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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The missing ranger on Maungawhau

World Ranger Day is observed on 31 July, the anniversary of the founding of the International Rangers Federation in 1992. It is a time to celebrate the dedication of park rangers around the world who protect parkland and animals, and to remember the approximately 1,000 rangers who have been killed or injured in the line of duty in the last ten years. 

The Friends of Maungawhau celebrate World Ranger Day with a traditional boiling of the billy - actually a Thermette, or Benghazi Boiler - and morning tea with our volunteers and invited guests.

We were joined by Peter Haynes, chair of the Albert-Eden Local Board, and Glenda Fryer, deputy chair and one of the six Auckland Council representatives on the new Maunga Authority, due to have its first meeting in September.
Smoky billy tea and fruit cake accompanied discussion of current issues. Peter gave a brief summary of matters relevant to FoM, and was pleased to announce that the Board's funding has been increased by some $1.5 million.

World Ranger Day has special significance for FoM: for two decades now we have campaigned for a ranger service on Auckland's volcanic cones as the only practicable way of preserving a potential World Heritage site and coordinating conservation efforts. The need for a ranger on Maungawhau was stated in the first management plan (1986). Successive councils have made promises, but the vision of a ranger on the maunga seems as distant as ever.

This year we're taking a new approach to the "missing ranger" issue with the aid of a PR mascot. Our WRD celebration was his first official outing.

It all stemmed from a casual remark by our volunteer coordinator Jean Barton that we might as well dress up a dummy and stand it there while we work. By chance shortly after, Jean and Keith discovered a battered but still handsome mannequin in a junk shop, and immediately deployed him for FoM's PR team.

The missing ranger is as yet un-named and short of a boot, but should brush up nicely for Love Your Mountain Day on Sunday 7 December. He may even be presented to Mayor Len Brown who has confirmed his attendance.

Kit didn't get to speak formally about World Ranger Day it's hard to get a word in when there are politicians about but the Duke of Cambridge was kind enough to stand in for him. He did a creditable job, without matching Kit's passion for the subject, as did Dame Jane Goodall. You can listen to their messages on the International Rangers Federation website.

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Jean and Keith, for finding the missing ranger! I'm looking forward to meeting him.