Rich Site Summary/XML feeds for | WWF New Zealand

Rich Site Summary/XML feeds for

WWF-New Zealand: News

  • WWF Reacts to the Threat Management Plan: Hope for Māui & Hector's Dolphins

    Maui's Dolphins<br />© Silva Scarli

    WWF-New Zealand welcomes the Government's new Threat Management Plan to address the threats Māui and Hector's dolphins face. It is a positive step towards, ultimately, removing all human-based threats to the habitat of the critically endangered Māui and Hector's Dolphins, while also supporting fishers and their communities.

    "WWF has advocated for the restoration of the Māui and Hector's dolphins for over 15 years. We've called on successive Governments to remove all human-based threats from their habitat. New science clearly states immediate and significant threat reduction is essential to ensuring the survival of Māui dolphins, in particular, which are hovering on the brink of extinction. Unfortunately, previous governments have dragged their feet," says WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy.

    Ms. Esterhazy continues, "We congratulate the Government today for taking real action for Māui and Hector's dolphins. An additional rollout of cameras on boats, an extension of fishing closures with transitions for fishers, expanded marine mammal sanctuaries, and a toxoplasmosis action plan are all things we advocated for in our submission with our Option 5 partners. This is the Government's first real step towards threat reduction since 2013. However, there's still a long journey to secure their future.

    The biggest continued threat these rare taonga face is inaction. WWF commits to continue working with all who are willing to take action to remove remaining human-based threats including the remaining set-nets, trawling threats, land-based threats (including toxoplasmosis), existing seismic surveying permits, and seabed mining throughout the habitat. We also commit to utilising innovation and increasing the level of scientific data available to all."

    WWF-New Zealand, Sanford, Moana, will continue our existing successful collaboration and to build on our 2016 Māui Dolphin Protection Plan, with additional support from the Endangered Species Foundation. We stand ready to work with the Government to find comprehensive solutions for our dolphins. Together, it's possible to build a future in which people are living in harmony with nature.


    For interview requests, please contact: Caroline Hall Bruner, WWF-New Zealand Media & Content Manager, 021-550-710

    Click here to read our Option 5 submission.

    Click here to read our Q + A, also attached below.

    WWF-New Zealand

    WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries and territories. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. We aim to do this by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF has been working in New Zealand since 1975.

    Find us at and follow us on Twitter @WWFNewZealand


    Our collaborative approach to saving Māui dolphins:

    Moana New Zealand, Sanford, and WWF-New Zealand have partnered together over recent years in efforts to save Māui Dolphins. Collaborations include developing the Māui Dolphin Protection Plan (MDPP) in 2016; and a joint submission for the Māui and Hector's dolphin Threat Management Plan (TMP) in 2019. This joint submission was called Option 5.


    About the Partners:

    Moana New Zealand

    Moana New Zealand has been built through the collective efforts of many and is the country's largest Iwi-owned seafood company. Iwi are the true guardians of the world's most pristine and sustainably managed fisheries. Moana New Zealand has a deep sense of responsibility to all people and respect for kaimoana, and is dedicated to contributing to the wellbeing of future generations. It connects the world to the true taste and rare magic of New Zealand's best kaimoana.

    Sanford Ltd

    Sanford is New Zealand's oldest and largest seafood company - Sanford has been listed on the New Zealand stock market since 1924. Sanford are focused on sustainability and on maximising the value of the resources we gather from our oceans, enabling long term value creation from oceans teeming with life. Sanford sites can be found in eleven locations around New Zealand and we are a team of 1700 staff and sharefishers across the country. Sanford are committed to innovation: Sanford have a team of scientists whose mission is to find new ways to make the most of the life-enhancing properties of seafood, from anti-inflammatory supplements to skin-nurturing collagen. Our latest annual report can be found here.

  • Background Q+A on the Māui and Hector's dolphin Threat Management Plan

    Maui's dolphin, New Zealand. In 2008/9, the fishing industry launched a legal bid to block vital new protection for Hector's and Maui's dolphins. WWF's campaign to stop the extinction of the species continues.<br />© Will Rayment

    Māui and Hector's dolphin Threat Management Plan background Q & A


    What is the Threat Management Plan (TMP) Process?

