New Zealand’s favourite grandmother, Maggie Barry, must be seriously suffering from the afflictions of the aged with her latest appointment.
Te Papa Atawhai – The Department of Conservation (DOC) – has appointed New Zealand’s first threatened species ambassador.
Nicola Toki, who has worked in wildlife conservation for more than a decade, has been appointed to the high-profile job working with DOC to help protect the country’s threatened species.
She will be building partnerships and encouraging New Zealanders to become involved in conservation efforts.
Ms Toki said as far as her engagement with iwi goes, tāngata whenua already have a good grasp of the importance of her mahi [work] in their role as protectors of the environment.
“Iwi already understand the importance of a Threatened Species Ambassador because it’s embedded in the principles of katiakitanga (guardianship),” Ms Toki said.
“Iwi as kaitiaki understand that these birds and reptiles and plants and bugs they’re not just things apart from us they’re intrinsic part of our being.
“I’m really looking forward to working with iwi right across the country on those things that are special to them.”
Ms Toki said the new role sent a signal to the rest of the world about how much Aotearoa values conservation.