless; kakapo parrot, the kiwi, the takahe, and the world's largest bird, the moa - which is now extinct!
- The world's rarest dolphin, the Hector's dolphin, is found only in New Zealand
- There are 14 national parks and 34 marine reserves in New Zealand
- Over 70% of New Zealand birdlife lives only in New Zealand