News from WWF NZ
Wellington rugby player Brad Shields and actress Miranda Harcourt are among New Zealanders from the worlds of sport, music, art and business who are calling for politicians to save the last 55 Maui’s dolphins. They are featuring in a new series of portraits to spread the message that we can bring these rare animals back from the edge of extinction.
Photographer Louise Hatton and illustrator Lisa Nicole Moes have produced the series of black & white portraits to bring more exposure to Maui’s plight, profiling some of the well-known New Zealanders among the 52,000 people who have signed WWF’s ‘last 55’ petition.
Rugby players Brad Shields, Reggie Goodes and Mike Kainga are profiled alongside musicians Iva Lamkum, Sam Flynn Scott (Phoenix Foundation), Bella Kalolo, Myele Manzanza, actors Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and Jonny Brugh (What We Do In The Shadows), and Miranda Harcourt, and sustainable business entrepreneur Laurie Foon. WWF supporters Richard Stewart also features in the series, entitled ‘On Our Watch’. The title is taken from Richard’s words about his decision to support the Maui’s campaign: “Most extinctions we can blame on previous generations. This is on our watch.”
“When I heard from the team at WWF that there were so few Maui’s dolphins, I wanted to do something to help,” said Louise Hatton. “Each photograph captures the person’s feelings on the issue, and as a collection the portraits capture a moment in time when we have the chance to save Maui’s. It’s about the visual impact that a photo can have, and with well-known faces it can make more of an impact. I hope it encourages more people to get behind the cause. There are so few Maui’s, and they need all of our help.”
They will also be posted on WWF’s social media spaces at facebook.com/WWFNewZealand and on twitter @WWFNewZealand over the coming weeks, in a street poster campaign thanks to The Porirua Print Company and Phantom Billstickers.
WWF-New Zealand Head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff said: “We wanted to represent the many thousands of people who are speaking out on this issue. People across the country are deeply concerned that the government isn’t doing more to save Maui’s, and is in fact increasing the threats by allowing oil and gas exploration in their habitat. Maui’s only live here in New Zealand, they’re found nowhere else in the world – they are 55 New Zealanders, and our political leaders need to get the message and act to save them.”
The main cause of Maui’s decline is accidental by-catch in fishing nets, and Mr Hardstaff said the solution was government support for those affected by net fishing closures: “Simply banning nets and abandoning the communities affected isn’t going to work. We – and most New Zealanders – want the government to help fishing communities move to sustainable methods of fishing. It’s not beyond us to solve this – and the fate of one of our most precious species rests on it.”
Brad Shields, Wellington-based rugby player, got involved after hearing about Maui’s from Louise and watching a TV documentary about Maui’s: “It’s something I didn’t know about until recently, I was surprised when I heard how few Maui’s dolphins are left. A Maui’s dolphin is a New Zealand native animal. With the kiwi, you protect it to the end of the Earth and it should be the same for Maui’s. I just hope that people become aware of the situation and we don’t waste precious time.”
The petition is online at thelast55.co.nz