    The Threat Management Plan (TMP) proposed options were launched by the Government in June 2019. These options are the government's suggested solutions to save Hector's and Māui dolphins, among the world's rarest mammals, from a range of human-induced threats. They identified these threats to include: fishing, seismic surveying, and the disease toxoplasmosis. The TMP will change the way the Government manages the threats facing Hector's and Māui dolphins.

    Per Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the options include:
    • extending current restrictions on trawling and set netting in areas where Hector's and Māui dolphins live
    • increasing the boundaries of marine mammal sanctuaries
    • placing further restrictions on seismic surveying and seabed mining in areas where Hector's and Māui dolphins live
    • developing an action plan to address the threat from the disease toxoplasmosis, which has emerged as a possible significant human-induced threat.

    The consultation process closed 19 August 2019.


    What is Option 5?

    Option 5 is a joint submission - developed in collaboration by WWF-New Zealand, and two fishing companies Sanford Ltd. and Moana NZ - on the Government's TMP proposals 2019. We took this collaborative approach to build on our successful conservation action the Māui Dolphin Protection Plan (MDPP) and to help our partners go even further to remove threats.

    Option 5 calls for a holistic threat management plan. It sets out proposals for removing dangerous fishing nets from Māui dolphin habitat, and actions to address threats such as toxoplasmosis, pollution, oil & gas exploration, and the effects of climate change. It also proposes the development of powerful new technologies and tools to gather better intelligence about Māui dolphins and their habitat.

    The joint proposals are focused on effective protection of both Māui dolphins and the people affected by the necessary conservation action. They include:

    • Fisheries restrictions in line with the Government's fisheries threat reduction goal, and full government support for a just transition for those affected
    • Gathering vital data and building science about how and where to focus threat management. This includes developing technology that could enable real-time monitoring of dolphins. Plus, new conservation actions, to be rolled out by the Option 5 fishing partners across their fishing vessels and their contractors, that will use cutting edge science and technology to reduce fishing threats to Māui dolphins; and
    • Implementing new dolphin-safe education programs to go along with the new technology-enabled fisheries threat management tools.
    • Research plan of action to address other threats to Māui dolphins, such as toxoplasmosis.

    Regardless of decisions made by the Government in this new TMP, Moana and Sanford are committed to implementing the restricted fishing zones and many other recommendations in Option 5.


    Why did WWF-New Zealand collaborate with industry to make Option 5?

    The critically vulnerable state of the tiny Māui dolphin population means we have to pull out all the stops. This includes working with all groups who want to make a positive difference. For 15 years, we have called for immediate Government action to remove threats from the entire Māui dolphin habitat. Due to inaction by successive governments, we worked with Moana and Sanford fishing companies who were proactive and ready to take real action.

    By working with our fishing partners, we have already achieved real threat removal and want to build on this success. Together we developed a joint submission on the Government's TMP proposals, which built up on the success of the 2016 Māui Dolphin Protection Plan (MPDD), and have helped our partners go even further to remove the remaining fisheries threats to Māui dolphins.

    Major conservation benefits we have been able to achieve with our fishing partners include: the stopping of set netting and selling of fish caught by set nets by all Moana and Sanford fishers within the Māui dolphin habitat; and commitments to remove conventional trawling from the entire habitat from 2022.

    WWF-New Zealand wants all dolphin unsafe fishing removed from the habitat and a just transition to dolphin-safe fishing for affected communities. WWF's collaborative relationship with industry leaders gives us the unique opportunity to help drive change from within the industry towards this goal.

    What about Hector's Dolphins?

    Māui dolphins are on the brink of extinction, the most endangered population of marine dolphins in the world, which is why we primarily focused on them with our partners. However, Hector's populations are also at risk from multiple threats, and WWF-New Zealand made a separate substantial submission focused on Hector's Dolphins. We proposed reducing fishing mortality to enable thriving resilient populations and connectivity between populations, utilising real-time intelligence gathering, and building science to inform effective management of non-fisheries threats.


    How deadly is toxoplasmosis?

