Conservation Week: 14th-22nd September 2019

Nature needs us…..

Saturday the 14th September marks the start of Conservation Week here in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Conservation Week is a series of events across the country around a central theme, in 2019 the theme is “Nature Needs Us”….

This year is also the 50th anniversary of the beginning of  Conservation Week in this country.  Originally started by the Scout movement it was meant to encourage people to think about the natural world which surrounds them. Once people take notice of their natural surrounds they are much more likely to want to preserve them. 

Why have Conservation Week?

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for roughly 40% of the landmass of  New Zealand with few staff and on a very constrained budget. They need our assistance to undertake all of the vital tasks required to advance bio-diversity, maintain our back country infrastructure and protect the beauty of our natural world.

              Regenerating forest on Otamahua/Quail Island, 2019…volunteer conservation in action

Now and into the future we should all be lending our support as DOC will never be in a position to do all these tasks on their own. While local environmental groups such as Regional Councils, Forest and Bird, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Native Forest Action, Rod Donald Trust, Permolat and various Aclimatisation/Regeneration/Replanting/Ecological Societies do excellent work they need people power to complete their tasks.

                                                         Biodiversity is the key to our future….

What is required are volunteers who are willing of give of their skills, experience and time to assist DOC by undertaking such tasks as pest control, replanting schemes, bio-diversity/species conservation and maintenance of our back country huts and tracks.

Otamahua/Quail Island: volunteers from the Quail Island Ecological Society on a planting day

This Conservation Week I would like to encourage everyone to think about nature and if possible volunteer to assist one of the groups doing this valuable work. Even one day of your time can make a dramatic difference and ensure these vital tasks are completed.

Project Janzoon: re-forestation and bio-diversity work in Abel Tasman NP

If volunteering is not your thing take individual action: plant some natives in your garden, undertake a pest control program around your home or set up a bush trap line, carry rubbish out with you from a back country hut. Get out into nature alone or with friends & family and go for a tramp/hike/walk/stroll. Short or long the distance does not matter.

      Nina Valley Restoration Group: Volunteer bio-diversity work in the Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve

Enjoy nature on her own terms….try going for a walk on a rainy day, it is an interesting and not totally unpleasant experience.

How can I help?

DOC have a full list of Conservation Week events happening around the country on their website. Here some of the Conservation Week events in Christchurch/Canterbury where I live….why not find out what activities are taking place in your part of the country.

Conservation Week 2019 events in Canterbury

There is also a list of activities you can undertake with your family to celebrate Conservation Week.

…do an activity for Conservation Week 2019

Whatever you decide to do have a safe and happy Conservation Week…and remember…

Nature Needs Us!!!


Take a survey about the cost of textbooks and win!

  • Does the cost of textbooks affect which courses you choose?
  • Do you rely on the library having copies and not buy textbooks yourself?
  • Do you feel that lack of access to textbooks affects your grades?

Give your feedback in this survey which will take about 4 to 6 minutes to complete.

Each student who completes the survey can go into a draw to win one of ten $50 supermarket vouchers.



Celebrate Te wiki o te Reo Māori this week and take the #hono challenge and learn your pepeha

Ara is celebrating Māori Language Week during 9-13 Mahuru 2019. Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language week is Aotearoa’s annual week-long celebration of the Māori language. It is the one week when we get to focus on the beauty and importance of our indigenous language.   Te Reo Māori  is a taonga, a special treasure and it creates a sense of common purpose for many people in Aotearoa NZ. Every New Zealander can help revitalize and strengthen our language by incorporating Te Reo Māori  into conversations, whether it be formal greetings or the use of words and phrases that acknowledge and celebrate our values and our sense of belonging. Click here to see how we are celebrating at Ara this week.

This year we are drawing on Ara’s key values of Hono, Hihiri and Aroha as a framework for establishing relationships in a uniquely Māori way. Use Hono as a starting place to connect with each other and significant people and places through learning your pepeha. This inspires us to learn more and gain a new respect for the differences that make us unique.

Pepeha is a formal structured way of introducing yourself within the Māori world by locating yourself according to important landmarks and the people you descend from.  Research your own landmarks so that you can develop your own descent profile and foster whakawhanaungatanga – building connections.

In celebration of our language and our Ara values

       Hono – Connect

       Hihiri – Inspire

       Aroha – Respect

The challenge is to:

    •  Learn your pepeha
    •  Record your pepeha
    •  Share your pepeha

Tuhi – Prepare your pepeha

Use these downloadable resources to get started on your pepeha.

#HonoChallenge pepeha template
#HonoChallenge pepeha cheatsheet

And gain further inspiration from Mariam and Hinemoa in the following videos.

Mariam Arif is a student with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and teaches us how to do a mihi and pepeha for Non-Māori. She is learning te reo Māori and demonstrates not only a pepeha (2.43 mins) but starts with a greeting and finishes with a whakatauki (proverb)

Hinemoa Elder explains ‘How to structure your pepeha’ in preparation for meetings with key stakeholders. (2.44 mins)

There is even a pepeha app. Find out about it in this 1 minute video