Black stilts also miss out

The endangered black stilt (kaki) has joined the list of those who have missed out on money after last month's Area9 music festival at Ohau.

Organisers of the festival, held at Waitangi weekend, could not pay their bills, owing money to people who provided services for the 48-hour event.

An internal investigation by Christchurch-based Mission Controlled Events Management Ltd, which organised the event, and accountants Keith Yardley and Associates, handling the insolvency, was under way to find out why there was a significant difference between the reported and actual ticket sales.

On the Area9 website, it said the event would contribute to the preservation of the world's rarest wading bird.

It is understood that T-shirts were sold at the event, raising money for the black stilt captive breeding project, and there were also tins for donations and raffle tickets.

Department of Conservation biodiversity programme manager Dean Nelson said this week he had not heard anything from Rosie Moore or Fiona Page, from Mission Controlled Events Management, since the festival.

When he met them initially, they talked about having black stilts as a fundraiser. At that stage, they were hopeful of having $15,000 sponsorship.

Closer to the festival, he asked about the figure, as he needed to get an idea for budgeting purposes, and was told it would be a fundraiser on the day.

Mr Nelson said he always treated it, from the start, as a "lovely bonus" and had never relied on it. He was disappointed it had not eventuated. It was not just about the money; it was also about raising awareness of black stilts.

The money would have been put to good use, he said.

There were no replies to messages left on Ms Moore and Ms Page's cellphones.


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