Innovation for Conservation


In this interview we chat with the Kiwi innovators behind a wasp-killing bait, an Iwi-led restoration project from Tolaga Bay and a new-generation native lizard monitoring system from Wellington based EcoGecko Consultants Ltd. They have each been awarded $25,000 from a WWF New Zealand grant to recognize their contribution to innovation in conservation.

The awards, now in their second year are a celebration of Kiwi innovators whose ideas look set to make a real difference in the fight to protect our special places and wildlife.

Peter Gilberd – The Woodridge Planters

Peter Gilberd Woodridge 1I have recently had the pleasure of meeting Peter Gilberd, founder of the Woodridge Planters, a community planting group based in Northern suburbs of Wellington. They were recognized for the massive work they have done with an highly commended award in the Wellington Airport Community Awards. The Woodridge Planters are also part of a riparian tree planting project with the Million Metres Streams and are crowdfunding to plant out 400 meters of one of Welly’s few streams, the Belmont Stream. However through the simple act of planting trees, it is clear this is having a huge effect not only on the environment but on the entire Newlands community.

Neil Anderson – from one night parties to a 500 year plan

2015-05-25 14.20.58 Not every city in the world can boast an eco-sanctuary just 10 minutes from it’s center and while we Wellingtonians may sometimes take the 20 year impact of this for granted, ranger Neil Anderson certainly doesn’t, even after working there for 15 years. In this interview we hear about Neil’s diverse daily work at the sanctuary and how he went from creating one night parties for Louis Vuitton, at New York Fashion Week to working towards a 500 year vision for Zealandia Ecosanctuary.

Ben Dowdle – Unmasking Palm Oil

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Ben Dowdle is an amazing young 20 year old who has been at the front line of the Unmask Palm Oil  campaign since he was 16.

I got to talk to Ben at the Wellington Zoo last week and it was news to me that even if we are buying anything with vegetable oil there is no guarantee that this is not Palm Oil. AAARgh so my family is still unknowingly contributing to rain forest deforestation.

In this interview Ben’s talks about the problem and the solution, mandatory labelling of palm oil, that he has been campaigning for across New Zealand and every state of Australia. It is interesting that most of the rest of the western world has taken this up and of course sustainable Palm Oil plantations are the result.

So please take the time to support Ben and sign below asking minister Jo Goodhew to make it a priority to stand up for to get mandatory labelling for Palm Oil so that you can choose what is in your food.

Or you can go the  Wellington Zoo by May 22nd, where they have a card you can sign, up by the Sumatran tigers, who are already at great risk while the deforestation for Palm oil continues.

Press Release from Wellington Zoo below,

Wellington Zoo is proud to support the Unmask Palm Oil campaign by asking government representatives in New Zealand and Australia to demand clear labelling of vegetable oil on all food products.

Palm oil is estimated to be in about half of all products available in supermarkets, but most are labelled as ‘vegetable oil’. Mandatory labelling will allow consumers to make informed choices about the products they buy.

The wild homes of critically endangered species, like Sumatran Tigers, are at risk from deforestation, as large areas of their habitat are cleared to make way for large palm oil plantations in South East Asia.

However, palm oil can be produced without deforestation. Wellington Zoo and Unmask Palm Oil support the use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), which certifies palm oil plantations to ensure they are deforestation free. While boycotting all palm oil may seem like the obvious solution, we believe a boycott will only shift the problem to other parts of the world and onto oils which are less productive than palm oil, therefore requiring more land.

A consumer wanting to make the switch from conventional palm oil in order to demand Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) will soon discover that Australasian labelling laws make it nearly impossible to make this simple ethical choice.

Mandatory labelling will help us to choose sustainable palm oil – and, in turn, help Sumatran Tigers and countless other animals that rely on these wild habitats to survive.

If you’d like to choose what’s in your food, come to Wellington Zoo this autumn. We have a community action station in the Asia Precinct until 22 May, where you can send a postcard to Minister Jo Goodhew, asking her to vote ‘yes’ to clear labelling of vegetable oil on products.

