Sculpture donated to cause
Pupil tells classmates: we can make a difference
A driftwood sculpture donated to the Save Fiordland campaigners by Riverton artist Wayne Hill was erected on ground at Fiordland College, Te Anau, this morning. Here, we run the speech given to classmates by 13-year-old Year 9 pupil Richard Crouchley.
Take a look behind you. What do you see? The same old Murchison mountains that most of us have seen all our lives or ... something unique.
Do you see boring old Mt Luxmore or ... the Kepler mountains, one of great walks in the world.
Most kids in the world look out on concrete, the neighbour’s grundies hanging on the line or at best a little green area, a park designed by a town planner.
They might go on an occasional school camp and get to experience a natural, wild place. We get to swim in it, tramp in it, boat, climb, hunt, raft in it, whenever we want.
Whether you’re over the views or not, you have to admit, we are in a pretty unique position.
How many schools in the world are this close to such a huge area of untouched wilderness? In fact a world heritage area, which sounds flash but just means that it is a place on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and are to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
Because we live here, we owe it to ourselves to take a good hard look at these “development” proposals – the tunnel and the monorail.
I’m not trying to tell you what to think, I’m just asking that you do think about it. Not just for us locals, but for the people that visit too.
How real an experience of Fiordland can they have traveling underneath it, or zooming past encased in a plastic? I know none of us at our age want to think about our kids, or grandkids, but the odds are that we will have them.
What opportunities do we want them to have? Ask yourself who stands to benefit from these developments?
If they get the go ahead, consider what other money making schemes might rear their ugly heads in the future.
If it's OK to ignore the national parks management plan in these 2 cases, why have management plans at all?
Will the proposed tunnel and monorail even be safe?
I’m asking you guys to think about this stuff, but more than that. If you feel strongly either way, then you need to take action.
It sounds cheesy I know, but it’s kind of like the Dr Seuss character, the Lorax: he spoke for the trees because the trees have no tongues.
I know we can’t vote yet, but we can speak out. We can sign petitions, write to bigwigs, Twitter and Facebook our friends.
It's easy let the adults do the talking for us. It's easy to sit back and let the conservation minister make the big decisions, but in 1959 if New Zealanders hadn’t spoken out as part of the Save Manapouri campaign, Fiordland College would be on the edge of a massive man-made lake, formed from lakes Manapouri and Te Anau combined.
Think what would have been lost.
It is possible change the government's mind. All it takes is individuals willing to think through the consequences of decisions like this, and to stand up for what they believe in.
Thank you Mr Hill for your sculpture. Hopefully it will help remind us to take action, in case the mountains, lakes and beech forest and all the critters that live there, aren’t quite enough.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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