Real Journeys ‘Birds Of A Feather’ Conservation Ball raises over $85,000 for Cooper Island
With an historical New Zealand theme, a hundred elegantly attired guests raised over $85,000 towards the Cooper Island
Restoration Project at the Real Journeys ‘Birds of a Feather’ Conservation Ball on Saturday. 100% of their ticket price
went towards Real Journeys’ conservation effort to remove predators and return native birds to Cooper Island in
Fiordland’s Dusky Sound. The project is being carried out in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC).
MC’d by tv personality and adventurer Jamie Fitzgerald, the evening’s entertainment at Walter Peak began with an adagio
dance to the Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Arrival of the Birds’; followed by opera singer Patrick Manning (accompanied by
pianist Kana Takahashi) and ending with live music from LA Social and dancing on the TSS Earnslaw.
In between, guests dined on a specially designed menu of New Zealand fare with a historical twist by Executive Chef
Mauro Battaglia and his team of chefs.
Real Journeys Chief Executive Richard Lauder says the ball raised even more than he’d imagined.
“This is my all-time favourite event – so many people get behind this, we raise a tonne of money for a fantastic
conservation cause that’s close to our hearts - and have a hell of a lot of fun!” says Richard.
Well-known Queenstown personality Brendan Quill once again ensured the success of the live auction. Some extraordinary
items were donated, including a trip to Doubtful Sound on the Department of Conservation’s Southern Winds vessel, a
painting by renowned New Zealand artist Gareth Barlow, and several stoat traps. Real Journeys offered ten cabins on a
special Discovery Expedition that will visit Cooper Island, whilst two of the silent auction items; a Moa bone and a
David Attenborough signed book; were donated by staff members.
“We didn’t expect our staff to contribute auction items so I was pretty blown away when those two items were put
forward. It just shows how passionate people are about conservation in Fiordland,” says Richard.
DOC Director-General Lou Sanson has attended the ball every year. He says the $85,000 raised helps secure the future of
some New Zealand’s most vulnerable birds.
“Rimu seed counts are very high which suggests we may be in for a big kākāpō breeding season. If that happens we’ll be
needing more safe places for them to go and by removing predators from such a large area like Cooper Island, Real
Journeys is helping us provide that vital habitat,” says Lou.
The funds raised at the ball will be used to complete the instalment of all rat and stoat traps on the island by the end
of this year.
Real Journeys would like to thank all those who helped make the Birds of a Feather Conservation Ball an outstanding