• August 27, 2020
The front page of the new council website for volunteers and groups. Photo: AC
Aucklanders wanting to get their hands dirty can now find somewhere to do that thanks to a conservation website set up by Auckland Council.
The new website has a map of projects, event, contacts and also support resources.
There has been a significant rise in the number of community-led conservation groups in Auckland in recent years, says Richard Hills, chair of the council’s environment and climate change committee.
He says the rise follows the launch of Pest Free Auckland in 2017.
The website, Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau, has been launched to help Aucklanders find the resources and information they need to take action, Mr Hills says.
Auckland Council senior bio information analyst Hugo Geddes, who led the project, says the aim is to get people involved in conservation work and leading their own projects.
"Council, government and NGOs can do so much.”
Auckland has only 28% of its indigenous vegetation left, says Mr Geddes.
“If we want to meet our objectives, we need to make sure that the community is enabled,” he says.
“Only together can we protect and restore our unique natural heritage - our ecosystems, fauna and flora and the other natural taonga of Tāmaki Makaurau.”
The website has a conservation map, showing who is doing what where, including council projects, a conservation directory dubbed the yellow pages for environmental work in Auckland, and an events hub.
The website is an amplifying tool, says Mr Geddes.
“It is a website designed to link people with knowledge in a way that increases connectivity between organisations, information and Aucklanders.”
Mr Geddes cites the 2019 Department of Conservation Survey of New Zealanders showing 55% of Kiwis engage in a conservation activity of some sort each year.
Kiwis understand that engaging in environmental activities has other benefits as well, he says.
“It creates a sense of belonging in communities,” he says.
Environmental services general manager Gael Ogilvie says community groups asked for easier access to resources and more visibility into the conservation work happening across Auckland.
“We have responded to this feedback with a website designed to maximise connectivity across the broad spectrum of conservation projects being led by mana whenua, community groups, landowners, NGO’s, philanthropics and public sector entities.”