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Govt funds int'l centre for eco-restoration

1 July 2005

Govt funds international centre for eco-restoration

An international centre for Biodiversity and Eco-restoration is to be built at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, in Wellington, New Zealand as a result of an important investment by the government, Education Minister Trevor Mallard and Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs announced today.

"I'm very pleased to announce that Wellington’s Victoria University has been granted $872,000 through the tertiary education sector’s Innovation and Development Fund for its "Developing Eco-restoration Capability" project," Trevor Mallard said.

"This project is about developing professional management and restoration of indigenous ecosystems, using research as a basis. To protect our flora and fauna, including endangered species, it is essential to get the environment right.

"This project is an excellent reflection of our government's strong commitment to develop innovation in the tertiary education sector, backed by strong research and good collaboration between our top academic researchers, tertiary institutions and other partners. Victoria University and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary will initially collaborate with Massey University, Landcare Research and the Department of Conservation.

"This is also a perfect fit with our commitment to conservation and the New Zealand environment, " Trevor Mallard said.

Marian Hobbs said the new centre would add real value to the conservation work going on in Wellington, and also to tertiary education in the city.

"Wellington has been chosen as the site for this project because it is close to all the major types of conservation and endangered species projects, including Kapiti, Mana and Matiu/Somes Islands, Mt Bruce sanctuary for captive breeding, and the wetlands habitat restoration at Pauatahanui," Marian Hobbs said.

"Wellington is also the only place in New Zealand, and one of the few in the world, where a university and a wildlife sanctuary are co-located. This means students will be immersed in university teaching and research, alongside on-site practice and applied research at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary," she said.

The grant will cover the cost of building the centre as well as the salaries of teaching staff. Four undergraduate scholarships, worth $20,000 each, will be established and the centre will host an international conference on ecosystem restoration.

"Students will study for a Masters of Science in Ecological Restoration. The qualification will involve a multi-disciplinary approach with biology as the core discipline, supported by social science, other science disciplines, business and tourism. It is envisaged that this centre will produce skilled graduates for the emerging international eco-restoration industry," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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