Success Stories

Forest & Bird successfully defended nature throughout 2017. The following are just a few examples of how we protected our natural environment for nature, and for our future generations.

Freshwater: Protecting the Ngaruroro River, the clear Te Waikoropupu Springs and advocating for Canterbury's freshwater

The Ngaruroro is a braided river and home to many species threatened with or at risk of extinction including whio, black billed gulls and wrybills. A Water Conservation Order (WCO) gives a river a protected status equivalent to a National Park on land. Forest & Bird presented evidence for the upper river case at stage one of the hearings in November last year, and will be presenting at stage two for the lower part of the river in July this year. There are 15 Water Conservation Orders already in place in New Zealand but if granted the Ngaruroro will be the first one in a decade.

Te Waikoropupu Springs is the largest cold-water springs in the southern hemisphere and Forest & Bird wants it protected as the Tasman District Council wants to draw more water from the spring to feed dairying farming. Te Waikoropupu Springs has a unique (purifying) aquifer and further dairying in the area risks corrupting it with nitrogen and phosphorus.

After Forest & Bird raised concerns about the often illegal use of braided river beds in Canterbury, forcing the regional council into forming a working group with Forest & Bird, DOC , LINZ and Ngai Tahu to ensure all the agencies responsible for the riverbeds and the rare and endangered river birds and native fish who rely on them.

Protecting wild places: Te Kuha and Northland native forests and getting action on Kauri Dieback

Although the new Government announced that there would be no new mining on conservation land, Forest & Bird will be going to the Environment Court to appeal a decision to allow the Te Kuha coal mine to progress. In November the West Coast Regional Council and the Buller District Council gave consent for the approximately 150 hectare open cast coal to proceed. The mine would remove part of an intact forested mountain (one that is visible from Westport) and that mountain is home to species such as the great spotted kiwi, South Island fernbird and the largest known population of the rare forest ringlet butterfly.

Thanks to advocacy from Forest & Bird the Northland Native forests will get $400,000 extra to spend on predator control. Possums only reached Northland 30 years ago and in that time they have devastated those forests. Possums eat the forest canopy and this can kill that trees and hurt all creatures in the forest by reducing the food supply.

Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic spore that attacks the roots and trunk of kauri, damaging the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. the result of this infection is that he tree starves to death. The disease is easily transmissible and humans are the main way the disease spreads. At this moment the only way we can help is by stopping the spread of the disease from infected trees to healthy trees.  Forest & Bird has put pressure on MPI to ensure that better provisions are in place to stop the spread of kauri dieback and on the Auckland Council to close walking tracks in rerves where kauri are. The Auckland Council recently made the brave call to close the Waitakere Ranges to visitors to try to stop the spread. 

Oceans: Seabird Protection, yellow-eyed penguins and protecting the Hauraki Gulf

Forest & Bird’s marine team are working with fishing industry to lower seabird bycatch by the fishing industry. Forest & Bird also broke the story that set net fishing was decimating the nesting population of hoiho (yellow eyed penguin) on Whenua Hoa, also known as Codfish Island, near Stewart Island. Researchers discovered that only half of the nests expected were viable this year and that set net fishing was the most likely culprit as they are set in the areas where hoiho forage. Forest & Bird is requesting that the Minister for Fisheries immediately enforce a 4 nautical mile ban around the islands in the Foveaux Strait and that all set netting vessels have observers on them to record any by-catch.

Forest & Bird was part of a stakeholder group to come up with a plan to restore and manage the health of the Hauraki Gulf. Their plan is called Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari, and it is the first of its kind in New Zealand and represents a way forward for the Hauraki Gulf.  However, it’s yet to be put into action, and Forest & Bird believes that this Plan needs to be implemented as a package, without any further delay. Forest & Bird is undertaking a community-driven campaign to encourage the Government, agencies and councils to put Sea Change into action.

Climate Change: Carbon Zero Act, and Forest & Bird successfully defends NZ conservation land in Supreme Court

The new Government has promised a Net Zero Carbon Emissions Economy by 2050, with legally binding emissions reduction targets. Forest & Bird will make every effort to ensure that the Government sticks to this obligation and wants to see the Carbon Zero Act in place as soon as possible. Forest & Bird is calling on the new government to recognise the critical role our natural world plays not only in our economy, but also in protecting us against the worst impacts of climate change.

The Supreme Court has ruled that New Zealand's publicly owned Forest Parks and other conservation land are safe from being disposed of for private development interests. The former Minister of Conservation acted illegally by trying to make part of Ruahine Forest Park available for exchange to a dam company, which would flood it.