    Not enough is known about the disease toxoplasmosis, but we do know it is killing Māui and Hector's dolphins. Māui dolphin population modelling, by world renowned modeller Justin Cook, clearly shows we need to reduce all human threats, including toxoplasmosis, by 50%- 75% in the next ten years to stop extinction while committing to significant threat reduction in the next five years. New Zealand must commit to building our knowledge of the effects of toxoplasmosis. We must then take this knowledge and implement swift, effective action to mitigate its negative impacts.

    Option 5 called for the establishment of a Toxoplasmosis Research and Communications Agency to enable expert collaboration and information sharing about toxoplasmosis, build essential knowledge, and establish and implement an effective research and management plan to:
    • identify the strain/s of toxoplasmosis lethal to dolphins and other native species;
    • identify where lethal strain/s (geographical or animal-specific) are located – and how and where those strains are entering waterways;
    • collaborate with industry to assess and adapt existing diagnostic tools (such as the fluorescence polarisation assay used for diagnosis and control of brucellosis) or create new tools to establish if potential hot spots of contamination can be ring fenced for targeted management;
    • research toxoplasmosis vaccines and assess their suitability for New Zealand conditions

    How will real-time monitoring be accomplished?

    Cameras on boats and observers on vessels are a good start for gathering data on Māui dolphins and fishing interactions, however there are new, more powerful tools in development that have the potential to revolutionise monitoring. For example, using artificial intelligence-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the potential capability to find, follow, and provide information about Māui dolphins, and their habitat, in real time.

    This technology is currently being explored and developed.

    Is this technology 'untested'?

    A lot of work has already been done to develop the technology and initial testing of the Drone coupled with Artificial Intelligence software shows that it is capable of detecting Maui and Hectors dolphins specifically, with very high accuracy. A robust science and technology development process over the next year will comprehensively test and develop the technology and survey and dolphin tracking methodology further.

    What will the Option 5 fishing partners do with real-time information?

    The development of real-time monitoring of dolphin locations and an automated alert system will enable the fishing partners to develop an effective 'move-on' rule, which is something that they are committed to doing. The purpose of the move-on rule is to enable their vessels to actively avoid coming within 10 nautical miles of a Māui dolphin.

    Moana and Sanford's move on rule will be developed in conjunction with new real-time monitoring tools and processes.

    WWF-New Zealand is supporting the research and development of new monitoring tools and methods, and the exploration and of how these can be used in management of threats to Māui dolphins.

    Additional Q & A

    Why did WWF not advocate for the same as all the other NGOs?

    WWF collaborative approach gives us the unique opportunity to help drive change from within the industry in order to progressively remove the remaining fisheries threats to Māui dolphins. WWF is the one of the only NGOs to have these existing, positive, relationships with industry that allows us to drive change in this manner.


    Why is WWF-New Zealand working with the fishing industry?

    WWF-New Zealand wants all dolphin unsafe fishing removed from the habitat and a just transition to dolphin-safe fishing for affected communities. However, as WWF is the one of the only NGOs to have existing, positive, relationships with industry - we are able to work with and to drive change from within the industry. With the Māui dolphin being near extinction, we will work with all groups who want to make a positive difference. For 15 years, we have called for immediate action by Government to remove threats from the entire Māui dolphin habitat. Due to inaction by successive governments, we worked with Moana and Sanford- fishing companies who were proactive and ready to take real action.

    By working with our fishing partners, we have already achieved real threat removal and want to build on this success. In 2015, WWF, Moana, and Sanford collaborated to create the Māui Dolphin Protection Plan (MDPP) in order to advance Māui Dolphin conservation. Major conservation benefits emerging from this work include: the stopping of set netting and selling of fish caught by set net by all Moana and Sanford fishers within the habitat North of New Plymouth and out to the 100m depth contour of the West Coast (North Island), and commitments to removing conventional trawling from the entire Māui dolphin habitat from 2022. We worked with our fishing partners again to develop a joint submission on the Government's TMP proposals 2019 which we called 'Option 5' and built upon the previous success of the MPDD by moving our partners even further to remove threats.


    What has our partnership achieved for Māui dolphins since 2015?

