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Fiordland Conservation Trust announce first principal patron

A Fiordland conservation group has its sights set on more ground-breaking conservation initiatives following the announcement this week of its first principal patron.

Te Anau-based Fiordland Outdoors Co. has come on board as principal patron of Fiordland Conservation Trust, the conservation group best known for the Kids Restore the Kepler education programme.

Fiordland Outdoors Co. owners Christine and Mark Wallace say the partnership is ‘a perfect match’ given the importance both groups place on active guardianship of Fiordland and its surrounds.

The partnership represents a $30,000 injection into the trust’s annual funding and will have a direct impact on its ability to deliver conservation projects.

“The landscape of conservation is changing,” says Christine. "When business aligns itself alongside social enterprise, we have the ability to make an impact. We took the opportunity to bring our business and the trust together for common goals.”

Fiordland Conservation Trust delivers conservation initiatives throughout Fiordland, Southland and the Sub-Antarctic Islands with the help of sponsorship from supporting businesses and grants. The trust is funded by individual projects, making it a challenge to take a proactive approach to unexplored opportunities.

“With this injection of patronship funds, the trust becomes able to function nimbly on its own,”she says.

“Fiordland Conservation Trust is vital here. Thanks to their actions, we have seen the establishment of a pest eradication programme in Dusky Sound, the Anchor Island spotted kiwi sanctuary and the Sinbad Sanctuary in Milford Sound, to name just a few.”

Fiordland Conservation Trust Chair Murray Willans says: “Thanks to the support of Fiordland Outdoors Co., we can look forward to connecting more people to conservation, doing more to save endangered species and stepping up our contribution to caring for special places.

“Fiordland Conservation Trust and Fiordland Outdoors Co. live in and share a place renowned the world over. The patronship contribution provides us with the ability to investigate new initiatives, grow our capability and ultimately, our overall conservation effort. We are excited about what this means for the future," he says.

“When we see the success of a programme like the Kids Restore the Kepler, we’re reminded of just how vital it is for the trust to continue this type of work in the lower South Island,” Christine adds.

“That programme attracted global interest and a level of buy-in from schools and their communities on a scale that we seldom see. Both organisations are keen to ensure we are not only discovering our natural treasures but doing our best to look after them.”

The guardianship of Fiordland National Park is something particularly close to Christine’s heart, having been a Trustee of the Fiordland Conservation Trust since 2015. She has hiked and explored the area with her family for as long as she can remember.

“Through Fiordland Outdoors Co., we have the ability to showcase this area within the context of its environmental importance. Whether that’s to our team members and their families, the future generation or our international clients.”

Christine hopes the company’s support of the trust will enable greater levels of interest and awareness in conservation efforts from the thousands of tourists visiting the area each year.

© Scoop Media

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