Conservation more than saving kiwis

by Anonymous Author

Lincoln University DesignLab director Mick Abbott wants New Zealanders to look beyond the birds and think about our protected natural areas.

Associate Professor Abbott is an organiser of PA2050, a conference at Lincoln University this week, which has some high-profile speakers to address the issues and help chart a strategy to keep them protected.

One of the things he wants to come out of the conference is to find whether New Zealanders are too focussed on iconic species rather than restoring whole ecosystems.

“With over eight million hectares of public conservation lands, the challenge of looking after our special places is enormous,” he said.

“We need to keep questioning just what is our long-term vision for protected areas.”

He also wants to find out about the effectiveness of connecting young New Zealanders and New Zealanders in general to conservation values.

“This also includes our marine areas, which span the land, freshwater, marine and Antarctic environments, for which we are kaitiaki,”

The conference title, PA2050, is a reference to the Government’s 2050 predator-free policy, but goes further, asking how the land itself will be managed to ensure biodiversity and well-being.

Among the speakers are the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, DOC director-general Lou Sanson and the chair of the New Zealand Tourism Board Kerry Prendergast, who is also chair of the Environmental Protection Authority.