    • Moana and Sanford do not fish with set net or sell any fish caught by coastal set-netters within the Māui Dolphin habitat North of New Plymouth to Maunganui Bluff and out to 100m depth contour of the West Coast North Island.
    • Enabled vessels' locations to be tracked via mobile app - thereby improving science about fishing risk in harbours within the Māui Dolphin habitat.
    • Companies committed to removing conventional trawling after 2022, i.e. move to dolphin safe fishing only.


    Is WWF's approach to saving Maui dolphins aligned with the best practice "precautionary principle"?

    The precautionary principle means we should not wait around for perfect scientific information before taking conservation action. Lack of data, particularly regarding the Māui dolphin range, has been one of the most damaging excuses for delays in management action. WWF-New Zealand is focused on finding ways to take action and make progress towards threat reduction now, while successive governments have delayed action. Our fishing industry partners have also taken action to reduce the risk of killing a Māui dolphin in their fishing operations, without waiting for perfect science about where the dolphins swim. This is the precautionary approach in action.


    WWF internationally advocates to remove all fishing nets from the area, why is WWF-New Zealand proposing something different?

    WWF-New Zealand is aligned with our international network in calling for immediate removal of all human threats (such as set-nets, toxoplasmosis, plastics, etc.) from the Māui Dolphin habitat. However our collaborative approach means we can look for ways to make progress now, and not wait for Government-led action. We've called on successive Governments, over the last 15 years, to take action. Yet, they have provided no new regulations since 2013. So, while the Government stood still, we partnered with fishing Industry leaders who were ready to move, and take real positive steps to address threats from fishing.

    Working together with those who want to help bring people in harmony with nature is what WWF does all around the world. This is also what we have done here. Māui dolphins need immediate threat removal. We hope the Government will step up and provide this. However, we will not and cannot wait for Government action and continue to work with proactive industry leaders.

    WWF is a science-led organisation. The science building and innovative conservation technology, we are developing with our partners, will enable threat management to continue to improve.


    Does WWF receive money from Moana and Sanford?

    Moana and WWF have had an independent partnership since 2014, in which Moana funds WWF to help the company transition to becoming leaders in sustainable in-shore fishing and aquaculture in New Zealand. The work conducted by WWF includes:

    • Collaborative development of the Māui Dolphin Protection Plan (2016)
    • Input into the development of environmental policies and work programmes, including: sustainable fisheries, traceability, and reduction of waste & plastic.
    • Input into Moana's sustainability strategy and support work to achieve, and surpass, strategy targets and goals.

    In 2015, WWF supported Moana and Sanford in the creation of the Māui Dolphin Protection plan. This scope of work led to the development of Option 5. However, it's important to differentiate this work from the independent relationship with Moana. Option 5 falls outside this relationship and all three have come to the table voluntarily to find the best way forward for the Māui dolphin.


    Does working with Industry affect our independence?

    We have active collaborative relationships with our partners, but we remain independent. Our working relationship focuses on collaboration in order to meet our conservation and sustainability goals. We agree to disagree with our partners where needed. For example, we pushed for stronger spatial fisheries closures in our joint submission than our partners did. We continue to support and enable our fisheries partners to meet their dolphin protection commitments and go even further whenever possible.

    We understand there are risks associated with such an approach, in particular, potential risks to our independence. This is why we have in place strict guidelines and practices to ensure we are transparent in our approach, achieving measurable conservation outcomes, and upholding respect for WWF's independence and mission.

  • Stories of the Sea: a new animated series from WWF-New Zealand

    Stories of the Sea title still (animation)<br />© WWF New Zealand

    Journey with us as we turn back the hands of time this Thursday, as WWF-New Zealand launches a short series of animated videos called Stories of the Sea.

    These stories are based on real-life ocean tales, submitted by members of the public, and are an illustrated look at how our ocean has changed over only one generation.

    During our nation-wide lockdown, WWF-New Zealand saw an opportunity to reconnect young people with their grandparents or older relatives, who may have been missing their visits. In April, young people were asked to phone an older friend or family member to see if they had a story of the sea from their youth. Three of these wonderful tales have been turned into vibrant animations.

