50 degrees south and discover
its hidden secrets
The evening of the 24th September couldn’t have been better if you had ordered it off a menu. The clock ticked over to 5pm and one of those beautiful spring evenings unfolded, with the wind dropping to a murmur and the warm night air refreshingly sweet. The setting at Peter and Annabel’s house near Tai Tapu was picture-perfect, with Annabel's stunning sculptures and paintings off-set against the rural setting outside. We had a good bunch of helpers to keep the night running smoothly, with Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (headed up by Rick Menzies) staff in conjunction with our 50 South Trust and CIBE members—and of course Peter, Annabel and their helpers.
Everyone was well rewarded with beaut food (supplied by the Raspberry Café and local suppliers) and wine (the white gifted by our fond sponsors Mountford Wines), and a fun-filled evening of socialising with like-minded people interspersed with some great speeches.
And what a bunch of speakers we had. Expedition leader Colin Meurk drew us into the wonders of Campbell Island and introduced the expedition team. Don Merton, CIBE patron and saviour of so many of our native birds gave a fascinating talk about his career, while the indominable Ruud Kleinpaste had us wrapped up in the wonders of biodiversity and biomimicry. I had the questionable honour of having to follow Ruud’s class act but managed to hold my own with the nuts and bolts of how we will connect the world to Campbell Island and what we still need to get there. Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt had us all in stitches with his colourful account of his link to the Subantarctics (do a search on Auckland Island pigs to find out more) and Conservation Minister the Hon Kate Wilkinson was a star act who shared her passion for conservation (if not for spiders!) with us all.
The festivities carried on well into the evening (well we had to polish off more of that food and wine). It couldn’t have been a better night, and was the perfect way to share with others our CIBE plans and gather support for this worthy programme. Walking out to the car at the end of the night, through the warm spring breeze and surrounded with the night sounds of frogs and chirruping insects, Campbell Island felt that one step closer than before.