Orokonui Ecosanctuary is hoping to build up a foundation
fund of up to $2 million from bequests and donations to help
tide it over the tough times.
If successful, it will help the ecosanctuary ride out
decreasing government funding and the uncertain nature of
donations and bequests, Otago Natural History Trust treasurer
Ross Smith says.
The ecosanctuary was heavily dependent on Department of
Conservation biodiversity funding, which was uncertain
because of the department's reorganisation, he said.
Of the $333,000 in donations and grants it received, 66% was
from government departments or local authorities, the
ecosanctuary's last annual report said.
''Given government funding changes from year to year, we
decided we need an investment fund.''
The trust was ''not losing cash'' and aimed to break even,
but did not want to get into the situation of borrowing
funds, which had proved nearly fatal for other projects, Mr
People had donated money towards ecosanctuary operating
expenses or for particular projects, but the foundation would
give them another option.
Donors could stipulate the money was invested in the
foundation and then the interest could be used to cover
''critical costs'' if needed.
Such a fund had worked well for other organisations, such as
the Otago Community Hospice, providing financial stability,
''Staff can then refocus on their core work, rather than
worrying about funding. That is where we want to get to.''
The target was $2 million as the returns from that would
cover operating the ecosanctuary and key staff.
Trust chairman Neville Peat said he hoped the foundation
would provide financial security over the longer term.
On top of the ongoing costs of operating the predator-proof
enclosure and visitor centre, there were also costs
associated with translocating species to Orokonui.
The recent capture and transfer of 50 South Island
saddlebacks from Breaksea Island in Fiordland had a budget of
$20,000, he said.
''We fly pretty close to the wind and whatever surplus we
have is ploughed back into the developing the ecosanctuary.''
The ecosanctuary aimed to not only restore nature
conservation but also help people realise they could help
''It boosts public interest in conservation and adds to the
profile that [Dunedin] is the wildlife capital of New