As New Zealand's 50th Conservation Week is launched, a new survey shows about 40 per cent of adult New Zealanders were involved in conservation activities in the last year and three-quarters believe conservation is important.
The Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, has launched the 50th Conservation Week, or Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa, which has the theme "Nature needs us" and she's encouraging people to get involved in conservation.
Preliminary results from the Department of Conservation's latest survey of New Zealanders released today show many people care deeply about nature and suggests around one-and-half million adult New Zealanders were involved in conservation activities in the last year, Ms Sage said.
The survey shows individuals aged between 18 and 34 were most likely to have participated in conservation activities.
Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed believe conservation is important and 40 per cent were actively involved.
The most common activities people took part in were pest control, native tree planting and restoration, and educating others about the importance of conservation.
“We’ve come a long way since the first Conservation Week in 1969. Some of the biggest conservation triumphs include remarkable turnarounds in the populations of species that were on the verge of extinction,” the minister said.
Fifty years ago, the Chatham Islands’ black robin, tieke/saddleback and kākāpō were in dire straits, with dangerously low numbers.
But intensive conservation work and dedicated people have brought these precious birds back from the brink, Ms Sage said.
This year’s theme “Nature needs us” highlights how much more can be done to secure native plants and wildlife and the places they live, she said.
The global biodiversity crisis is very real in New Zealand, the minister said. More than 4000 of our native plants and animals are threatened, or at risk of extinction, with introduced predators, rats, stoats and possums, being the biggest threat.
“Events around New Zealand for Conservation Week Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa are a great opportunity to get out into nature and connect with our native wildlife, bush, streams, and marine life," Ms Sage said.
Activities include guided walks, trapping workshops, community plantings and beach clean-ups.
Conservation Week runs from September 14 to 22 and there are over 200 events across Aotearoa that people can get involved in.