World Heritage Status For NZ Subantarctic Islands

  • Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today welcomed the announcement of the formal World Heritage listing of the New Zealand subantarctic islands by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

"This is a red-letter day for New Zealand Conservation. The international community has christened another of New Zealand's rich conservation assets as being of the highest conservation status. World Heritage Status of Tongariro National Park in 1990 and Te Wahipounamu was granted in 1990."

"These islands are the most unspoiled in the world. The bird life is unbelievable. The many different species of penguins, albatross, petrels, ducks and shags outnumber all the birds in Europe. They're also a haven for the world's rarest sea lion and Southern Right Whales. The plant life is equally special with nearly 200 indigenous species including the unique daisy trees, tree ferns, buttercups and flowering megaherbs.

The Minister of Conservation lodged the application for World Heritage Status of the Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes, Bounties and the Snare Islands in July 1997. The issue has been pursued by conservation organisations for nearly a decade. UNESCO announced last year the World Heritage status for the adjacent Australian Macquarie Islands.

"Managing the subantarctic islands is a huge logistical challenge. We are very appreciative of the support of the RNZ Navy and HMS Te Kaha for the service trip currently underway. I will also be exploring a closer Trans-Tasman relationship with the Australians on the management of the New Zealand and Australian subantarctic islands when I meet later this week with Commonwealth and State Environment and Conservation Ministers."