The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Air New Zealand have renewed their partnership to work together for conservation, today announcing a further five-year commitment and a doubling of direct investment annually.
Building on more than a decade of collaboration, the renewal will see Air New Zealand directly invest more than $5 million in DOC biodiversity programmes over the next five years.
The funding will continue the airline’s support for sustained pest control and species monitoring across five of New Zealand’s Great Walks, and the increased contribution will welcome DOC’s nationwide Conservation Dogs Programme to the partnership.
DOC Director-General Penny Nelson says that the enduring partnership with New Zealand’s national carrier demonstrates the value of nature in Aotearoa.
“The environment is fundamental to tourism. When people experience nature that is wild, healthy and unique, it has a positive impact on them. Our environment is a major drawcard for international visitors and New Zealanders alike.
“Sadly however, we have more than 4000 species threatened or at risk of extinction. This partnership with Air New Zealand means we can do more for native species than we could do alone.
“On the Milford track for example, our partnership has helped control predators to the point where we could bolster the population of pāteke/brown teal. Air New Zealand flew in 60 pāteke, plus funded radio transmitters to monitor their success.
“When a tramper hikes along the track, they now have the chance to spot pāteke as well as many other birds, reptiles and insects thriving thanks to our partnership.
“This is the sort of impact we can make with long-term partnerships with business, so it’s great to be furthering our work alongside Air New Zealand.”
In addition to the direct investment, Air New Zealand will also provide more than $5 million of in-kind support. This support includes continuing to fly conservation dogs and threatened species, as well as through initiatives to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis and ways that both New Zealanders and international visitors can support conservation efforts in Aotearoa.
Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin says the airline is delighted to expand its long-running partnership with DOC to include the world-leading Conservation Dogs Programme.
“New Zealand’s unique and precious biodiversity is under constant threat. Continuing to implement a range of science-based initiatives to respond to this threat is vital.
“Our increased investment will support the DOC Conservation Dogs Programme to mentor, certify and support dog-handler teams to detect New Zealand’s protected species or unwanted pests.
“These highly trained dogs and their handlers are at the forefront of the fight against biodiversity loss in Aotearoa.”
Since the partnership began in 2012, it has achieved more than 42,000ha of sustained pest control alongside some of the most iconic Great Walks, flown more than 4,300 threatened species and conservation dogs, and enabled over 30 million engagements with people through joint storytelling.