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Wednesday June 21, 2017

Polhill and Zealandia bring back Wellington’s wild backyard

Silver anniversary for SeniorNet SeniorNet Wellington was celebrating 25 years of helping older people learn computer skills yesterday. The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy, Sir David Gascoigne, and Justin Lester, the Wellington Mayor, attended the event at the Michael Fowler Centre to offer their congratulations and support. Inspired by an established scheme in the United States a small group of retired people founded SeniorNet Wellington in 1992. Today there are more than 70 clubs in New Zealand with 720 Wellington members. Computer technology has changed rapidly in the past 25 years. “Computers are smaller,

faster, cheaper and more versatile” Allan Chee, SeniorNet Chairman, said. “We now have smart phones, tablets, smart TVs, Fitbits and other gadgets that are emerging on the scene.” Coupled with these advances in technology people are living longer. SeniorNet’s main objective is to give older adults the opportunity and encouragement to learn and share computer related skills that will enable them to contribute their knowledge in society. “I feel it is important that older folk are aware that they can learn about digital technology and keep pace with it,” Colin Archer, SeniorNet spokesperson, said.

Woodpigeons are amongst many other species that breed in Wellington’s suburban area. PHOTO: Jānis Apels

Wellington ecosanctuary Zealandia has taken home a prestigious Green Ribbon Award in the Leadership in Communication and Education category. The national awards are run by Ministry for the Environment and Department of Conservation, and recognise environmental and conservation initiatives. Neighbouring community group Polhill Protectors were also a finalist in the awards for the Community Leadership category. “It’s brilliant to see two of the finalists come from Wellington projects,” Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said. “Zealandia and the Polhill Protectors represent the passion that Wellington’s citizens have in looking after their natural capital.” Zealandia were selected thanks to their education team’s ongoing conservation outreach, facilitating over half of all school conservation sessions in the Wellington

region. They have also been pushing innovative resources to get students engaged, such as their own trading card game, observation app, and Youth Ambassador programme. “Our education team have been doing fantastic work engaging and inspiring young people through programmes at Zealandia and outreach to their own special places,” Paul Atkins, Zealandia Chief Executive, said. “I’m constantly amazed by the level of knowledge and enthusiasm in our rangatahi. “Our young people are the next generation of kaitiaki and we are engaged in the exciting work of growing our future leaders and champions for nature.” Both Zealandia and Polhill are closely connected as the areas border each other. Polhill hosts manu taonga (bird treasures) like tieke (saddleback), toutouwai (robin), and kaka that

have spilled over from Zealandia and are living in Wellington’s wild backyard. In 2014 saddlebacks successfully nested on the mainland outside of a fenced sanctuary for the first time in over a century. “The Polhill project revolves around the passion of a community of people committed to figuring out how we can be neighbourly with our natives – how people, pets and our native wildlife can get on progressively,” Paul Stanley Ward, Polhill Protector, said. “To paraphrase Dave Attenborough: Kiwis will only protect about what they care about, and they’ll only care about what they’ve experienced. “The recognition is testament to thousands of hours of collective volunteer effort, but the ultimate reward is being able to live, work and play alongside native taonga like tieke, kaka, kotukutuku and toutouwai.”

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Independent Herald 21-06-17  

Independent Herald 21-06-17

Independent Herald 21-06-17  

Independent Herald 21-06-17