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Protecting our precious places

Launch of Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative in New Zealand celebrated

Media release

4 November 2016

The launch of New Zealand’s contribution to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative, a pan-Commonwealth forest conservation programme, was celebrated today by Her Excellency, Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand, at Mt Lyford Lodge, Waiau in North Canterbury.

The event celebrated the registration of Mount Terako Covenant, New Zealand’s first QCC covenant, established by Sue and Peter Turnbull in partnership with the QEII National Trust.

The QCC initiative is a partnership between The Palace, the Royal Commonwealth Society, and a rainforest charity called Cool Earth. It aims to create a network of rainforest and native forest conservation programmes throughout the Commonwealth and show that, ‘irrespective of geography, economy, culture or tenure, solutions exist to the threats facing these most critical of ecosystems’.

It was announced by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in November 2015. It was established to mark Her Majesty’s long reign and dedication to the Commonwealth.

All member countries of the Commonwealth were invited to contribute to the initiative.

New Zealand was one of the first Commonwealth countries to support the initiative.

In November 2015, Prime Minister John Key announced that New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC initiative would be the allocation of $1 million over 3 years to the QEII National Trust to help it extend the network of covenants protecting native forests on private land.

The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy said that while New Zealand was fortunate to have beautiful wilderness areas, they cannot be taken for granted. She hoped more people would be inspired to support the QCC initiative in New Zealand.

‘This QCC will be a lasting legacy of Her Majesty’s leadership of the Commonwealth.

‘I am delighted to help celebrate the QCC launch and registration of the Mt Terako covenant. This will protect the natural values of a precious forest ecosystem, and align with moves to protect indigenous forests throughout the Commonwealth,’ Dame Patsy said.

National Trust Chair, James Guild, said the National Trust was honoured to be selected by the Government to fulfil New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC.

‘We have been helping protect special natural and cultural heritage sites on private land ever since we were set up to do so in 1977. Being handed the responsibility for this fund is a vote of confidence in our work and what we have been able to achieve in partnership with private landowners.

‘More importantly, the fund gives us the opportunity to work with more landowners like the Turnbulls to permanently protect more of our unique and vulnerable native forest ecosystems on private land,’ he said.

Sue and Peter Turnbull purchased their Mount Terako farm in 1994. They said the area now permanently protected with a QCC open space covenant really appealed to their hearts when they viewed the property to buy.

‘We look out over to Mount Terako from the farmhouse — the view is spectacular, especially when there is snow on the top of the mountain.

‘Over the 21 years we lived on the farm, family and friends have enjoyed the area for walking, picnicking, and listening to the beautiful forest birds.

‘We are really proud to have established this covenant and that it has been recognised as being very special in New Zealand. It is protected now for many more generations to enjoy,’ they said.

The Turnbulls hope publicity of the Mt Terako Covenant launch will encourage an appreciation of the importance of the country’s native forests and just how much farming community does to help conserve New Zealand’s biodiversity.

New Zealand’s contribution to the QCC, including the Mr Terako covenant, will feature at an event being held at Buckingham Palace later in November to showcase the progress of the QCC initiative throughout the Commonwealth.


More information

Watch the video of the QCC launch in NZ

Gallery of photos from the event

Mt Terako Covenant

Mt Terako Covenant was established by Sue and Peter Turnbull in partnership with Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.

The 392 ha covenant contains primary montane beech forest, subalpine scrub, shrubland and rockfields, and rupestral (rocky) and alpine herbfields. It protects one of the few larger areas of forest remaining on Canterbury’s modified private land. Protection of the forest is made all the more significant given there are very few forests left that contain primary forest in the whole of the highly modified Canterbury landscape.

The covenant provides habitat for kea (nationally endangered), kaka (nationally vulnerable) and occasionally eastern falcon (declining) as well as Epilobium forbesii (an endemic perennial herb that is at risk-naturally uncommon) and the carnivorous snail Wainuia edwardi (declining).

The area also has significant landscape values and will extend and enhance habitat options for native species because of its good connectivity to the surrounding protected areas of Snowden Scenic Reserve, Molesworth Recreation reserve and Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park.

The QCC funding allocation allows the National Trust to establish around 10 more forest covenants a year than it would be able to with its normal level of funding.

About the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative

Information on our website

Queen's Commonwealth Canopy website

Media liaison - Anne McLean - 04 474 1689

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