Date: 20 April 2012 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson has welcomed the signing of a new commercial partnership that will see the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Air New Zealand work together to protect and promote our unique wildlife and special landscapes.
Officially announced in Auckland today, the partnership will see Air New Zealand fly endangered species to new breeding sites around the country and invest directly in conservation programmes alongside the Great Walks network.
In addition, the airline will use its global marketing network to help DOC promote the Great Walks on both the domestic and international tourism markets.
“I’ve long said that conservation is everyone’s responsibility – not just DOC’s – and it is fantastic that such an iconic kiwi business has got involved,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“This is a natural partnership for DOC, and will allow the department do more for conservation. For example, new biodiversity initiatives on the Great Walk network will boost protection for rare birds and plants and money saved transporting threatened species is directed into field work.”
“There’s also a real conservation gain in encouraging people to get out and experience our Great Walks and National Parks. The Great Walk network returns about $3 million a year to DOC – money that is put back into conservation. People who get out and appreciate New Zealand’s special landscapes also want to protect them.”
“This partnership is a win for everyone.”
The partnership between Air New Zealand and DOC is worth about $1 million annually for three years. Air New Zealand will also contribute staff time, with members of the 3,000-strong Air New Zealand’s ‘Green Team’ set to take part in conservation initiatives.
Under the three year partnership, Air New Zealand and DOC have agreed to work together to:
- Establish a range of new biodiversity and conservation programmes in National Parks to preserve and protect native plants and wildlife along the Great Walks network. The nine great walks include: the Milford Track, the Routeburn Track, the Kepler Track, Abel Tasman Coast Track, the Heaphy Track, the Tongariro Northern Circuit , the Whanganui Journey and the Lake Waikaremoana Track. Projects currently under consideration include new bird and bat protection projects and weed control programmes associated with the Routeburn, Milford, Rakiura, Kepler and Lake Waikaremoana tracks.
- Promote New Zealand’s Great Walks network in the domestic and international tourism markets. Plans include promotion of the Great Walks through Air New Zealand’s inflight and social media channels along with its million strong frequent flyer data base. DOC and Air New Zealand will also work together to develop new flight and hut packages and outdoor group activities on conservation land.
- Formalise support for the transport of threatened species to secure breeding sites around the country. Approximately 200 translocations are carried out each year where DOC transports endangered species - such as, kiwi, kakapo, tuatara and takahe – to safe breeding sanctuaries as part of its active species recovery programmes. Air New Zealand already plays an active role in this process and last week successfully flew eight rare kakapo from Invercargill to Auckland en route to their new home on Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf.