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Marine reserve announcement 80th birthday gift.

March 24, 2003 – Wellington

Marine reserve announcement 80th birthday gift.


New Zealand’s oldest conservation organization has its 80th birthday on the 28 March 2003. The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand (Inc) was launched as the Native Bird Protection Society on 28 March 1923.

“80 years is a major landmark for any New Zealand organization and a tribute to years of dedication by members, volunteers and staff. I’m proud of the achievements of Forest and Bird over that time,” says Forest and Bird’s President Dr. Gerry McSweeney.

“Eighty years ago New Zealand’s native forests were being clear-felled and burnt, there were no marine reserves and even island wildlife sanctuaries were neglected. Today we see a Department of Conservation working for conservation throughout New Zealand, new marine reserves, a network of island sanctuaries and thousands of New Zealanders involved in the conservation of our unique natural heritage,” he said.

“These are great achievements and only possible because of the hard work of thousands of Forest and Bird members. But the big challenges are not over yet; native birds like kiwi, whio, mohua and wrybill are still declining, native animals are being wiped out in the oceans and new pests creep across the borders,” he said.

“New Zealand will need committed conservation campaigners for many years to come if we are to turn the tide of extinction and decline”.

“Forest and Bird welcomes the Government’s announcement of a new marine reserve at Te Matuka Bay on Waiheke Island. This is a welcome birthday present and is a treasure, not just for Waiheke Island, but for whole country,” he said.

"It is fitting that our newest marine reserve is close to our largest city, Auckland. Forest and Bird has consistently argued that the protection of nature is just as important close to our homes as it is in remote places and there is acute people pressure on marine ecosystems in the inner Hauraki Gulf," he said.

“A new coastal marine reserve is great news”, says Dr. McSweeney. “It breaks the drought in the creation of coastal marine reserves, it will improve the biodiversity of our coast and importantly it is the first of four Forest and Bird marine reserve proposals to be approved. It would be great to see approval of the other three”.

NOTE

The catalyst for Forest and Bird’s formation was advocating for the proper management of the nature reserve on Kapiti Island. In the early 20th century Kapiti Island was overrun by rats. Today, Kapiti Island is one of New Zealand’s premier nature reserves.

Contact: Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager Tel. 04 385 7374, 025 227 8420

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