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Ecosanctuary fundraising almost at halfway mark

12 April 2006

Southern Trust $1 million grant puts Orokonui Ecosanctuary fundraising almost at halfway mark

The Southern Trust has made a $1 million grant to the Otago Natural History Trust to build the pest-exclusion fence at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
The grant puts the total funds raised at around $2.2 million, almost halfway towards the estimated $4.6 million required to fully fund the ecosanctuary project.

Southern Trust Chief Executive Karen Good said the Southern Trust was immensely proud to be able to offer such significant support to an extremely important environmental project like the Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

“We believe that the vision shown by the Otago Natural History Trust in undertaking a major project with such huge benefits for New Zealanders and especially our young people should be applauded,” she said.

“The Southern Trust could not achieve what we do and make these sorts of grants without the support of the wider New Zealand community. The funds available for distribution to not-for-profit organisations support local communities, and that is the positive benefit of non-casino gaming.”

“The Southern Trust anticipates a partnership with the Orokonui Ecosanctuary that will continue in the coming years to assist the Natural History Trust to realize the dream!” said Ms Good.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary fundraising chairman Malcolm Farry said the funding had come at exactly the right time and meant work could begin this year on building the fence.

The exclusion fence is the first stage in ecosanctuary development. It will be over 7 kilometres long, enclosing 250 hectares of the Orokonui Valley. The fence has been designed to keep out all introduced mammalian pests - such as possums, rats and stoats - that destroy our native flora and fauna. Fence construction will followed by a pest eradication programme, thus improving the improving the health of the forest ecosystem and providing safety for vulnerable native fauna.

“The Southern Trust has a group of trustees who believe that our funding should be granted to as diverse a range of organisations as possible. It is our belief that it is just as important to New Zealand society to have access to and preserve our native flora and fauna as it is to fund education, health, welfare, community, amateur sport and the arts,” said Ms Good.

Mr Farry said the ecosanctuary had now raised around $2.2 million mainly through grants, including the Southern Trust’s $1 million, Otago Regional Council’s potential $ 1 million over four years (as proposed in their LTCCP), and $200,000 in other grants, donations and pledges. He said the next step was to seek corporate support to boost funds towards the $4.6 million target.

ENDS

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