LIVING PLANET MAGAZINE ISSUE 23

Welcome to the latest Living Planet Magazine, featuring re-homed kōkako and the people standing strong in the face of a new threat to Māui dolphins.

© Matt Binns CC by 2.0

Kōkako return to the maunga

There’s been an exciting homecoming on the maunga! The distinctive kōkako, with its bright blue wattle and haunting call, had not been heard on Mt Pirongia since the 1990’s. This winter, a long-running project by a local conservation group made history in its quest to bring it back.

A grant from WWF-NZ’s Habitat Protection Fund helped Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society carry out pest control to make it safe for the birds to return. Last month several birds were released on the mountain. We were delighted to support this project, together with The Tindall Foundation - together, it’s possible to support projects like this with the help of people like you.

“Being close up to the birds and hearing their utterly divine singing was beyond thrilling. I’m totally stoked that we have finally been able to return them to a safe home, here on their own Mount Pirongia,” said Clare St Pierre, Chair of the Society. Find out more about the release.

© University of Auckland

Seabed mining in Māui dolphin sanctuary

In July, our government approved an application for seabed mining exploration in Māui dolphin sanctuary. Found only on the West Coast of our North Island, Māui dolphins are critically endangered. Scientists estimate there are only 63 adult dolphins left.

Scientists believe there is still hope for the population to recover. But to achieve this, we need to remove the threat from fishing, seismic surveying and mining. That’s why we and four other NGOs urgently wrote to the Minister, calling on her to ensure that marine mining is prohibited where the dolphins roam. 

We also set up a petition urging our government to protect these dolphins. In less than one day, the petition had been signed by over a thousand people. We know Kiwis like you love these dolphins - thank you so much for supporting our work to save them. Please sign and share the petition with your friends

© David Tong / WWF-New Zealand

New Zealanders call for climate action

Aotearoa is getting a new climate law – and it’s all thanks to you! Over 20,000 Kiwis signed a petition asking the government for a law to tackle climate change: the Zero Carbon Act. 

Together with youth organisation Generation Zero and thousands of Kiwis like you, we’ve managed to persuade the new government to agree to pass the Zero Carbon Act. A six-week public consultation period just closed. Almost 15,000 people made a submission, and we hosted and spoke at events in Auckland and Wellington. What’s more, the day before the consultation opened, we delivered an open letter in support of the Zero Carbon Act to Climate Minister James Shaw. Over 200 New Zealand businesses, community organisations, and Kiwi leaders signed the letter.

Now, as the government is writing their version of the Zero Carbon Act, we are working to persuade everyone in Parliament – even the opposition – to support the fairest and most ambitious Zero Carbon Act possible. Together, it’s possible to get our carbon emissions to zero. 

Precious Drops at Parliament

At WWF-New Zealand, we believe that oceans are critical for the health of our planet. There are over 15,000 marine species in our country’s oceans. Scientists estimate another 35,000 are yet to be discovered. Around half the world’s dolphin, whale and porpoise species have been seen in our waters, which also support the greatest number and variety of seabirds in the world. 

That’s why last month, alongside Ngāti Kuri, Forest & Bird and Pew Charitable Trusts, we braved a cold and wet winter’s day to take the message for more protection to our government. We created a lapel pin for each MP, each containing a precious drop of water. We invited them to accept their pin as a show of support for the Kermadec Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary. 

All but nine MPs accepted their pin. Ocean defenders like you have helped us get this close to a sanctuary - but we won’t stop until more of our ocean is protected. Get the full story and see if your local MP accepted a pin.

© © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF

Ethical seafood – from bait to plate

From serious allegations of under-reporting, to revelations about human rights abuses and modern-day slave trafficking, we’re sure you’ve found recent media investigations into the fishing industry as shocking as we have.

At WWF-New Zealand, we believe that together, it’s possible to protect our oceans, the animals that live in it, and the people whose jobs depend on it, too. 

We’re so grateful that wonderful supporters like you enable us to back research and development into blockchain technology that can help provide part of the solution. Right now, we are working with fishing companies in Fiji to ensure fish can be traced from the moment they’re caught, right to our plate. Our CEO Livia wrote an opinion piece in The Spinoff on the topic. 

© CUPA

The incredible people protecting Aotearoa’s nature

Here in New Zealand, our purpose is to help Kiwis turn their passion for nature into action for our environment. Since 2004, we’ve been doing this by supporting local conservation groups. They do fantastic work protecting our unique plants and animals, but they need support.

That’s where we come in. On behalf of the Tindall Foundation, in the last thirteen years we have administered over $4,000,000 in grants to community organisations. This year, organisations from Whale Bay in the far north to Rakiura in the south will receive support for their essential work supporting native birds; restoring waterways and/or controlling predators. 

"We're proud to support passionate Kiwis working hard for our environment,” said Michele Frank, our Innovation and Programme Manager. "These are people who not just love this land but are making a positive impact for our environment." Find out more about our funding, or see a full list of groups we’ve funded.