Call (+64) 3 304 7654, or Email marie@theseventhgeneration.org

Living into the Wild

For wilderness is not space, but the life force that inhibits that space.

Marie Haley

In 2007, I spent the first of three summers working on Campbell Island, amongst the royal albatross and New Zealand sea lions. They were to be some of the most formative episodes of my life. It was here with the vast expanses of ocean around me that I first felt the freedom experienced by wild animals, and it was like taking a deeper breath than I known was possible. A breath that still manages to fill my soul with a mix of joy and hope. For wilderness is not space, but the life force that inhibits that space.

To live in a place where no humans reside, where animals rule, turns what we know of the world on it’s head. Our daily experiences are defined by interactions with the world that are controlled and measured, we know the weather forecast, we hear the daily news, we can adjust the thermostat to make our environment more comfortable and all of our experiences with animals tend to be with ones that are either domesticated or have habituated to a human modified world.

All in all we control our world so we are safe, and that safety limits our depth of experience of nature. On Campbell Island, we were the odd ones out, there were no tracks, no roads and no vehicles, no internet, not even a weather forecast and whatever news came was weeks too late for it to be new anymore. We had one heated room and spent weeks on end camping right in a sea lion colony or in tiny huts on the exposed headlands surrounded by albatross.

Living in such simplicity gave the mind so much time to slow down, to notice the finest details of life and to expand into poetic daydreams. The abundance of nature was captivating, so that I never felt a moment of boredom (that feeling of reaching for updates on your phone). There were always interactions to watch, penguins coming ashore in their daily commute or albatross gliding in from ten long days at sea, sea lions defending their place in the world or even just little pipit birds working as camp cleaners hoping around our feet for crumbs.

After some time I felt these experiences of freedom and the beauty of nature working their way inside my brain and rewiring my neural pathways so that I know I think differently than I did before. For me it has left me with a lifelong yearning for more wildness, more freedom. For some time I sought it out by moving from place to place, but when I found that wherever I went in this human world, it was not there, I decided to stay home and recreate it for myself in the world around me. I started to plant trees and flowers to bring in the birds closer around me and to slow down and watch the wild species that are actually all around us, that go unnoticed in our speed.

Famous in Akaroa our French Town Crier

Akaroa’s official Town Crier and I went on a heritage tour recently to celebrate our shared French ancestry. Both descendants of Etienne Francois Lelievre and Justine Rose de Malmanche together we visited special places of remembrance, the Britomart Monument on which Etienne’s name is inscribed, the monument of the landing place of the Comte de Paris that bought out the French settlers including both Etienne and Justine and the ‘family seat’.

It was a memorable day exploring our heritage together.

Meeting the Minister

Yesterday at the 155th Canterbury A&P Show we meet the new Minister for Agriculture, Biosecurity and Rural Communities, Damien O’Connor (pictured right) as well as the Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries, Martyn Dunn (pictured left). As the 2017 Community Biosecurity Award winner Marie had been invited to meet with the Minister to discuss the Wildside Project.

This was a rare opportunity to tell the inspiring story of the Wildside, where rural farming families have driven conservation efforts on their own land to protect and restore nature for it’s own sake. After 30 years of conservation work, including predator proof fencing, fencing forest habitat and predator control the economic rewards are starting to match the ecological rewards as people come from far and wide to see the species of birds that are returning, such as the New Zealand Falcon, tomtit, penguins, titi and morepork and to walk in the regenerating forests.

It was also an opportunity to raise concerns around the future of the yellow-eyed penguin that is threatened by multiple threats both onshore and at sea.

I hope to work closely with the New Zealand Government into the future in sharing our unique perspective on community conservation, to engage and enable people to make conservation action and appreciation of nature as an important part of our everyday life. By envisioning Seven Generations past, we can create abundance Seven Generations into the future.

He aha te mea nui o te ao : What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata : It is the people, it is the people, it is the people!!!

Predator Free New Zealand

Marie Haley lives in her great grandmother’s house on the Banks Peninsula land that was first farmed by her French great-great-great grandfather. It’s on a part of Banks Peninsula known as the ‘Wildside’, named for its rugged landscape, dramatic cliffs and iconic species of birds, insects and plants – some of which are not found anywhere else in New Zealand. It sounds idyllic, but possums, stoats, ferrets, weasels and feral cats have infiltrated this piece of paradise, just as they have decimated the rest of New Zealand.

Marie Haley checks on a yellow-eyed penguin.
Marie Haley Landowner of the Wildside and The Seventh Generation Guide

Protecting the Wildside’s unique biodiversity

Usefulness of two bioeconomic frameworks for evaluation of community-initiated species conservation projects

Abstract
Context. Community-based conservation managers and their funding providers must apportion limited resources to potential projects that provide varying biodiversity benefits. Funding applicants must demonstrate that proposed projects are likely to provide positive conservation returns on investments.
Aims. We investigated the practical usefulness of two bioeconomic frameworks, the Project Prioritisation Protocol and the Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) in guiding community-based conservation funding decisions and the benefits and challenges to community groups in evaluating projects using the tools.
Methods. We evaluated four species-based community-led conservation projects in New Zealand using the tools, and assessed the quality, relevance and potential impact of the frameworks to community conservation, including users’ perceptions of their usefulness.
Key results. Benefit–cost metrics from both tools indicated that all four projects would provide a low return on investment. However, both tools were highly sensitive to key assumptions about the values of conservation assets (species) being managed and the values of predicted differences made by projects. Both tools scored well against criteria used to assess
their technical ‘quality’. INFFER had greater flexibility for use in different situations, but its use by community groups may be constrained by the time demands of completing a full project evaluation. Both tools can help users define problems and formulate innovative solutions through assessment of success and risk factors and the identification of project efficiencies.
Conclusions. Although both tools provide quantitative, transparent processes for the relative evaluation and ranking of competing projects, their sensitivities to species and/or asset valuation and benefit estimates mean that users should not accept scores and project rankings uncritically. For community groups, evaluation frameworks are likely to be useful to
document costs, conservation benefits and risk factors accurately and transparently, and can encourage applicants to develop more robust approaches to project management, including the development of specific and measurable management objectives. Implications. Adoption of more transparent and standardised assessment of funding applications by agencies, despite some of the drawbacks of currently available tools, would facilitate more transparent prioritisation of competing funding bids and would encourage community groups to develop a more robust approach to project design and management.

Usefulness-of-two-bioeconomic-frameworks-for-evaluation

Abundance and breeding distribution of the white-flippered penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata) on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

Abstract: A survey of the white-flippered penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata) nesting colonies on Banks Peninsula,
New Zealand was made during the 2000/01 and 2001/02 breeding seasons. Sixty-eight colonies were found of which
51 contained 5-20 nests, 12 21-50 nests, and 5 >50 nests. Altogether there were 2112 nests which equates to a population
of c. 5870 birds. Adding the estimated 1650 nests on Motunau Island gave a total population for the subspecies of
c. 10,460 birds. The colonies were distributed right around the peninsula with their occurrence increasing from west to
east. Most were situated either on the peripheral coast (47%) or inside bays within 1 km of their entrance (38%). All but
three of the colonies were on debris slopes below coastal bluffs with the nests concentrated mainly in rock piles. One
colony was on an islet, and the other two were on farmland around the heads of bays. Thirty-four of the colonies were
considered accessible to introduced mammalian predators, and 14 contained evidence predators had been present.
If predator numbers remain high it seems inevitable that many of the surviving penguin colonies will be lost and others
reduced in size.

Abundance-and-breeding-distribution-of-the-white-flippered