The Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust (the Trust) was formed in 2006. The Trust grew from a group of local farmers, environmentalists, and representatives from local and central government who were concerned about the spread of wilding pines in the Mid Dome area.
The Trustees all have a direct interest or concern about the threat posed by wilding pines and recognise the need to promote and protect the economic, recreational, landscape, and biodiversity values in the Mid Dome area.
The vision of the Trust is one where Mid Dome’s mountainous scenery, conservation reserves and high-value pastoral lands shall be restored to preserve and protect Southland’s economy and natural beauty.
Ali Ballantine Timms MNZM
Battling against the wilding conifer infestation at Mid Dome in northern Southland became and remains my passion since I was elected as the local regional councillor in 2001. I went on to serve on the council for 15 years with the last 6 as Chairman. The Trust was formed in 2007 and I have had the privilege of being the Trust’s Chairman since then.
When the national Wilding Conifer Control Programme (WCCP) was set up in 2016, I became the WCCP Governance Group’s representative of all the Trusts and community groups involved in wilding control and eradication NZ-wide.
In 2018 I was appointed to the Fiordland Marine Guardians, and my other interests include walking, biking, tramping, caravanning, and yoga.
I am originally from a farming family near Tuatapere in western Southland where we had farmed for over 100 years. With having a love of the High Country and Back Country, I had the opportunity to buy Cattle Flat Station in 1993, where we have spent considerable time and money improving its productive capacity whilst retaining its wonderful natural features and biodiversity.
I was given the chance to become a Trustee in February 2011 and was delighted to be able to offer my services. As part of Cattle Flat Station is severally impacted by wilding conifers, I can also represent local landowners affected as well. With the funding received from central government over the past several years, I can now see that we will soon be on target to eliminate the wildings completely.
Michael Skerrett QSM, JP, Hon SIT Fellow
Michael is now retired following 20 years as Kaupapa Taiao Manager for Te Ao Mārama Incorporated the Ngai Tahu Ki Murihiku Environmental Consultancy. The key task as manager was to facilitate iwi input into the processes required by the Resource Management Act, Local Government Act, and other relevant legislation.
Around 40% of New Zealand’s indigenous flora and fauna has become extinct in the last 200 hundred years. Michael is proud to be part of the Trust’s project to address the wilding pine issue and protect and restore the natural values. This mahi is of national importance.
Michael is Kaiwhakahaere of Waihopai Runaka Inc, Director of Murihiku Holdings Ltd and Waihopai Rūnanga Holdings Ltd. He is also a representative of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (for Waihopai Rūnaka Inc.), member of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Audit and Risk Komiti and Rakiura Titi Islands Administering Body, as well as a trustee of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust, Venture Southland Trust, Mid-Dome Wilding Trees Trust and Whakamana te Waituna Trust, Tangata Tiaki of Customary Fisheries and Kaumatua of Southern Institute of Technology.
I was very pleased to join the Trust as I have been concerned and interested in wilding trees for many years. Being a keen tramper, I was concerned at the number of wilding trees that were popping up throughout the backcountry. I became more involved through my previous position, which assisted with gaining Government funding to continue the control on Mid Dome.
I was raised on a farm in Southland and have lived and worked in the Gore area over many years, having strong interests in finance, social development, conservation, and the environment. My experience includes present Gore District Councillor, Past Chair Southland Conservation Board, Chair of Forest Hill Foundation Trust, Chair Southern REAP, Director REAP Aotearoa, Trustee Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Trust, and Board member Southland Carbon Neutral Advantage. I am a volunteer in many other groups in the province.
I also enjoy family, travel, gardening, and outdoor recreation.
Richard Bowman was invited to become a Trustee in 2018 shortly after retiring from his position as Biosecurity Manager with Environment Southland. He previously had close involvement with the Trust since its inception in 2007 and with wilding tree issues at Mid Dome since 1997.
Richard brings a wealth of practical experience in wilding trees management as a Trustee and is determined to see that the ambitious goals the Trust has set and has strived for over the last decade will be successfully achieved.
