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Conservation

Idealog's Most Innovative in Social Enterprise/Charity: Squawk Squad

Most Innovative Companies

Idealog's Most Innovative in Social Enterprise/Charity: Squawk Squad

The winner of Idealog's Most Innovative Companies in Social Enterprise/Charity is Squawk Squad. New Zealand's native birds are in a crisis. 80 percent of the country’s remaining endemic birds are threatened with extinction, with an estimated 25 million birds killed each year by introduced predators. Squawk Squad’s goal is to connect and engage Kiwis with the protection and growth of these native birds and to that, they’re applying start-up thinking to the conservation conversation.

Extinction Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

The world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, Zealandia, opened its doors in our capital city almost two decades ago, and since then, its existence has helped see the city’s native bird population explode – and encouraged people to do their bit in their local ecosystem, with National Geographic calling the city an ‘ecological triumph’. We talked with its manager of conservation and research Dr Danielle Shanahan about how the park is changing people’s perception of conservation, while helping balance Wellington’s urban needs with its ecological needs.

Extinction Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

In a regular section called Can We Fix It? Idealog and Kiwibank will explore some of the world’s biggest – and, in some cases, most intractable – problems and then showcase some of the clever people trying to tackle them. Here's how New Zealand's 600 offshore islands are being used to help our endangered species.

Extinction Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

In a regular section called Can We Fix It? Idealog and Kiwibank will explore some of the world’s biggest – and, in some cases, most intractable – problems and then showcase some of the clever people trying to tackle them. Here's how several innovative New Zealand companies, such as Cacophony Project and Squawk Squad, are trying to get rid of pests.

Extinction Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

It was arguably the most heated election of 2017, with campaigners canvassing citizens tirelessly and debates around the watercooler reaching fever pitch. And it was not without its share of scandal, with fraudulent votes promoting an investigation to trace the IP address of the perpetrator. The political backstabbing and backdoor deals were all to elect one bird-brained candidate the winner: the kea.

Extinction Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

Bringing back animals that have long been extinct holds a special type of excitement for many – just imagine seeing a moa back in the wild. But is it realistic to think this could actually be pulled off? A team of New Zealand and Australian scientists say previously-extinct species to our conservation checklist will strain already tight conservation budgets, and it might come down to a choice between our beloved endangered animals that still exist and the ones that have long since passed.

Virtual reality realities

For Conservation Week this week, social enterprise Squawk Squad and virtual reality studio M Theory have joined forces to go into the classroom and get children excited about saving New Zealand’s native birds through VR technology. The experience takes the viewer through a forest journey alongside a robin bird, who encounter friends and predators along the way.

Hat tip

Offcut is a New Zealand company that makes caps from textile scraps destined for landfill, while dabbling in others initiatives to tackle environmental issues, like planting a tree for every hat sold. But its co-CEOs are now turning their eye to plastic following a recent sourcing trip to Bali, where they were alarmed at just how much of it was clogging up the oceans. Here, Adrien Taylor explains Offcuts’ brand ethos, the mini-documentary they’ve made about their Bali experience and how in the future, the company will be incorporating recycled waste plastic into its hats.