Ducks Unlimited NZ
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:09

Presidents Annual Report August 2015

Written by John Cheyne
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It gives me great pleasure in presenting my annual report for 2014-15. As you will read we are not short on challenges.

Over the last 12 months we have had a number of highs and the odd low. Starting with the low, we have the same problem faced by DU Canada, DU USA and many other New Zealand based organisations in trying to maintain the number of members. Our membership is aging and few younger people are joining.

The DU Board have over the last four years sought advice on our future direction and increasing membership. This included aligning ourselves more closely with other similar organisations which are experiencing similar problems. Unfortunately people appear to have a greater array of demands on their time and this seems to reduce their desire to be members of organisations like DU. Declining membership naturally impacts on income. Any DU member with a magic wand and a few pearls of wisdom on the issue please let me know.
In spite of this problem DUNZ and its wetland conservation arm, Wetland Care NZ still punch well above their weight in terms of what they are achieving. The Wairio wetland project in the Wairarapa continues to be our major wetland restoration project. The recent construction of the long bund to better retain water in Stages 1-3, highlights what can be achieved when collaborating with others. This $30,000 project received magnificent financial support from the Clean Up Wairarapa Moana Fund (Greater Wellington Regional Council), NZ Game Bird Habitat Trust, South Wairarapa Rotary Club, Nikau Trust and Pharazyn Trust. While DU’s finances are limited, we are on the lookout for other worthwhile projects where DU seed funding can leverage contributions from other organisations.

Fund raising is important for DU and the Manawatu and Wairarapa Chapters do an excellent job in organising the pre waterfowl hunting season clay target field shoot which results in a welcome donation towards our wetland projects. Our AGM weekend also generates valuable income.

DU is still involved with conservation programmes with blue duck (whio), brown teal (pateke) and white swan.
A new project DU is supporting is the doctorate study on the endangered bittern at Lake Whatuma in Hawke’s Bay being undertaken by Emma Williams, Massey University. Her findings will assist the conservation of this flagship species, which in turn will lead to improved wetland outcomes nationally.

Our organisation is like an extended family with many members looking forward to the AGM to renew friendships. This is important, but could not happen without the excellent work of our Secretary Jan Able, Flight Editor Liz Brook and Web Site Manager Michelle Cooper. Your Board of Directors also work hard to achieve positive outcomes for DU. Being a Director is fun and involves working alongside a group of similar minded people. If you are interested in becoming a Director please talk to one of us.

Thank you for your on-going support. Wetlands are always going to need a helping hand.

John Cheyne, President
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