He is also involved in national aspects of wilding tree management through the NZ Wilding Conifer Group which provides a key communication and advocacy function between regional community-based groups and the national agencies and funders
I have had a longstanding interest in the Southland environment and see the spread of exotic weeds across our landscape as a serious threat to Southland’s wellbeing. I see wilding conifers as a major threat and have followed the work of the Mid Dome Trust with interest.
I am well connected with central and local government agencies, have a background in natural science, and a passion for weeds and wilding conifers in particular.
Currently, I am the Chair of the Southland Conservation Board and the Pomona Island Trust as well as a Trustee for the Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Enhancement Trust.
I am currently a Lecturer for the Environmental Management course at SIT. My professional career has included environmental management consulting along with a variety of roles involving scientific research in ecological restoration, forest management, agricultural production, and water quality and quantity management. My qualifications include a PhD in Eco-Hydrology, an MSc in Forest Ecology, MSc in Conservation Management, and a BSc (Hons) in Agronomy.
I joined the Trust to contribute my expertise to sustainable forest management and invasive tree species control through the integration of ecological, economic, and social principles in nature management.
Becoming a trustee enables me to contribute to the mission of eradicating wilding pines in a cost-effective way. I value a landscape rich in native plants and animals, where we can sustainably produce food and enjoy recreational activities. My interests are vested in achieving the aforementioned values and becoming a Trustee is a first step towards fulfilling that.
Land Information New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and Environment Southland provide advice, support and financial contributions to the Trust to help achieve the goal of reducing wilding trees in the Mid Dome project area.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)
Land Information New Zealand’s Crown Property administers un-alienated Crown Land and High Country Pastoral leases in the Mid Dome operational area.
The Trust has a Memorandum of Understanding with LINZ to record the relationship between the Parties and their respective roles to work toward the eradication of wildling trees from Mid Dome and surrounding areas. LINZ contributes annual funding toward the wildling tree eradication programme.
Department of Conversation (DOC)
The Department of Conservation manages a number of reserves in the Mid Dome project area that contain native ecosystems at risk from wilding pines. DOC has a long involvement with wilding pine control in the Mid Dome area and provides funding and advice to the Trust. DOC is also a partner to the Memorandum of Commitment for the control of wilding trees in the Mid Dome area.
Environment Southland (ES)
Environment Southland has a lead role in helping protect Southland from harmful species including wilding pines. We recognise that effective biosecurity requires collaboration and partnerships as well as individuals taking personal responsibility.
Environment Southland has supported the Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust from its formation. We provide technical, administrative, and financial support to the Trust, and contribute funding towards the operational work each year. We are a regional Fund Manager for the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme which contributes funding to the Mid Dome project. Environment Southland also co-ordinates the Mid Dome wilding pine volunteer days in conjunction with the Trust and the Project Manager.
The Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust appointed Boffa Miskell as its programme manager in 2014 to deliver the strategic goal of eradicating wilding trees from the Mid Dome area in Southland. Boffa Miskell’s team of biosecurity consultants design and deliver an operational control works programme annually to control these trees, as guided by the Mid Dome Wilding Conifer Control Strategy 2014-2024.
Boffa Miskell develops the operational plan, engages and manages ground and aerial wilding tree control contractors, procures and manages herbicides and their logistics, and regularly reports to the Trust on progress. Boffa Miskell works with stakeholders including local Iwi and landowners, LINZ, DOC, Environment Southland and MPI, and are closely involved with the research and development of new control techniques, and carry out trials to measure efficacy and efficiency.
Project Manager Marcus Girvan says, “To date we have helicopter sprayed over 900 hectares of dense wilding trees, and carried out ground and aerial spot spraying control over many thousands of hectares. Delivering control is a challenge in this environment, but Boffa Miskell’s goal as project manager is to be effective through innovation – whether that means finding a cost-effective way to accommodate contractors, or using digital mapping techniques to demonstrate progress.”