Saturday, March 19, 2016


Yep, we've been away in the bottom of the South Island doing some birdwatching with my sister Marion from Canberra. We selected a few likely places where we might see birds that are not so common. We were well rewarded.

A personal highlight was some close attention from a wild Kaka that appeared on the deck of our rented holiday home. We also had the very rare experience of seeing two of these magnificent birds mating. They don't do this very successfully very often, apparently, relying on the occasional good crop of "mast" exuded from forest trees. And when the beech mast is doing well, plagues of introduced wasps often prevent the birds from getting the benefit of it.

But everywhere we went for ten busy days, the investment of our Department of Conservation in sanctuaries, predator-proof fences, poisoning and monitoring programs, information centres - not to mention clear roadside notices - greatly enriched our self-guided experience. We should be grateful for our country's growing awareness of the special nature of so much of our environment. It says something of our respect for creation...

However, investment in our environment is also good for tourism, of course - we found overseas travellers everywhere we went. But there are other kinds of investment that are needed for our vulnerable babies and children and their under-privileged parents. How can we maintain a balance in allocating our limited tax resources for the best good of all?

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