Minister attends wetlands ceremony

01:43, Jan 31 2009
Blessing: Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick (left) looking on while Reverend Peggy Peek performs a blessing during a ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating Awarua Wetlands recognition under the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands yesterday.

It was something she was keen to see for herself.

And yesterday Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick made a flying visit to Invercargill to take in the newly renamed Awarua wetlands for herself.

The 16,000ha wetlands, which take in areas around the Awarua Plains, New River Estuary, Toetoes Harbour and Spit, and Foveaux Strait, were recognised in February as having international importance under the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Previously, about 3500ha — the original Waituna Wetlands Scenic Reserve — had been recognised by the convention as early as 1976.

At a ceremony near the Stead St wharf in Invercargill Ms Chadwick joined landowners, representatives from southern councils and the Department of Conservation to unveil a plaque commemorating the wetland's new status.

The wetlands were something she wanted to see since the Ramsar announcement was made, she said.


"It is marvellous to see groups and communities come together to protect this diverse area. Less than 10 percent of New Zealand's wetlands remain," Ms Chadwick said.

Ms Chadwick also met with various women's groups in Invercargill yesterday, before leaving to attend a fuction in Auckland last night.

Her visit follows others by Labour MP Pete Hodgson and Green MP Nandor Tanczos this week, ahead of this year's general election.


The Southland Times