A focus on conservation

The plight of the southern New Zealand dotterel is among the challenges facing the Southland Conservation Board. Photo: File

Southland/Murihiku is an incredibly special place.

With thousands of hectares of conservation estate on our doorstep and some uniquely wild
places, from Rakiura to Fiordland, the Catlins to Aparima, there’s no doubt we are absolutely blessed with the best.

The challenge is, though, to keep it that way for now and for the future.

The Southland Conservation Board collectively and its members individually, act as advocates for Murihiku’s natural spaces and our taonga species.

As a Board, we are an independent body; in place to provide a voice for local concerns and guided by principles of preservation and protection, advocacy and Tiriti partnership.

We have statutory functions but, more than that, we’re here to speak out for the future of our conservation estate and the species that inhabit it; to ensure it remains as special and incredible as it can possibly be.

We’re nature defenders.

When the conservation estate is increasingly being seen as a commercially attractive proposition for businesses and tourism, we are here to fulfil a guardianship role. We’re not
here to stand in the way of progress for the sake of it, but we have a very strong view that progress must have conservation at its heart.

Around the Board table we have many discussions about issues and challenges that have far-reaching impact and interest.

The plight of the southern New Zealand dotterel, for instance, with just 120 to 150 of these amazing birds remaining.

The proposed wilderness area on Rakiura.

The increase in the numbers of deer which are often decimating the understory of some of our most precious natural spaces.

The impending review of the Fiordland National Park Plan (there is no date as yet, but it is very much on the radar).

These topics and many more – often with a much more positive slant, we promise! – will feature in this monthly column in the Southland Express.

We hope you enjoy it, engage with it and if you would like to share your views, please feel free to email us at southlandconservationboard@doc.govt.nz