Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 4 September 2009 Contents LOCAL NEWS
Page 4 | 4 September, 2009
(Continued from Page 1)
It wasn’t easy being a
conservationist in 1975, Mr Morris
said. Despite the best efforts of
fellow wildlife officer Don Merton
to have the Sinbad Gully protected
and kakapo removed to safe off-
shore islands, pest control work
was not carried out and only a
handful of kakapo were relocated.
By 1986 all of the Fiordland
kakapo were gone.
Only one original Fiordland
kakpo, Richard Henry (named
after the pioneer New Zealand
conservationist who first tried to
safeguard kakapo from predators
by moving some to Resolution
Island more than 100 years ago)
survives today on Codfish Island.
He has a son, named Sinbad.
On the 1974 trip seeking out
kakapo, Mr Morris made another
important discovery – the first
cascade gecko. In 2004 he
returned after two rock climbers
found the second gecko. It was
very high, above the bushline.
During that trip they also
discovered a totally new species
“It’s like a lost world. There’s all
sorts of other critters up there,”
It was incredible to see how high
these creatures had retreated to
escape the reach of predators.
These were forest geckos living
in rocks that were very cold and
under snow for much of the year.
Most had frostbitten toes and/or
“It’s an extraordinary place to find
reptiles,” he said. “It was a real
revelation. It’s not reallty a place
for lizards... it’s their last stand.”
The Sinbad Gully was a unique in
a way that the whole of Fiordland
was once unique.
Yet, even World Heritage status
had failed to protect this important
valley, Mr Morris said.
“Why wasn’t it done when there
were still kakapo here?
Doesn’t anyone see the pattern
here?” he said.
“It’s no longer enough to keep
people out of the habitat and say
we’re protecting the wildlife.”
The Department of Conservation
was doing as much as it could
but needed help to protect the
things that desperately needed
“There’s been a need to try and
protect this area; there just hasn’t
been the money.”
Continued Page 5
Heritage status has failed to protect
Mitre Peak in Milford Sound with the Sinbad Gully to the left.
Photo: Southern Discoveries
The Fiordland Conservation Trust
is a community-drive initiative
established in 2007 to support
conservation projects in Fiordland,
Southland and on New Zealand’s
It aims to provide independent
funding and resources to further
protect the natural treasures
(taonga) of southern New
Zealand. By soliciting independent
donations and forming
partnerships with corporate
sponsors, the trust encourages,
supports and promotes
conservation work through pest
eradication and protection of
threatened species while also
sharing information and raising
awareness within the community
about conservation. It has a
particular goal of encouraging
youth involvement on projects.
The Fiordland Conservation Trust
maintains the environment is a
jigsaw that is missing pieces.
“Look around you... breathe in the
fabulous native bush landscapes
of this region. Become aware that
here you are as close as possible
to the way the world used to be.
But take a closer look and you
will see that all is not well in
paradise,” it says.
The trust aims to ensure that
at least 90 cents in every dollar
goes directly to projects. It does
not undertake projects itself
but insteads contracts the work
to appropriate organisations
with the relevant qualifications
and experience, such as the
Department of Conservation.
Many of the projects include a
high number of volunteers who
are dedicated to conservation, and
have a great love for the work they
Projects adopted by the trust fall
outside core conservation funding
and, without independent funding,
would unlikely be carried out in
the short to medium term, if at all.
trustees are Roger McNaughton
(chairman), Mayor Frana Cardno,
Kim Hollows, Murray Willans, Viv
Shaw, Nick Torr, Mark Sutton and
Ron Peacock. The trust manager is
Trust aims to bridge conservation gaps
Fiordland Conservation Trust manager Rachel Cockburn and Southern
Discoveries general manager John Robson celebrate the launch of the long-
awaited Sinbad Sanctuary project with long-term conservationist Rod Morris
(left) who was guest speaker at the launch last Thursday.
“It’s no longer enough to keep people out of the habitat and say we’re protecting the wildlife.”
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