Premier New Zealand tourism company Southern Discoveries has been nominated for a prestigious Department of Conservation (DOC) award.
Southern Discoveries is the oldest and most well-established operator in Milford Sound, and has been nominated for the Southland Conservation Corporate Conservation Award for its role in helping to preserve wildlife at Sinbad Gully, at the base of Mitre Peak.
In partnership with the Fiordland Conservation Trust and DOC, the Sinbad Gully Pest Control Project has been set up to establish a pest control programme that will see the valley of New Zealand’s most photographed mountain become a sanctuary for native species.
Southern Discoveries is one of six finalists from the Southland region up for the Corporate Conservation Award, the winner of which will be announced at the Southland Conservation Awards in Invercargill on Wednesday September 15.
Southern Discoveries’ General Manager John Robson said the company was “delighted” to be recognised for its work alongside other finalists in the corporate division including the Fiordland Lobster Company, Chalkydigits, Peregrine Wines, Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand Limited and Mitre 10 Takahe Rescue.
“We’re delighted to be nominated for the award. Our Sinbad Gully team of volunteers is extremely passionate about supporting a cause that is integral to protecting the magnificence of Milford Sound for future generations,” he said.
“The aim of the Sinbad Sanctuary Project is to see the remote valley of Sinbad Gully become a sanctuary for many endangered and native species with hopefully an increase in numbers in years to come.”
In the 1970s Sinbad Gully was home to the last known New Zealand kakapo (the world’s rarest parrot) living on the mainland. Since then new species of gecko and skink have been discovered there. Southern Discoveries’ financial support and volunteer work helps protect native species like the whio (Blue Duck) and encourages the return of bellbirds, tui and kiwi.
“Fiordland is one of the last true areas of remote wilderness in the world. Milford Sounds is such a magical place and we simply want to preserve its beauty. The Sinbad Sanctuary Gully project is right on our doorstep so is incredibly important to us,” said Mr Robson.
The Southland Conservation Awards are presented by the Department of Conservation Southland Conservancy. The awards are an opportunity for the department to recognise and celebrate the ‘can-do’ attitude and valuable contribution that businesses, individuals, schools and organisations make to conservation in Southland.
The Southland Conservation Corporate Conservation Award is sponsored by E. Hayes and Sons Limited.
Businesses are nominated by DOC staff, who take into consideration the involvement with, or contribution to conservation, including the community conservation initiatives that the business supports.
Organisers said they had received a large number of nominations for the corporate award, making selecting finalists and a recipient extremely difficult.
The theme for this year’s Southland Conservation Awards and Conservation Week is ‘Love New Zealand Arohaina I a Aotearoa’, which is all about showing love for New Zealand and protecting the special things that make the country so unique.