Thirty years on and it’s great to see DOC is still going strong and giving us cause for celebration. The Department of Conservation had a well-attended birthday gathering on North Head for current and former Auckland staff. The mountain is one of Auckland’s most visited sites and proof that even with half a million visitors a year, limited and controlled access to the summit can work well for everyone. Grant and I enjoy walking around the refurbished walkway with its ever changing 360-degree view of the city and the glorious Hauraki gulf. On the summit, in 2015, I signed ‘Good to Grow’, a Memorandum of Understanding with Corrections which provides people power to control weeds and replant, as well as helping DOC with painting and maintenance.
DOC remains very active in our community as a trusted advisor protecting native birds at Ngataringa and Shoal Bays, and it plays an important role stopping the incursion of various pests into Devonport. The rangers work alongside community groups on the restoration of the tunnels. Working as part of the Devonport Environmental Group, and with Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, DOC is helping to coordinate the distribution of rat traps to residents and will continue to encourage our community of Devonport to become a Predator Free peninsula. DOC will be 63 by the time New Zealand is Predator Free and until we reach the vision, the rangers will continue to provide a leadership role and strategies and be at the heart of achieving Predator Free NZ by 2050.
Helen Pollock’s Victory Medal sculpture is off to Arras, France. Many of you will have seen the thirty-six pairs of feet at the Devonport Naval Museum, which she tells me were modelled on her husband’s feet. Helen’s artwork eloquently represents the theme of this year’s WW100 commemorations, the ‘Grind of War’, focusing on New Zealand’s battles in the western front. After it leaves the Arras tunnels in June, the sculpture will tour to Belgium for the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele. Helen’s poignant sculpture truly honours our heroes and its overseas tour of duty puts another of our locals on the world stage.
Hospice is an integral part of end of life care. I was with Health Minister Coleman when he launched a strategy paper aimed at improving the quality of primary palliative care at North Shore Hospice. The framework outlines how to improve communication and connections across care providers. From GPs to community and residential care, to at home-last stage care, it’s all about giving those needing end of life treatment the most comfortable therapy specifically tailored to their needs. Grant and I are looking forward to our seventh Vintners Brunch at Sky City, the major annual fundraiser for our excellent North Shore Hospice.
The Devonport Art Festival is a much-anticipated annual event, getting our community together to showcase local talent and creativity. Opening with the Street Art Festival, it gives us all a chance to see our talented artists at work. At the opening on Saturday, Grant and I were very impressed with the range of works on display including the imaginative wall murals along the Resident Artists Trail.