Posted By Bryna O’Brien | June 29, 2023

Friends old and new gathered at Government House in Auckland to celebrate 45 years of the QEII National Trust Ngā Kairauhī Papa and to thank Bruce Wills ONZM who stands down from the QEII Board this year, generously hosted by our Vice-Regal Patron, Her Excellency the Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.

“I started out as a covenantor before joining the Board in 2014, taking over as Chair from James Guild in 2020,” says Bruce. “I’ve experienced first-hand the incredible support landowners get from QEII – and the sense of pride and enjoyment in knowing my land is protected forever.”

“For many farmers, it’s in our DNA to protect the special qualities on our properties, and it also brings practical benefits. But mostly, it gives us immense satisfaction to see biodiversity flourishing in its natural state – and the confidence in knowing it will always be that way.”

Bruce welcomed local covenantors, Shirley-Ann and Rick Mannering to tell the gathering about their experiences as covenantors.

During their speech, Rick jumped in with an epiphany. “You don’t need to do a lot to get the benefits. The bird song comes back quickly once you start trapping pests! It’s led to us putting more and more land under QEII’s protection. It’s addictive.”

For some of our guests, this was the first time they had been introduced to QEII and everyone was encouraged to support our vital work.

Dan Coup, QEII Chief Executive closed the event by saying, “there’s an urgent need to ensure we can answer the call, when a keen landowner picks up the phone to protect some land or a covenantor asks for advice on trapping pests in their covenant.”

Guests were given a seedling as they left, from Scrub Nursery in Wainui, a property owned by former-QEII rep Rodney Straka and his wife Jane.

They were encouraged to plant the seedling themselves. Dan continued, “Get your hands in the soil and join us in the joy of ensuring that our children’s children will experience the beauty that is New Zealand’s biodiversity.”

Photos by David St George.