Wendy McGuinness has crystallised her vision for walking the length of New Zealand through conservation land with the newly published Think Piece 28 – Biological Corridors Throughout New Zealand. This think piece was the culmination of an idea Wendy has been fostering since before her appearance on the TVNZ show What Next?. As part of the show, Wendy had three points of leverage for the future, one of which was to build corridors between our national parks as a way of fostering appreciation of the environment. The idea comes from the small nation of Bhutan, nestled between India and China. 72% of Bhutan is covered in forest and all the protected forest areas are connected with a network of ‘biological corridors’.

The think piece is being published in response to the Department of Conservation (DoC) consultation on the future of Molesworth Station. The McGuinness Institute has always had a particular interest in the Marlborough region, largely due to the aquaculture activities of New Zealand King Salmon (see Working Papers 2016/02 and 2017/02 here). We believe that the best use of Molesworth Station would be to link it to Nelson Lakes National Park and to a newly created Pelorus Sound National Park, forming a national park from the mountains to the sea. This would also bolster the economic capabilities of the area, making it less reliant on environmentally disruptive industries like aquaculture.

The think piece outlines the benefits to New Zealand of increasing the area of our conservation land and of maximising the recreation and tourism potential of that land. The second page of the think piece is an A4 map of the proposed walking track over the whole length of New Zealand (see below). The map indicates existing areas of national parks and other conservation land with colour coding. Areas around the walking track not already under the administration of DoC would become newly proposed, additional conservation areas.