Kaiaua Compass December 2015

Columns
Sunday, December 20, 2015

Big news for our area 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.

I 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.

The ambassador and Maggie Barry were also able to join me in a quick visit to see first-hand the good work done by our local Te Whangai Trust at Miranda. The Trust provides work skills and training for people needing to gain such experience. They do so by planting and propagating native trees that are then on sold to environmental groups, Councils and the Department of Conservation.

December is here already. 2015 has been a busy and full year for me both here in the electorate and in Wellington at Parliament.

This is the time of year we think about the previous year, share time with family and friends and for some it’s a time to enjoy a classic kiwi summer holiday.

I want to take this opportunity wish you and your family a very happy and safe Christmas.

2016 will be upon us before we know it and I’m looking forward to the opportunities the New Year will bring for the Coromandel electorate and our wider region.