Mandy Coleman – the life of a Sea Shepherd

Mandy Coleman Sea Shepherd

Mandy Coleman is the Wellington coordinator for Sea Shepherd New Zealand and the Sea Shepherd Global crew, who are back in town with the ocean defender, the Sam Simon. The Sam Simon is docked at the Taranaki St. wharf, preparing for it’s next Antarctic campaign. In this interview we talk with Mandy and her husband Micheal about why they have been so dedicated to the Sea Shepherd Movement for 6 years, the big issues our oceans are facing and what simple actions we can do to help this potentially very fragile situation.

Mandy and Michael also spend a lot of their weekends picking up rubbish from around Wellington’s beaches and do a monthly clean up at Evans Bay beach. Find out more here

For more on the fundraiser at Bar Bodega on Saturday the 29th

Sea Shepherd Antarctic Fundraiser

Here is a link to the Forest and Bird Nest Fish Guide


Myfanwy Emeny – our urban ecology

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Did you know that we have an Urban Ecologist at the Wellington City Council? Neither did I. But I do now, as I wanted to know what Conservation Week means for Wellington city. So in this interview Myfanwy Emeny, that Urban Ecologist, talks about the native communities that share our fair city, as well as the 90 volunteer community groups doing a good job replanting and helping our diverse environment thrive. She also bought in 2 local native superstars into the studio, although they were not that confident on the radio.

More on the pest fest at Waitangi Park to celebrate Conservation Week, this sunday.

Emily Dowding Smith – arctic snorkeler


Meet Emily Dowding-Smith an ex Welly girl, (well Taranaki really) environment lawyer and scientist who has just returned from a test run, snorkeling the Arctic as part of a team of 10 women selected to raise awareness about disappearing sea ice and altered eco systems. And she was the only kiwi. Wow! In this interview Emily shares her reasons why this trip was important to her and her perception on what she saw on this once in a lifetime experience.

For more on this and Emily’s other adventures read her blog

Tony Stoddard – making kereru count

Keruru.In this interview Kereru enthusiast and coordinator for the Kereru Discovery project Tony Stoddard, wants us to keep our eyes on the skies and start counting and reporting our Kereru to help the Great Kereru Count.

Tony reveals why the Kereru are so vital to our fragile eco system and why he, WWF and the WCC council are on the mission to get this information.

The Great Kereru Count  finishes on October the 5th so download the app and get reporting.

What makes Aro Valley our Eco Valley?

aro_community_20140727_5537Aro Valley is quickly taking the title of Eco Valley, as recently resident Julia Stace, Te Aro School and the Aro Valley Community Center have all had solar panels installed, which will produce their own renewable power. This will add to the valley’s legacy of already being a leader in community action.

In this two part series these Aro Valley initiators talk about what they think contributes to Aro Valleys constant action towards positive environmental change.

In part 1 resident Julia Stace ( far left) on why she installed photo Voltaic cells on her home and Charles Barrie (centre) from Aro Valley’s community gardens Kai o Te Aro on the surprising benefits of the community gardens and his idea on a vision for Aro Valley.

In Part two Louise Sherrell of Aro Solar, (represented by other Aro Solar project team members Miranda Voke  2nd right and Ollie 2nd left), resident Karen MacIntyre ( centre back) on some valley history that changed it forever and community coordinator Kelvin Aris talks about community resilience.

A must listen for all communities and neighborhoods trying to kick start change.

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks to Virginia Woods Jack for the photo.

Bella Kalolo – a big voice for the Maui’s


Bella Kalolo is a soulful lady with a big voice and now she is stepping up for those who do not have one, by heading the the WWF New Zealand campaign to save the last 55 Maui’s Dolphin from extinction.

In this interview Bella talks about why preserving our precious native dolphins is so important, how we can also preserve the wellington music industry, as well as what has become important in her life in music.
Thanks to Lou Hatton for this great shot of Bella and all the shots for the WWF Last 55 Maui campaign. Also nice illustration by Lisa Nicole Moes.
You can also help by becoming one of the 52 000 who have already signed here.
And here is a link to Bella singing “I’m every Woman” with Chaka Khan.