It is hoped concerns such as competition between community
groups and the Department of Conservation for funding will be
addressed at a national conference in Dunedin later this
Community conservation groups were concerned about Doc's
restructuring and its effect, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust
general manager Sue Murray said.
''There is a feeling of unease as there is about anything new
.. . and this is a way to address that.''
The trust was organising a conference, Conservation Inc, to
be held in Dunedin with the aim of ''exploring'' the changes
in conservation and the trend towards ''citizen-initiated''
It was planned for the month after the implementation of
Doc's new structure in September.
''We don't actually know yet what direct impact the changes
The conference would be opened by Conservation Minister Nick
Smith and Doc's two deputy directors-general, and other
senior staff members would be attending, she said.
It would give community groups the chance to talk to them
about some of the issues facing conservation.
''I expect it will be robust session.''
One of the issues was the resourcing of conservation work,
something Doc could not do without either, Mrs Murray said.
''There is going to be pressure on everybody.''
Doc was looking at increasing partnerships and could possibly
be competing with community groups for funding. But what that
would mean would not be known until the deputy
director-generals outlined their vision for Doc in the
future, she said.
''It's an opportunity for community groups to listen to what
Doc has to say and then ask about their concerns.''
An issue for the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust was whether the
technical advice it relied on Doc for would be available in
The four themes of the conference were whether groups could
connect and work together, how to stay viable, how to respond
to the biodiversity needs and what was feasible.
There would be sessions on funding from economist and
philanthropist Gareth Morgan, a professional fundraiser, and
the Otago Community Trust. The local government perspective
would also be addressed by representatives from the Otago
Regional Council and Christchurch City Council.
Other conservation groups, such as Forest and Bird and WWF,
would also attend, and speakers would include New Zealand's
Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden.
The conference will be held on October 17-18.