    Stories of the Sea shows that a healthy moana, full of life, was a reality as little as one generation ago. Now, unsustainable human activity at sea and on land has meant a serious decline in ocean health over the past few decades – but it's not too late.

    "Marine ecosystems can be restored, but only if we give them the chance to," says WWF-New Zealand's Oceans Programme Manager, Lucy Jacob.

    "We must set aside portions of our ocean to support the flourishing marine life that some people are lucky enough to remember. Stories of the Sea is a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect upon what we would like to see restored.

    It's now more important than ever, that we work together to protect our precious ecosystems."

    We must learn from our past to ensure future generations are able to tell wonderful stories of the sea to their own mokopuna.

    The animated videos will be posted weekly, from Thursday 25th June, on WWF-New Zealand's social media channels and website.

    Follow WWF-New Zealand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – or visit their website at to see more of their important ocean work.

  • The National Plan of Action for Seabirds needs a stronger commitment to reach its vision of zero deaths

    Salvins albatross- photo taken WWF marine conservation staffer Bob Zuur on the Our Far South trip.<br />© © WWF / Bob Zuur

    As the world's most important home for seabirds, Aotearoa must step up as a global leader in seabird conservation. However, the National Plan of Action for Seabirds, announced by the Government, today will not get us there without clear commitments to put cameras on boats.

    The Plan reflects New Zealanders values with its vision to achieve zero deaths of seabirds in fisheries. We applaud them for making this pledge. However, achieving this vision will not be possible without a way to ensure fishers are using bycatch mitigation technologies and methods to avoid killing birds or to verify how many birds are dying.

    WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy says, "Cameras on boats are the only way to provide that independent verification across our fleets at a reasonable cost. There are simply not enough observers and the cost of vastly expanding the observer programme is out of reach. Cameras provide a ready option to fill this need."

    We call on the Government to make a commitment to roll out electronic monitoring to enable their plan of action for seabirds to work. We look forward to working with the Government to achieve their vision.

  • Budget 2020 creates a new deal for people and nature

    Woman in WWF tee-shirt holding plant<br />© WWF New Zealand

    This Government is making the biggest investment in our environment we've ever seen. The $1.1 billion investment in the environment finally creates a new deal for people and nature. Iwi, Hapu, New Zealanders, and businesses big and small asked for a just and green recovery and the Government listened.

    "COVID-19 has completely changed the way we look at the world. It has been a wake up call that our health and well-being are directly linked to the health and well-being of our world. That world is out of balance. To prevent future outbreaks of disease, to ensure we have fresh water to drink, healthy food to eat, and clean air to breathe; we must restore the balance with nature," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

    By investing in green jobs, focusing on biodiversity, regenerating and restoring nature, prioritising weed/pest control, and relying on innovation and creativity to find better solutions; Aotearoa will begin building a future in which we all live in harmony with nature. This budget is an investment in resilience and future-proofing for our children and grand-children.

    This budget will see investment in:

    • $433 million for new jobs in regional environmental projects
    • $315 million on biosecurity, including enhanced weed and pest control
    • $200 million for DOCs Jobs for Nature Fund
    • $154 million for new jobs enhancing biodiversity on public and private land
    • Create nearly 11,000 new jobs in regional New Zealand to restore our environment

    "The recovery is not solved in one budget alone. This is a great first step. We must hold fast to this new path, even when it gets tough and it will. Together, we can be kaitiaki of Aotearoa and our planet," says Esterhazy.

    Manāki whenua, manāki tangata, haere whakamua
    Care for the land, care for the people, go forward!

  • Not everyone will leave lockdown

    Big Cat Lockdown<br />© WWF New Zealand

    WWF needs your help to restore the balance of nature.

    New Zealanders are beginning to emerge from our COVID-19 lockdown, but there is no sign of freedom for thousands of tigers around the world.

    In fact, there are some 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S. alone. While only an estimated 3,200 tigers remain in the wild. The popularity of a recent TV show brought to light some of the devastating truths that surround the illegal tiger trade. If they're lucky enough to grow past the "cute cub photo opportunity" phase, tigers bred in captivity can spend up to 22 years in a state of lockdown. Numerous studies reveal that a life in captivity leads to severe psychological stress, infertility, and various other health conditions.

