Dog Island’s rich history and distinctive environment will be preserved for years to come, thanks to the vision of a special partnership committed to the island’s future.
The restoration and ongoing conservation of the remote Dog Island was marked by the agreement of an ecological plan this week between the Dog Island Motu Piu Trust and several parties.
The partnership is the first of its kind in New Zealand, where the public and private sectors have banded together to achieve a common goal: ensuring the unique environment of Dog Island remains for generations to come.
The various partners include Iwi, Central Government, the Department of Conservation and Maritime New Zealand.
The project will cater to the restoration, conservation and management of the predator-free island, by planting native trees, maintaining infrastructure and planning activities for the island.
Maritime NZ Rescue Coordination Centre and Safety Services manager Mike Hill says it is rewarding to see the project finally come to fruition.
“We’ve worked with iwi, the business sector and undertaken community engagement in order to do something that is quite special, and we’re looking forward to seeing the island enhanced not only for the local community, but for all of New Zealand,” he says.
The project was recently granted $10,000 from New Zealand Oil & Gas to progress work on the island.
New Zealand Oil & Gas chief executive Andrew Jefferies says the company is pleased to help progress the goals of the project.
“When we asked our New Zealand Oil & Gas Southern Community Panel about local projects with visionary environmental and social goals, they pointed us to Dog Island Motu Piu,” he says.
“We’re impressed by the long-term vision put forward by the trust to restore the island as both a conservation and ecotourism destination.”
Dog Island, an island in Foveaux Strait and five kilometres southeast of Bluff, is home to one of New Zealand’s oldest lighthouses. The operational lighthouse, which became automated in 1989, continues to be used as a navigational aid by mariners in the Foveaux Strait.
Dog Island Motu Piu Trust chairman Dean Addie says kaitiaki (guardianship) of the land is the trust’s key objective and coming to an ecological agreement means the partnership can now put some physical work behind this objective.
“We’re so grateful for the support from Awarua Runanga, New Zealand Oil & Gas, DOC and Maritime NZ and all the others involved and I’m really excited about the opportunities this is going to bring about,” he says.
“The concept came from the late Peter Ridsdale and we’re so proud to be moving forward with his vision for the future prospects of the island.”
Not only does the island provide an ecological experience, there is also potential for tourism growth for both the island and Bluff, Addie says.
National MP for Invercargill and trust deputy chair Sarah Dowie says she is pleased with the progress the trust and partners had made in recent months.
‘I’m really excited to see the project gaining traction – it has been a long time coming and it’s great to see it getting moving now,” she says.
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