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Launch of Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative celebrated

Media release

4 November 2016

Launch of Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative in New Zealand celebrated

The launch of New Zealand’s contribution to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative, a pan-Commonwealth forest conservation programme, was celebrated today by Her Excellency, Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand, at Mt Lyford Lodge, Waiau in North Canterbury.

The event celebrated the registration of Mount Terako Covenant, New Zealand’s first QCC covenant, established by Sue and Peter Turnbull in partnership with the QEII National Trust.

The QCC initiative is a partnership between The Palace, the Royal Commonwealth Society, and a rainforest charity called Cool Earth. It aims to create a network of rainforest and native forest conservation programmes throughout the Commonwealth and show that, ‘irrespective of geography, economy, culture or tenure, solutions exist to the threats facing these most critical of ecosystems’.

It was announced by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in November 2015. It was established to mark Her Majesty’s long reign and dedication to the Commonwealth.

All member countries of the Commonwealth were invited to contribute to the initiative.

New Zealand was one of the first Commonwealth countries to support the initiative.

In November 2015, Prime Minister John Key announced that New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC initiative would be the allocation of $1 million over 3 years to the QEII National Trust to help it extend the network of covenants protecting native forests on private land.

The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy said that while New Zealand was fortunate to have beautiful wilderness areas, they cannot be taken for granted. She hoped more people would be inspired to support the QCC initiative in New Zealand.

‘This QCC will be a lasting legacy of Her Majesty’s leadership of the Commonwealth.

‘I am delighted to help celebrate the QCC launch and registration of the Mt Terako covenant. This will protect the natural values of a precious forest ecosystem, and align with moves to protect indigenous forests throughout the Commonwealth,’ Dame Patsy said.

National Trust Chair, James Guild, said the National Trust was honoured to be selected by the Government to fulfil New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC.

‘We have been helping protect special natural and cultural heritage sites on private land ever since we were set up to do so in 1977. Being handed the responsibility for this fund is a vote of confidence in our work and what we have been able to achieve in partnership with private landowners.

‘More importantly, the fund gives us the opportunity to work with more landowners like the Turnbulls to permanently protect more of our unique and vulnerable native forest ecosystems on private land,’ he said.

Sue and Peter Turnbull purchased their Mount Terako farm in 1994. They said the area now permanently protected with a QCC open space covenant really appealed to their hearts when they viewed the property to buy.

‘We look out over to Mount Terako from the farmhouse — the view is spectacular, especially when there is snow on the top of the mountain.

‘Over the 21 years we lived on the farm, family and friends have enjoyed the area for walking, picnicking, and listening to the beautiful forest birds.

‘We are really proud to have established this covenant and that it has been recognised as being very special in New Zealand. It is protected now for many more generations to enjoy,’ they said.

The Turnbulls hope publicity of the Mt Terako Covenant launch will encourage an appreciation of the importance of the country’s native forests and just how much farming community does to help conserve New Zealand’s biodiversity.

New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC, including the Mr Terako covenant, will feature at an event being held at Buckingham Palace later in November to showcase the progress of the QCC initiative throughout the Commonwealth.

ENDS

More information

See attached information sheet

QEII National Trust website

www.openspace.org.nz

Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy website

www.queenscommonwealthcanopy.org

BACKGROUND_information_for_QCC_event.docx

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