Sheila Gwennifer Davis
President of the Maruia Society. Her campaigns helped obtain protective legislation for indigenous forests and reform of the mining laws.
Dame Whina Cooper
Dame Whina Cooper has for several decades championed protection of the environment among the Maori people in New Zealand. She is the founding president of the Maori Women's Welfare League which promotes environmental, spiritual and emotional well-being of the Maori, and has led campaigns for government recognition of Maori rights, including management of their ancestral lands.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer
Sir Geoffrey Palmer has been Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment of New Zealand. He was instrumental in successfully combating driftnet fishing, a practice that led to the death of endangered species such as whales, dolphins, seabirds and turtles. His efforts resulted in the Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets in the South Pacific. Palmer was the driving force behind the New Zealand Ozone Layer Protection Act, and he also established the New Zealand policies to mitigate global climate change. His leadership made New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to introduce comprehensive resource management legislation.
Ms. Lorraine Adams has played an outstanding role in advancing the cause of conservation and environmental protection in coastal North Otago, New Zealand. Thanks to her efforts local authorities and industry are facing up to their responsibilities.
Prior to Ms. Adams making a public issue of the neglected condition of the Oamaru foreshore, this beach has been the site of fouling by sewage and industrial waste from timber plants, abattoirs and freezing-works plants. Ms. Adams' actions brought the anger of civic leaders and on every point raised by her and denied by local authorities, she has been found to be correct. She has been tireless in cleaning litter and debris from the beach and has obtained the support of many schools. Most of the planting along the shoreline has been carried out and substantially financed by her.
The colonies of blue penguins have also benefited from her actions, which have improved nesting sites and increased their safety from predators.
Janis and Bob Jones
In 1980, Janis and Bob Jones purchased a house at the Moeraki Lighthouse in New Zealand. Their home soon became a sea bird hospital where distressed and injured birds were nursed, cared for, fed and released. Over the past decade, hundreds of yellow-eyed and little blue penguins have passed through the lighthouse sanctuary. The couple's work has been most influential in exposing the predicament of the world's rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed. Janis and Bob have also planted out areas in coastal shrubs to provide nesting sites for the birds.
The couple face many uphill battles with different authorities and a nearby land owner. They have started a trapping programme for penguin predators although they realize that the penguins' worst enemy is man. Concurrently, Janis and Bob play an advocacy role, visiting schools and talking to community groups. Many clubs and individuals in the area have started raising funds for plants, fencing, food and drugs for the couple's project.
As an officer with the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Don Merton roams the forests of the world devising plans to improve the survival of bird species facing extinction. He has contributed to the rescue of more than a dozen, including the Mauritan echo parakeet, the Chatham Islands black robin and the New Zealand saddleback. No other conservationist in the world has been directly involved in as many bird rescue programmes, said Bird Life International, the global agency responsible for bird conservation.
In the Seychelles, he helped devise techniques to save the magpie-robin from extinction. Slow breeders that fed often on the ground, the birds had been decimated by feral cats. By November 1992, despite a successful programme to eradicate predators, their numbers dwindled to 25. Conservationists turned to Merton, and after observing the robins, he discovered that the native vegetation in the birds' habitat had virtually disappeared and the forest did not provide enough safe nesting places. He suggested adjustments to supplementary feeding, positioning of nesting boxes and how to exclude other species from food and nesting sites. Over three years, the species made a spectacular recovery and today there are some 60 robins in existence.
In Australia, Victorian zoologists are using management techniques modelled on Merton's to rescue the helmeted honeyeater. In 1994, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds awarded him a medal for his contribution to species survival.