Access to some of New Zealand's most endangered species and isolated islands is up for sale to help fund a pest programme in the Southern Ocean.
The Department of Conservation is opening up berths on some of its most exclusive trips - including to the Snares Islands and Dusky Sound - to be auctioned off on TradeMe today.
Money raised will go towards the "Million Dollar Mouse" project, which aims to find $1 million to eradicate mice off the Antipodes Islands.
The Antipodes are an ecological treasures that lie 800km southeast of Bluff, home to rare species like the Antipodes Island snipe and the Antipodes Island parakeet.
Lots of other seabirds use the islands as life-rafts in the Southern Ocean, to breed, feed or rest.
Mice are the only pest on the islands, and cause trouble by eating the eggs and chicks of seabirds. They also eat huge numbers of insects and the seeds of plants that are critical to the health of the islands and a food source for the native species.
The project is the brainchild of Wellington philanthropist Gareth Morgan, who will match the cash raised dollar for dollar.
Auctions include and eight-day trip to the "untouched" Snares alongside DOC rangers. Tourists aren't allowed on the island, meaning it is one of the only opportunities for visitors to get ashore.
Other auctions include hand feeding kakapo chicks, an overnight stay on Tiritiri Matangi, a seven-day trip to Dusky Sound and Resolution Island, surveying Maui dolphins and a trip through the historic St James Station.
DOC southern area manager Andy Roberts said the winners get the chance to help out alongside staff doing everyday business in very special places.
"The point of different is that people will get to do some very interesting work," he said.
"Each of the trips in their own way would really neat, and would be something that not many people will get the chance to do in their lifetimes."
The auctions close today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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