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Scientist elected new Forest and Bird President

19 June 2005 - Auckland

Media release for immediate use

Scientist elected new Forest and Bird President


The scientist who first identified painted apple moth in Auckland in 1999 has become the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society’s new President. Forest and Bird announced today that Dr Peter Maddison from the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland was elected as President of the Society at its Annual General Meeting last week.

“Painted apple moth was a huge wake up call for all New Zealand. It reminded us all why effective biosecurity is important to keep out pests and diseases that can harm the environment,” he said. “Effective biosecurity also minimises the need for major intrusive responses like the painted apple moth eradication programme.”

“Forest and Bird’s three main campaign priorities are restoring the dawn chorus and achieving better protection for the High Country and our marine environment.”

“Just in the past week we launched a campaign for six new conservation parks in the South Island High Country, along with Federated Mountain Clubs, and celebrated the establishment of a new conservation park in the Eyre Mountains. In recent months our Save the Albatross campaign has also been successful in urging the Government to require better protection of these majestic seabirds.”

"As President I want to encourage even more New Zealanders to get involved with Forest and Bird. The Society has so much to offer its members.”

“There are field trips every weekend in virtually every New Zealand town and city, and practical conservation projects that restore nature such as Ark in the Park here in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges. By becoming a member, people can also add their voice to New Zealand's most powerful organisation arguing for the preservation our natural heritage."

“Here in Auckland Forest and Bird has a vision of restoring biodiversity over whole region in partnership with other organisations. In the Waitakere Ranges I’m closely involved with “Ark in the Park”, an inspirational project which is part of that vision. Already we have restored the rare New Zealand robin (toutouwai) and whitehead (popokatea) to the Ranges and plan further releases in future.”

“The educational role of the Society is another key priority, especially through Forest and Bird’s very popular Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC), our members’ magazine, Forest & Bird, and our other publications,” he said.

Dr Maddison also paid tribute to outgoing Forest and Bird Society President, Dr Gerry McSweeney, who has led the Society since 2001. "Gerry's inspirational leadership has resulted in many new areas being added to the Conservation Estate - from Kaikoura Island in the Hauraki Gulf to the Korowai-Torlesse Park in the South Island High Country," he said.


Background

Dr. Peter Maddison trained as an entomologist, with a doctorate from Imperial College, London University. He is the first entomologist to become President of the Society. He worked for 15 years in the Pacific Islands on coconut pests and plant quarantine issues; helped develop the pest profiles of seven Pacific Countries, employed by the South Pacific Commission, Food & Agriculture Organization and later DSIR, New Zealand.

In New Zealand, he has worked on quarantine issues associated with trade with the Asian/Pacific region, identifying pests and producing educational material for the Islands. Appointed by the Royal Society as New Zealand representative on the Pacific Science Council.

In 1992 Dr. Peter Maddison was elected to the Waitakere City Council and was involved with the development of its Eco City strategy and policies. He spent six years on the Strategic, Water Issues and District Plan Committees and three years as Chair of the Planning Hearings Committee.

In 1998 he founded Field Studies, a consultancy specialising in insect identification and ecological advice to a range of clients.

Peter Maddison has been a member of the Waitakere and Central Auckland Forest and Bird branch committees over the last fifteen years and a member of Forest and Bird’s executive for the last eight, serving as Deputy President for the last two years.

Ends

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