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September 2013

Photo: DOC

Save our Maui’s dolphin 

We need your help to save our critically endangered Maui’s dolphin. At last count in 2010-2011, the population was down to just 55 adults and since then there’s been one confirmed death. Scientists estimate that Maui’s dolphins can only survive one human-related death (these mainly happen through fishing) every 10 to 23 years. Although the government has proposed to extend its marine mammal sanctuary along the west coast of the North Island, it does not go far enough to save this imperilled species.

To make a submission to extend the boundary of the marine mammal sanctuary to include the Maui’s dolphin’s entire range and restrict all known threats, not just gill netting, see
here. Submissions close on 10 October.

Picture: Kotuku, Don Binney

Wild perspective - art to celebrate 90 years of Forest & Bird 

The work of more than 40 of New Zealand's leading artists goes to auction on 10 October to celebrate 90 years of Forest & Bird serving as the voice for nature. Wild Perspective brings together 50 pieces including work by artists Dick Frizzell, Don Binney, Grahame Sydney and a new work by Shane Cotton created especially for this auction. Wild Perspective will culminate in a live auction at Auckland War Memorial Museum on 10 October.

 For those not attending the auction there are two ways to bid -  through an absentee bid which can be sent by email (fundraising@forestandbird.org,nz) or fax  (04 385 7373). Please include the lot description and number of the work you wish to bid on along with your top bid amount. Absentee bids will be accepted up to an hour before the auction begins at 7pm on 10 October.  The other option is a phone bid. Phone bidders need to send contact telephone details prior to 10 October via email or fax. They will be phoned on the night to bid at the live auction. Secure phone numbers, preferably a land line are needed to make a phone bid but a mobile number is possible.
A full catalogue of works including information about placing an absentee or phone bid is available at

Last year's winner, the karearea. Photo Craig McKenzie.

Bird of the Year 

Our annual birdy popularity poll kicks off in less than eleven days! In this year’s competition, several celebrity campaigners and creative teams will be throwing their weight behind some of our threatened native tweeters. They include Hayley Holt (fairy tern), Weta Workshop (weta), Barnaby Weir (kereru) and Wallace Chapman (shining cuckoo). Indeed, kakariki campaigner and Green MP Eugenie Sage has already jumped the gun and produced this dramatic video here

As well as receiving the crowning glory of being voted NZ’s most popular bird, this year’s winner will have its image printed on to a line of Tumbleweed Tees. To vote, go here www.birdoftheyear.org.nz after 30 September. 

Photo: A Denniston BioBlitzer. David Brooks.

Denniston field trip 

Emeritus Professor in plant ecology Sir Alan Mark and Forest & Bird’s Top of the South Field Officer, Debs Martin, will be leading a day trip to the threatened Denniston Plateau on 30 September. The tour will cover the proposed mine site as well as other key biodiversity hot spots. Participants will get the chance to meet threatened green geckoes, powelliphanta snails and great spotted kiwi that live on this dramatic, windswept plateau. Those interested will have to provide their own accommodation and transport. Register your interest with Debs Martin (d.martin@forestandbird.org.nz). 

Double trouble for Government's quest to gut the RMA 

The United Future and Maori parties, both government coalition partners, have withdrawn their support for the planned changes to the principles of the Resource Management Act. A joint statement from the parties said that commercial interests should not be able to override the environmental principles of the RMA, and that the RMA’s core emphasis on sustainability must remain.  The two parties have put the government on notice that there is widespread determination to stand up for the RMA, and all that it does for us as New Zealanders. 

But of course the threat to the RMA is still very real. There’s still a high likelihood that a draft of a bill will come out later this year that would still fundamentally change the nature of the RMA. If that happens, the best and only option for keeping New Zealand the way we like it will be for the public to make submissions on the proposed bill, once submissions open. Please watch this space! Forest & Bird would like to thank all its supporters, and particularly those who have donated so generously to our ongoing RMA appeal, for enabling us to carry out the groundwork needed to help save the RMA.

Photo: Denniston Plateau, Craig Potton.   

Another court blow for Denniston ... but the highest judge in the land agrees that we have a point 

The Supreme Court has released its decision on an appeal – to which Forest & Bird was a party – that the consequences of climate change should be accounted for when consent is being considered for developments that will generate greenhouse gases. The Court found against us. This has obvious implications for the Denniston Plateau, which was core to our case. But Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, the most senior judge in the country, agreed with our argument in her minority judgement that the effects of climate change should be considered in such consents. You can read  more about the case here

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