Rachel Hunter welcomes budget cash for kiwi; spotlights other species
Kiwi icon Rachel Hunter has welcomed the government’s decision to allocate more than $11 million for kiwi conservation efforts in this year’s budget. Ms Hunter, who is Patron of Hawke’s Bay-based Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust (FLRT), said the funding was likely to bolster the successes already being delivered by a wide variety of kiwi conservation initiatives across the country.
“One of the things that really struck me when I became involved with the Trust was the wide variety of organisations involved in nurturing and protecting kiwi through each and every stage of their lifecycle,” Ms Hunter said. “A great many Kiwis from every walk of life are involved in protecting our national symbol from obliteration and its fitting that government has chosen to help them.”
Ms Hunter urged the government not to lose sight of the work that’s needed to reverse the decline of less emblematic species of flora and fauna and said this was an area the FLRT would continue to work hard on with the support of DOC and all its other partners whose support and expertise was so vital.
“Conservation in New Zealand can no longer be purely the preserve of government agencies,” Ms Hunter said. “The job’s too big, the battle’s too fierce. Landowners and the private sector all have a role to play.”
In addition to its Maungataniwha Kiwi Project the FLRT runs a restoration project aimed at boosting the wild-grown population of the flamboyant and extremely rare shrub called the Kakabeak, undertakes various pest control and eradication initiatives and assists with the re-introduction of forest birds to previously abandoned habitats. It also helps to establish secure breeding areas for whio (Blue Duck).