    But the problem is much bigger than this.

    COVID-19 has been a stark reminder that our world is out of balance. WWF's report 'The Loss of Nature and Rise of Pandemics' shows the links between human activity and the spread of zoonotic diseases. These activities such as deforestation, habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, high-risk food markets, factory farming, and urbanisation are just some of the reasons we have seen diseases like SARS, Ebola, AIDS, and bird flu spill over into the human population.

    Over the past few weeks, Kiwis have gained a new insight into what life is like for tigers living in captivity. Our lockdown inspired the new campaign which aims to raise awareness and funds to restore the balance between people and nature which includes putting a stop to the illegal wildlife trade.

    Says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO, "This tactical campaign launches our latest platform, Restore the Balance. Through this platform, we aim to educate Kiwis on just how reliant we are on nature. Over the past few decades, humans have come into closer contact with wildlife. This is now occurring at an unprecedented scale thanks to deforestation and habitat destruction, the illegal wildlife trade and high-risk food markets. This is creating the conditions that allow diseases that pass from animals to humans to become ever more common. The COVID-19 lockdown is the perfect time to start talking about this issue and engaging Kiwis to help us restore the balance with nature."

    To learn more about how you can help WWF restore the balance of nature and end the illegal wildlife trade, visit:

  • How to Prevent Future Pandemics: Restore The Balance

    For Restore the Balance op ed<br />© Luke Duggleby / WWF-US

    How to Prevent Future Pandemics: Restore The Balance

    Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO

    I had been looking forward to 2020. Our country had faced some pretty big challenges last year and 2020 was bright and full of promise. Sadly, the year began with the Australian bushfires - harrowing alarm bells for a planet in pain. Unfortunately, the alarm bells have been sounding for a long time to tell us that our world is out of balance. We just haven't been listening.

    COVID-19 took the world by surprise, but it shouldn't have. It was not only predicted, but inevitable. Over the last century, diseases transmitted from animals to people have risen by nearly fourfold. Why? There are many reasons but the main one is, us. There is not a place on Earth left untouched by man. In Aotearoa, 4,000 of our native plants, animals, and ecosystems are threatened or at risk of extinction.* Our marine environment is also under threat and nearly every river, lake, and aquifer are affected by pollution.** Around the world, three-quarters of our planet's land and two-thirds of our ocean has been changed so significantly by people, that some scientists say we've entered a new geological age, the 'anthropocene' (anthro-po-seen): the age of man. It is the first time in Earth's 4.5 billion years, that one species has fundamentally changed the planet. This destruction is unique to humans.

    Every single life on our planet is intricately connected. Our very survival is dependent on one another. Each plant, animal, and microorganism has a role to play. By working together, in harmony, this biodiversity of nature ensures every species has food to eat, air to breathe, and water to drink. This connection comes with the responsibility of kaitiakitanga: to care for the environment, so our environment will care for us. But we have not been caretakers. We have sacrificed our environment for the sake of expediency and economic growth. This is not sustainable. Animal-borne diseases are on the rise because we are not living in harmony with nature. Deforestation, habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, high-risk food markets, factory farming, and urbanisation are just some of the reasons we have seen diseases like SARS, Ebola, AIDS, and bird flu spill over into the human population. What terrifies me is that if we don't change our relationship with nature, then COVID-19 will just be a dry run for the next pandemic.

    We need to restore the balance - to live in harmony with nature. WWF has developed a way forward with a New Deal for Nature and People. To become Kaitiaki of our world again, we must commit, by 2030, to:

    • Zero loss of natural habitats by protecting 30% of our environment and sustainably managing 20%
    • Zero extinction of animals by stopping the illegal wildlife trade, ending the exploitation of animals and nature, while supporting species in their native habitats.
    • Halve the footprint of our consumption by transitioning to sustainable infrastructure, agriculture, fishing, and more.

