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New Zealanders young and old have been encouraged to celebrate our natural environment and get ‘out into nature’ thanks to Conservation Week. One of New Zealand’s leading tourism companies is doing its bit to help by planting over 1,000 native seedlings in the DOC Paradise Reserve next to the pristine Dart River.
This Saturday 24 September around a dozen keen volunteers from Ngāi Tahu Tourism’s Dart River Jet, affiliate businesses and local students from Queenstown Resort College (QRC), will head into the remote area beyond Glenorchy at the head of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu to plant the seedlings.
The Dart River team is spearheading the planting session for the third year running.
Ngāi Tahu Tourism regional manager David Kennedy says this is part of a long-term initiative to take responsibility for, and improve the areas, in which the company operates.
“This year’s Conservation Week theme was ‘Healthy Nature, Healthy People’ and it’s a kaupapa we fully support,” he says.
“New Zealanders are being encouraged to make a connection with their local special place, and there’s none more special than this beautiful reserve area, which is thriving under a Red Beech canopy after just three years of conservation work.”
Dart River’s on-going conservation programme is underpinned by the Ngāi Tahu value, ‘Kaitiakitanga’ which means guardianship and protection.
Mr Kennedy says the programme draws on the Ngāi Tahu iwi proverb “Mo tatou, a, mo ka uri a muri ake nei” – meaning “For us and our children after us”.
“It is important to look after this reserve area for future generations, and we’re thrilled with the support we continue to get from volunteers and our local community,” he says.
“The work is really helping – we can see visible clusters of native bush regeneration year in and year out, and to further this we are supporting an ongoing opossum, rat and stoat trap programme to help rid the area of pests.
“We hope many New Zealanders get to visit this special reserve area and appreciate the beauty of nature on our very own doorstep.”