The Minister of Conservation, Hon. Maggie Barry, was in Palmerston North on 25 February. In addition to helping turn the first sod for the new Wildbase Hospital at Massey’s University, Minister Barry spent time with the Wildbase Recovery Community Trust at the Victoria Esplanade.
As part of the visit, the Minister met with Trustees, Palmerston North Mayor, Grant Smith, Wildbase Recovery Ambassadors Jamie Fitzgerald and Ian McKelvie and representatives from Rotary, Lions and the Department of Conservation.
For Esplanade aviary keeper, Peter Russell, it was nice to reconnect with Minister Barry. The two had met recently when Peter took some Whio fledglings to the Tongariro Whio Hardening Facility in preparation for release back into the wild.
The Esplanade aviaries already house a successful breeding programme for the blue duck, which is included in the wider Wildbase Recovery plans. Alongside the breeding aviaries the new facility will also house 14 rehabilitation aviaries, where public will be able to view some of our most endangered species recover from illness and injury after specialised treatment at Wildbase Hospital.
The Minister was very supportive and encouraging of Wildbase Recovery and spoke of how the project will be a great addition to New Zealand’s wider conservation effort through its public engagement and education, and how it will further enhance the Manawatu District.
Photos from Minister Barry’s visit can be found here.
Manawatu Standard article.