PRESIDENT’S REPORT – I.H. PIRANI
Presented at the second annual conference of Ducks Unlimited (NZ) Incorporated at the White Heron Lodge, Kilbirnie, Wellington on Saturday, 24 April 1976
This year has been one of rapid growth and progress for Ducks Unlimited. Waterfowl conditions in most parts of New Zealand improved considerably and most regions experienced an excellent breeding season. Prospects for 1976/77 appear most encouraging for the ducks – however, these favourable circumstances must not lull us into a false sense of security or complacency. Our work is just as urgent – the need is still as great.
Your group’s financial situation has continued to improve and the financial statement to 31 March 1976 is enclosed for your perusal. Membership has almost doubled and continues to grow at a steady pace. We have welcomed our fifth life member, our third trade member and our fifth acclimatisation society member. We also have a growing membership from persons overseas – in Australia, Canada and the United States. In 1976/77 we aim to double membership.
‘Operation Gretel’ is now well under way and results are encouraging. ‘Operation Pateke’ has attracted much attention and we are delighted with our progress – 1976/77 promises to be a great year for the Brown Teal.
As a fundraising project, our T-shirt promotion produced excellent results and the gift card subscription scheme similarly was most successful and resulted in many new members.
At the end of the financial year, we announced our plans for project number 3 – ‘Operation HQ’. The objectives of project 3 are the establishment of a national headquarters comprising a research centre and display area, the latter designed to be a fundraising activity. Already several members have promised their entire waterfowl collections to the centre. We look forward with much enthusiasm to our third project which must, of necessity, be staged over several years.
In 1975/76 Ducks Unlimited has not been entirely inward looking and has interested itself in other related conservation projects. One such project is the Westshore plan in Napier and our director, Henry Lickers, participated in meetings concerning this matter.
We have enjoyed visits from a director of Ducks Unlimited (Canada), Mr Gerry Malaher, and from the National President of Ducks Unlimited Inc USA, Mr Gaylord Donnelley – such visits lead to a closer understanding and liaison between the international groups. In the same ways, the visit of director, Dudley Bell, to the northern hemisphere was another valuable opportunity – he has now returned with many exciting possibilities for us in New Zealand.
One of the unique attractions of membership in Ducks Unlimited is the opportunity for all to positively participate in field work – in fundraising – and in contributing ideas, knowledge, expertise etc – financial memberships means so much more than just writing a cheque for $10.
In the short time since we began, with a few hundred dollars to support the dream, significant progress has been made. However, we are still very much in the establishment period. Hard work and enthusiastic support have helped to make the dream materialise and DU is contributing in a positive way to the preservation of New Zealand’s waterfowl heritage – but there is a long road to travel.