Ambassador brings new focus to threatened species

  • Maggie Barry

New Zealand’s vulnerable native species will now have another strong voice for their protection with the announcement of the country’s first Threatened Species Ambassador.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the high-profile new role will be pivotal in educating New Zealanders and raising awareness of our threatened species.

“We all need to know about the unique birds, animals and plants which are our taonga and understand the efforts needed to conserve them,” Ms Barry says.

The Ambassador will be based within the Department of Conservation. The role will be supported by Air New Zealand for two years, in an expansion of its current partnership arrangement with DOC.

They will work across sectors, including with iwi, conservation groups, regional and local government, schools and businesses to help raise awareness and reduce the risk of threatened species becoming extinct.

“Our native animals, plants and special landscapes are not only important from a biodiversity point of view, but they also benefit the economy, attracting millions of dollars in tourism spending each year,” Ms Barry says.

“Conservation isn’t just an issue for one government department. Protecting New Zealand’s unique nature lies in all our hands and the new Ambassador will play a key role in making this happen.”

Recruitment for the position will begin in the coming weeks.