    This will ensure we are living within nature's means and creates a safety net to protect us against disease. This can seem daunting, but it is possible, if we work together. Here is how you can help:

    • Eat sustainably. Move towards a more plant-based diet, eat locally, and support responsible producers. Food production is responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss.
    • Reduce Waste. We produce so much waste from plastic to food. Rethink what you're purchasing, recycle/upcycle where you can, and do your bit to eat more leftovers.
    • Power of the purse. Use your wallet to support eco-friendly products and companies.
    • Travel responsibly. Many of us turned to walking and cycling during the lockdown for exercise, to run errands, or just to enjoy nature. Let's not lose this momentum, so cycle or walk for your smaller trips and use more public transport.

    Another significant way you can make a real difference is to help us ensure the government rebuilds our economy to support this future. We can influence these decisions, and affect change, by amplifying our voices through the New Deal for Nature and People.

    It is not enough to stop COVID-19. That will only put a plaster over the wound, rather than healing it. To truly heal, we must fundamentally change our relationship with nature. We are the problem but we are also the solution. Over the last five weeks, we've caught a glimpse of what our nature could look like if we restored the balance. We've seen a drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions in major cities all over the world. Cities, usually choked with smog, are seeing blue skies. Waterways are clearer and bird song has returned to urban areas. The COVID lockdown has shown that changing the way we live makes a big difference. While I dream of the end of lockdown, I don't dream of returning to life as it was. I dream of a new life, a new world, a world in balance. Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, Ki te kāpuia e kore e whati. (Alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible.)

    WWF is working hard to restore this balance. Are you with us?


    To learn more about how nature loss is driving a rise in pandemics, what WWF is doing to protect human and planetary healthy, and what you can do to help - visit:

    *Environment Aotearoa 2019
    ** Our Marine Environment 2019 & Our Freshwater 2020

  • Earth Hour 2020: Go Dark for a Brighter Future

    Earth Hour - image of people spelling EARTH HOUR with sparklers<br />© WWF New Zealand

    Mobilising Millions for Nature

    NEW ZEALAND, 5 March 2020 – On Saturday, 28 March at 8:30 p.m., businesses, organisations, cities, and individuals across New Zealand are switching off their lights for one hour for Earth Hour — one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment engaging millions of people around the globe in over 180 countries and territories.

    "After a decade long hiatus, Earth Hour is coming back to Aotearoa. As the first nation to mark Earth Hour, let's show the rest of the world how it's done! As an island nation, a food producing nation - a healthy planet is the only way to secure our future. Let us all switch off, to switch on a brighter future!" says WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy.

    Some of the world's most iconic landmarks - the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House - are switching off their lights in solidarity for Earth Hour. From your living room lamp to Auckland's Sky Tower - all are joining thousands of the world's landmarks by 'going dark.'

    2020 is a year of action. It's not just the symbolic action - supporters can also add their voice for nature online at Voice for the Planet. These signatures will be presented to world leaders at critical global conferences taking place this year to help secure a New Deal for Nature and People to address nature loss, reverse environmental decline, and safeguard all of our futures.

    Now, more than ever, it is crucial to raise awareness about the threats facing our environment.

    "The global rate of nature loss during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history, threatening human lives and well-being," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. ''The services provided by nature are estimated to be worth US$125 trillion a year – double the world's GDP - and without nature's resources, the businesses and services we depend on will fail. Nature also benefits us by providing our food, water and clean air, and is one of our strongest allies against climate change. It is vital that we add our Voice for the Planet to press for a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 for a sustainable future for all."

    You can be a part of shaping history — and our future — by signing up to take part in Earth Hour Aotearoa at Together, it's possible to secure a healthy, sustainable, and fairer future for all.


    A new portrait of Sir David Attenborough is the artwork for his upcoming feature film, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.<br />© WWF





    David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet is coming to New Zealand cinemas for one night only. Sir David's new feature film – promising to be his greatest story yet – will be shown in select cinemas across Aotearoa. Tickets are now on sale. For more information on where to see the film, click here

    For decades, the legendary broadcaster has brought the wonders of the natural world into our homes. From every corner of the globe, every habitat, millions of species, Sir David has watched our world evolve. Now, at the age of 93, he presents his most personal project to date: his witness statement to what has changed during his lifetime and his vision for the future.  


