New Zealand’s clean green image – a couple of points of view

New Zealand's clean green image personified in the Strath Taieri ~ photo Southern Light

For the third summer running now in Mt Aspiring National Park, I interact with many tourists intent on being the overseas equivalent of a New Zealand tramper.

Most know our “Clean Green” marketing ploy is not what it seems, and that New Zealand is perceived as just one big farm. To think otherwise ignores the profound “connectedness” the Internet has on the sharing of information world wide.

We’ve got an awful lot of work to do in some areas to live up to the marketing, but really I hope our motivation is otherwise with more of a flavour of health and well-being!

[AdSense-C]
 

This aside ‘tho it’s kinda weird that politicians are still stuck in a retro ten to twenty year time warp, totally out of touch with our visitors. The inference being also out of touch with our landscape!

School group at Aspiring Hut
At the end of the NZ school year many schools opt to do a final school camp at Aspiring Hut in Mt Aspiring National Park.  

Also at the same early summer time, there are always a handful of oversea’s groups of student specifically here in the country to study our unique environment. These students are highly motivated also doing volunteer work for DOC ranging from Nelson to Fiordland

In this post I want to present two views – neither particularly extreme. Lets have the good news first:

Water quality good for summer swimming | Otago Daily Times Online News

Taieri River
Upper reaches of the Taieri River in Central Otago ~ photo Southern Light’s Donald Lousley

Water quality in Otago has been good so far this summer, Otago Regional Council (ORC) seasonal recreational water quality testing shows. Three sites have had alert/amber warnings at certain times since the summer round of testing began at the beginning of

Source: Water quality good for summer swimming | Otago Daily Times Online News

… which reinforces my experience that Regional Councils and associated environmental dept’s, ie Environment Southland, many farmers, and New Zealand’s Dept. of Conservation do an extremely good job not only keeping us safe, but in the facilitation of our summer enjoyment. Much of this work goes unnoticed and unsung!

White-faced heron
Healthy rivers also mean healthy habitats for our birds! 

This white-faced heron in the lower Cardrona river-bed near Wanaka is an Australian immigrant which began breeding in New Zealand only in the 1940s, none-the-less the lesson is obvious! ~ photo Southern Light’s Donald Lousley

By contrast, and almost on the same day, we have the below opinion on our “Clean Green Image”. After reading it please leave a comment with your views or experiences in your neighbourhood

Dialogue: An environmental crisis second to none – Environment – NZ Herald News

It’s the time of year to get close to nature. Forest & Bird has thoughtfully released a list of 10 places (“New Zealand’s hidden treasures”) where families can do just that. Except that none of the country’s numerous lakes, rivers or streams are named among them.

The Lord of the Rings actor and New Zealand tour guide operator Bruce Hopkins is not surprised, calling our rivers and lakes “gutter holes” and “sewer pipes”. He slams the “clean green” image behind the 100% Pure New Zealand promotion.

Acting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett has defended it, saying: “It’s an award-winning campaign that is working brilliantly for New Zealand with record growth in visitor numbers.”It’s not, and never has been, an environmental measure.”

Hopkins believes “we are leaning towards being deceptive around how we sell ourselves as a tourist destination”.

Source: Dialogue: An environmental crisis second to none – Environment – NZ Herald News

White heron
White heron – kōtuku  

Rare in New Zealand, with a population of just 100–120 birds, the elegant white heron or kōtuku posed for photographer Donald Lousley last winter at the bottom of the Snow Farm road in the Cardrona Valley.  

Kōtuku have a mythical status for Māori because of their rarity and beauty.

 

Records set at Queenstown Airport | Otago Daily Times Online News

Plane at Queenstown Airport ~ photo by Southern Light
top: Plane at Queenstown Airport ~ photo by Southern Light

It’s not my imagination that every time I go to Queenstown Airport to drop off or pickup someone, it seems busier each time!

From all accounts numbers are expected to further increase in the 2016 -17 summer season coming up.

For a long time now I’ve been “over” Queenstown and what it has to offer. I’ve noted of late the streets for example, are dirty, which seems to point to the fact that downtown it’s all about night-life and money – it no longer offers an “authentic” New Zealand experience!

It’s time to change from the attitude that “tourism is a money elevator” and think about and discuss/implement how to make it work for visitors and locals alike.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Records were set at Queenstown Airport last month, traditionally one of its busiest months. Passenger statistics for July showed there had been 173,731 domestic and international travellers, a 16.2% increase in total passenger numbers for the month. In the week ending July 10, there was a record set for the number of international passengers in a week (15,742), while 3326 international passengers moved

Read more at the source: Records set at airport | Otago Daily Times Online News

Statue of William Gilbert Rees, queenstown
William Gilbert Rees 1827 – 1898 Explorer, runholder, and first European settler in the area ~ photo by Southern Light
Published
Categorized as Tourism

Water incident a wake-up call: Prof Sir Alan Mark | Otago Daily Times Online News

Sir Alan Mark worked and earned tremendous respect in the Otago region long before being the recipient of a knighthood. His words below are well worth reading…

University of Otago botanist Prof Sir Alan Mark says the Havelock North water contamination crisis is a ”major wake-up call” about the need for more sustainable agriculture and better protection of drinking water.The Government has ordered

Source: Water incident a wake-up call: prof | Otago Daily Times Online News

Poisoning the wells: a history of infected drinking water in Canterbury | Stuff.co.nz

Recent events in Havelock North have triggered a growing interest in water quality!

NZ Cows enjoying the shade
Photo by Southern Light Are the cows and the rapidly expanding New Zealand dairy industry to blame? Read on below…

After a gloomy week of rain, the sun finally returned to Darfield. But the rain had brought poison, and the town soon fell sick.The crisis began with a smattering of upset stomachs, but ended with more than 100 seriously ill people. For a week in 2012, locals were vomiting and nauseous, struck down with diarrhoea and crippling abdominal pain. Residents piled into the local pharmacy. An employee told The Press about a toddler who had been vomiting every half hour for 40 hours straight. Days after the sickness began

Source: Poisoning the wells: a history of infected drinking water in Canterbury | Stuff.co.nz

This first good snowfall for the winter

A typical NZ scene – happy sheep that have just been fed and they’re quite oblivious in their thick wool coats to the heavy snowfalls on the mountains.

St Bathans Range in the background
St Bathans Range in the background