Collaborative action on biodiversity – the sum is greater than the parts
“This is such a powerful model of community led change, of Māori and non-Māori working hand in hand, it should be
considered in all work being undertaken across government.”
That’s the view of Sharlene Maoate-Davis, co-chair of the Collaborative Working Group that recently launched the next
phase of a project to establish a framework for improving biodiversity in the Wellington Region.
The working group will harness the potential of many organisations, large and small, formal and informal, involved in
biodiversity. Its purpose is to better support, connect and enable the ground swell of community biodiversity and
conservation leadership happening across the region.
The project is a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council, mana whenua, the Department of Conservation
and a range of representative community leaders from diverse sectors across the region. It reflects the importance of
broad-based solutions in creating enduring results.
Paul Blaschke, co-chair of the working group, is excited about the opportunities for the project. “We have a big
challenge ahead of us over the next 18 months. We’re just getting our heads around its dimensions but strong
contributions from group members have put many of the building blocks in place. It’s a great start to a project that
will foster the well-being of our treasured species and bring many groups in the biodiversity community together to
achieve that goal.”
Many groups work at different levels in biodiversity, from local to region-wide projects, on both specific and
broad-based issues. A key objective of the framework is to create a clearer collective picture of what we want to
achieve in fostering biodiversity.
This enables more effective and coordinated planning and support, and better communication and knowledge sharing between
all involved in creating and sustaining habitats.
“Cooperation and coordination will ensure that the sum of the project is greater than its parts,” says Paul Blaschke.
The 60 or so attendees to the launch included Greater Wellington Regional Councillors, Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy, Cr
Tui Lewis from Hutt City Council and Cr Chris Peterson from Masterton District Council. It also included representatives
from the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, Zealandia, Victoria University of Wellington, Federated Farmers,
the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, Sustainable Coastlines, landowners, community groups and interested
The launch included a workshop session and presentations from a number of Working Group members, focusing on the growing
presence of native biodiversity in the region and the importance of connecting communities to the land and our special
A National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity and a New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy are currently being
prepared by government and it is anticipated they will place greater emphasis on regional direction for environmental
gains. This project will look to understand how, as a region, we can best support thriving biodiversity enabled by
aligned agencies and community leadership.
In addition, Greater wellington has just released its Greater Wellington Regional Pest Management Plan 2019-39 which, by
managing pest plants and animals, lays the ground for biodiversity gains.