    In this unique feature documentary, the celebrated naturalist reflects upon the defining moments of his lifetime and the devastating changes he has seen. Screening in New Zealand cinemas for one night only, April 17, the film addresses some of the biggest challenges facing life on our planet and provides a snapshot of global nature loss in a single lifetime. This accompanies a powerful message of hope for future generations as Attenborough reveals solutions to help save our planet from disaster. 


    His message comes at a critical time, when nature is sounding its alarm, for united action. 


    "Right now, large parts of Aotearoa are in drought, creating tinder-dry conditions. Many of our unique species are facing extinction. As an island nation, a food producing nation, we are reliant on a healthy, resilient environment. But the cumulative impacts of human activities: unsustainable land practices, plastic contamination, overfishing, seabed mining/drilling, and the global climate emergency put us ALL at risk," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO. 


    "But we can not lose hope, because it is possible to chart a new course, a better course, for nature and ourselves. Sir David, through this feature, has given us a roadmap to a resilient future in which people and nature live, and thrive, in harmony," says Esterhazy. 


    The film has been produced by award-winning wildlife film-makers, Silverback Films, and global environmental organisation, WWF. Mark your calendars for Friday, 17 April 2020, when Sir David: A Life On Our Planet will screen for one night only - just hours after its sold-out World Premiere at London's Royal Albert Hall on April 16, which David Attenborough will attend. 

    Sir David Attenborough in Chernobyl, Ukraine photographed while filming David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.

    Tickets are now on sale in cinemas in New Zealand. For a list of participating cinemas and to register for updates, visit 


    The film will be released globally on Netflix in the Northern Hemisphere spring/Southern Hemisphere autumn in 2020. 


    Link to trailer file/YouTube embed code:

    @DavidALifeFilm #AttenboroughFilm

  • World's biggest polluters held UN climate talks hostage

    Scenes from the climate march in Madrid, held during the CO25 climate talks.<br />© David Fernández - WWF SpainThe longest UNFCCC COP session ever ended Sunday morning with big emitting countries - like the United States, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and others - shirking their responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they blocked progress in Madrid. Despite heartfelt demands for action from vulnerable countries, civil society, and millions of young people around the world demanding immediate climate action, large polluters resisted all efforts to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

    Although described as the 'ambition' COP, what was evident in Madrid was a lack of political will to respond to the science at the necessary scale. Regressive governments put profit over the planetary crisis and the future of generations to come. With the exception of the European Union, the talks showed a complete lack of urgency to act from the big emitting countries.

    The outcome of the talks offers no forward movement on the organisation of a carbon market, respect for human rights, public participation, or financing loss and damage from climate impacts. These countries will have to justify their positions which are increasingly at odds with the science and public opinion.

    Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said: "Despite the efforts of the Chilean Presidency, the lack of commitment to scale up climate action by big emitting countries was too much to overcome. Their position is in stark contrast to science, rising demands from the streets and the harsh impacts already felt in vulnerable countries.

    "We know what has to be done, and we have run out of time for backtracking or debate. 2020 must be different and we will fight even harder for people and nature. Governments will return home to face increasing frustrations from youth movements, citizens and vulnerable communities suffering from the impacts of the climate crisis, and will have to answer to them.

    "Countries still have the chance to show they are committed to tackling the climate crisis by submitting enhanced climate pledges aligned with science as soon as possible in 2020" he emphasized.

    Our own CEO at WWF-New Zealand, Livia Esterhazy, is similarly disappointed, saying: "Selfish. Is there a better word to describe the behaviour of the world's biggest emitters?

    "The United States, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Saudia Arabia and others are holding the world hostage so they can continue their business as usual. If they want to be considered world leaders they should act like it because our planet is not able to sustain business as usual. Instead it is time for them to be brave, to be selfless, to be true leaders, to listen to the millions of voices pleading for change.

    "2020 must be different...for people and nature."

    For more information contact Caroline Hall Bruner, WWF-New Zealand Media and Content Manager: 021 550 710

Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.