The NZ Game Bird Habitat Stamp programme and the Game Bird Habitat Trust Board play an important role in the protection, enhancement and creation of game bird habitat in New Zealand. While the major focus has been on wetlands, upland game bird habitat is also included. In addition, any improvement of wetlands is also of benefit to a wide range of other wetland birds and fish.
The NZ programme was initiated in 1993 and was based on the programmes operating in Canada and the USA. DUNZ actively supported its establishment. The programme is ably administered by Fish and Game NZ who process the funding applications and provide the secretarial support for the Trust Board.
Board members are appointed by the Minister of Conservation on the recommendation of Fish and Game (4 members), Ducks Unlimited (1 member) and a member nominated by the Director General of Conservation.
Current members are:
Andy Tannock – Chairperson (Manawatu), Ian Hogarth (Canterbury, formerly Northland), Mark Sutton (Southland), Steve Cragg (Gisborne), John Cheyne, DU representative (Hawke’s Bay), Susan King, DOC nominee (Malborough).
The functions of the Trust Board are set out in Section 44D of the Wildlife Act 1953. The Board’s primary focus is applying funds obtained from the Habitat Stamp programme as grants to applicants for the protection, restoration, improvement, creation, or procurement of game bird habitat.
The Board can also:
- Identify and evaluate areas for protection or restoration of habitat
- Negotiate with landowners and other agencies for the protection and restoration of habitat
- Promote or provide advice on protection and restoration of habitat
- Promote the sale of game bird habitat stamps and associated products
- Recommend the game bird or other wildlife species to be depicted on stamp.
NZ Game Bird Trust Stamp
Funding for the Trust comes from the $3 Game Bird Habitat Stamp, recently increased from $2, from every game bird hunting licence and a proportion of the external sale of stamps to collectors and prints of the annual bird painting. The money raised each year from game bird habitat stamps is transferred from Fish and Game Councils to the Game Bird Habitat Trust. Currently this is approximately $100,000.
The Trust Board is working with wider community interests in implementing a wetland management plan involving a small number of large projects in both the North and South Island. This has included the Para Wetland near Blenheim and Taikitakitoa Wetland near Dunedin
It is currently considering how to help with the JK Donald Block on the north-eastern edge of Lake Wairarapa and the Underwood Wetland near Dargaville. These projects are ranked highly by the Habitat Trust Board for development of a sponsorship package on the basis of game bird and other wildlife habitat enhancement potential.
DU received significant financial assistance from the Trust in developing the Wairio wetland.
Applications for grants from the Trust close on 30 June each year and are open to anyone with support from the landowner and a recognised habitat referee. Information and forms are available from the Fish and Game NZ website.
This year (2017) the Trust has received 30 applications and these will be considered by the Board when they meet in the Wairarapa 24-25 August. They will also be visiting Wairio wetland during their visit.
Supplied by John Cheyne.