Thursday, 11 April 2013

DOC not just about building bridges

Forest and Bird have declared today "Love Doc Day". A perfect occasion to show my appreciation of the work the Department of Conservation does for New Zealand/Aotearoa and our natural treasures.

DOC's work has become fundamental to the way we enjoy and interact with our natural environment, from its visible structures such as huts and bridges, to visitor information and helpful hut wardens. But this experience is nothing if our native species are not protected; for then there would be little natural native environment left to enjoy.
DOC's work isn't just about building bridges, but I'm sure grateful this one was there

The huge range and complexity of DOC's work was brought home to me on sunny summer weekend. I'd spent an interesting night on Matiu/Somes Island in one of the houses that DOC maintains. We'd seen tuatara, skinks and geckos and bright green kakariki, all safe on this island sanctuary. The island is a perfect example of how DOC can work with dedicated interest groups like Forest and Bird who helped replant the island, and with local iwi who are now involved in governance of the island. As we left the island, a group of kayakers drew up to the beach to have lunch, the ferry delivered hundreds more day trippers, and a small ceremony was taking place to open a new display about the island's history. The harbour was buzzing and the people kept on coming. There's nothing like accessible nature on your doorstep on a sunny weekend.

More visitors arrive on Matiu/Somes on a sunny summer weekend 

A day later, I was in the centre of the North Island picking up friends who'd tramped the remote Napier to Taupo crossing. No thousands of happy day trippers here, but remote well maintained huts for the few hardy trampers, hunters, and scientists who enjoy this area. This is a habitat for blue duck/whio, whose need for fast flowing rivers and vulnerability to pests has meant that they are threatened. My friends were lucky enough to see a blue duck and the blue duck was lucky to still be there.

Blue Duck / Whio; photo copyright Jon Monk

Thanks DOC from a daytripper, tramper, and friend of the blue duck
Appropriately links on this page take you to DOC's helpful and interesting information about Matiu/Somes Island and the blue duck