Joining in the celebration of Conservation Week

8 August 2002

Conservation Week is an ideal time to take to heart the message that conservation is everyone's business, says Barry O'Neil, head of MAF Biosecurity.

"This year's theme of Nga Maunga Korero - the language of mountains - coincides with the International Year of the Mountains. It is another great reminder of how biodiversity is a global issue," said Barry O'Neil.

"As an agency that works closely with the Department of Conservation (DOC), MAF considers Conservation Week as a key event to celebrate. Our own recent experience with running Protect New Zealand Week to raise biosecurity awareness, emphasised the importance of this mutual support.

"Loss of biodiversity is a pervasive problem which has become as much about controlling invasive species as it is about loss of habitats, from alpine through to marine environments. Every part of our unique environment has value. Viewed from 'on high' our conservation future is dependent on a strong linkage between biodiversity and biosecurity", Barry O'Neil said

Conservation week is a week of activities and action for the environment co-ordinated by the Department of Conservation in the first week of August each year. It has been celebrated since 1969, covering a wide range of themes and topics, from insects to Antarctica.

As a special project for this year's event, DOC has developed an interactive learning website resource www.yearofthemountains.org.nz with the support of UNESCO. The site comprises four stories from New Zealand children talking about a mountain and its significance for them. Their stories are in English, Maori and Mandarin. Children are encouraged to submit their own stories with a 'mihi' to their mountain.

ENDS

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