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Yvonne Sharp appointed to the QE II National Trust

Yvonne Sharp appointed as trustee of the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Board

Far North District Council Mayor, Yvonne Sharp has been appointed as a trustee to the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Board

“Ms Sharp’s appointment is seen as significant as having a trustee with such extensive local body experience will be of immense value to the Board,” said the Trust’s Chief Executive, Margaret McKee.

Northland is a significant region with a wide range of ecosystems, some of which have been lost entirely, and other remnants that have been substantially modified. Much of the flat land in the area is now used for agriculture, but in the past would have comprised a diversity of wetlands, podocarp or swamp forests. Most of the hill country has been logged, and the coastal areas are under intense pressure.

Yvonne Sharp has strong roots in rural Northland. Born in the district, her family had a keen appreciation of the wonders of the New Zealand bush.

“My early interest in conservation came from my father who had a remarkable knowledge of our native bush. He had a remedy for just about every ailment made from plants and seeds,” Yvonne Sharp said.

Yvonne Sharp is a member of the New Zealand Kiwi Foundation and lives just ten minutes away from Aroha Island Ecological Centre and hears kiwi calling from metres from her window. “I am fortunate to have family owning property in the heart of kiwi country in the North, but I am sad that kiwi numbers have been so greatly depleted by the removal of habitat and also by the huge increase in the number of kiwi predators.”

In her mayoral work, Yvonne has promoted working with landowners to recognise and protect outstanding natural features. Her Council has adopted an accord with rural landowners and has a dedicated team committed to achieving a balance between sustainable development and protection of natural assets.

She says “With a land area of almost 7,500 square kilometres, and a coastline of 1,700 kilometres, the Far North district abounds in areas of great significance locally, regionally and nationally. But, it must be maintained and managed in a sustainable way for future generations.

“My aim is to leave a legacy for generations to come - a legacy to ensure future residents and visitors will enjoy the Far North in no lesser way, and hopefully even better, than we do today.

“I am delighted to share my conservation values and to extend by influence to the whole of New Zealand through my participation as a trustee of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust,” Yvonne Sharp said.

Further information: Freephone 0508 732 878 www.qe2.org.nz

QE II Key facts

1. The Trust is a statutory organisation independent from government and managed by a Board of Directors.
2. The Trust was established by its own Act of Parliament in 1977. The legislation is visionary and unique to New Zealand.
3. Farmers were the moving force behind the establishment of the Trust
4. The Act provides a legal mechanism to secure protection of natural features on private land-an open space covenant.
5. The landowner retains ownership and management of the land
6. Natural features protected include landscapes, bush remnants, wetlands, coastlines, lakes, forests, geological features, and cultural heritage. The protection of natural features and the natural character of our land benefits all New Zealand.
7. A covenant is a voluntary, legally binding protection agreement. It is registered on the title of the land and binds the current and all subsequent landowners.
8. The right of public access is at the discretion of the landowner.
9. Most covenants are in perpetuity.
10. In 2003/04 the Trust will receive Government funding of $2.983m, will approve 300+ new covenants and visit 850+ covenants and covenantors.
11. As at 30 June 2003, there were 1,752 registered covenants, (63,929 ha) and 351 approved covenants (13,910 ha) progressing towards registration.
12. The Trust owns 26 properties. (These have been gifted.)
13. The average size of a covenant is 35 hectares, the largest is 6,500 ha.
14. Covenants can be found from the Far North to Stewart Island, from sea level to above the bush line.
15. Establishing covenants can attract funding assistance for landowners from the Trust and/or local government.
16. Covenanted land can attract rates remissions under the local Government Act (Ratings Powers)Act 2002.
17. The Trust visits and monitors each covenant every second year (or when the ownership changes).
18. The decline in indigenous biodiversity has been halted or reversed in over 95 percent of covenants
19. 82 per cent of the landowners exceed the agreed terms and conditions of their covenants.
20. Less than 3 per cent of covenants require remedial action to maintain the integrity of the covenant.
21. Over 50 per cent of covenants have changed ownership since the original Covenantor. (Change of ownership is proven not to put the integrity of the covenant at risk.)
22. Protecting bush and wetlands assists practical land management, ecosystem health and farm productivity.
23. More and more people are purchasing land with the primary motivation of ecological restoration/conservation.
24. The Trust is a membership organisation. New members are welcome.
25. The Trust is a registered charity and accepts gifts and donations for its work.
26. The Trust employs 27 people including 18 (part time) regional field representatives.
27. CEO Margaret McKee
28. Chairperson Sir Brian Lochore

Freephone 0508 732 878

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