Tomorrow is the start of Conservation Week (14-22 October). The Department of Conservation (DOC) runs this programme each year to encourage people to get involved with nature and help take care of our unique natural environment.
DOC works extremely hard to preserve and protect our natural and cultural heritage. It manages a third of New Zealand’s land on behalf of all New Zealanders, going above and beyond to protect our native species.
There is only so much DOC can do on its own to protect our environment. What the Department really relies on is the support of New Zealanders to look after our wild surroundings and the species we treasure.
Conservation Week is a great way to achieve this goal. I want to acknowledge DOC for the tireless work its staff do day in, day out. Its role in the public service is not only crucial to conservation, but DOC also plays a key role in New Zealand tourism - our biggest export earner. The proportion of international visitors visiting at least one national park during their visit is currently about thirty percent.
Of note, DOC also shows a really innovative approach by forming partnerships with valued businesses and getting the most value from the conservation spend by partnering with business such as Air New Zealand, Dulux, and Fonterra – who all help promote our natural gems and protect our surroundings.
I’m hugely proud of DOC and the difference it makes in our country. I hope you are too.