MP Scott Simpson chuffed that “Little bar tailed godwit” named as “Bird of the year”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Big news for our patch late last month was the crowning of our wonderful little bar-tailed godwit (kuaka) as Forest and Bird’s New Zealand Bird of the Year.

It was a hard fought and at time controversial election. Allegations of vote rigging by supporters of a competitor bird saw several hundred votes for that bird disallowed by organisers. In the end our Kuaka won a well-deserved victory.

Congratulations are certainly in order for campaign manager, Keith Woodley from the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.

Keith did a great job in making sure the Bird of the Year title will raise awareness for the godwit as well as other shorebirds and threats to their habitat. And it fits perfectly with the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre's 'Year of the Godwit' theme.

The Chinese government is now putting out many new draft environmental  controls and policies. Keith believes that the Chinese leadership may be  changing direction because it realises that otherwise large areas of China will be uninhabitable.

He thinks there’s also an increasing interest in conservation issues amongst the growing middle class in China. Every time he visits, more and more people turn up with huge cameras to take pictures of the birds along the coastlines.

Its great news New Zealand is now working government to government to try to halt or slow down further development, or make it more sustainable for the birds.

Scott Simpson said he was  especially pleased to be able to join Conservation Minister, Hon Maggie Barry at the Shorebird Centre just a day after the announcement and to congratulate all involved personally. Maggie Barry was there along with Chinese Ambassador Wang Lutong to confirm that a Memorandum of Understanding between our Department of Conservation and the Chinese Government has been signed to help protect migratory bird habitats in China. That’s a great outcome and a very positive step.