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Conservationist Wins Unesco Peacebuilder Award


Northland Leader And Conservationist Wins Unesco Peacebuilder Award

Northland community leader and conservationist Kevin Prime of Ngati Hine is today being awarded the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO's Peacebuilder Award.

UNESCO has established the Peacebuilder Award to draw attention to the United Nations International Year for the Culture of Peace. The Award is being made every month until the end of the year to show the many diverse ways in which people contribute to building peace in our society.

The Award is to be presented to Mr Prime at 2pm today by Pat Lynch, the Chairman of the Steering of the Steering Committee for the International Year, in a special ceremony at the Bay of Islands College where Mr Prime is Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Mr Lynch said Mr Prime was an extraordinary leader in many fields - in education, in health, in conservation and in justice and employment.

"He is also the father of 13 children. He seems to have more energy than an entire All Black team. He is a real taonga, a messenger of peace who has provided the leadership, vision, energy and commitment to make positive things happen for the people of Tai Tokerau and the environment of the far North."

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is keen to draw particular attention to Mr Prime's outstanding efforts in conservation because preservation of the planet is an integral part of the creation of a culture of peace. In the 'Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence', which it is hoped will contain 100 million signatures from all over the world when it is presented to the United Nations General Assembly in September, individuals are asked to work for peace by respecting life, rejecting violence and preserving the planet.

Item 5 of the Manifesto asks people to pledge to "promote consumer behaviour that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature on the planet."

Around one quarter of the world's mammals and more than one tenth of birds are at high risk of extinction. With development often leading to the destruction of wild habitats, there is increasing understanding that a holistic approach to management of the planet is necessary, Mr Lynch said. "In this small corner of the earth Kevin Prime has shown the way. His dynamic leadership has provided the vision to drive the restoration of the Motatau Forest and the control of pests to allow the survival of the kukupa (the native wood pigeon). This project is achieving spectacular results."

For further comment please contact:

Pat Lynch, Chair NZ Steering Committee for a Culture of Peace - Tel: (04) 496 1739

Elizabeth Rose, Secretary, NZ National Commission for UNESCO - Tel: (04) 499 1004


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