A gift in your will is a very special opportunity for you to do something wonderful for nature in New Zealand.
It is really important that your wishes are carried so think carefully about what you would like to achieve and the impact you would like to have.
Shirley's gift is bringing back the birds
As a young child, Shirley showed interest in the canaries her father bred and throughout her life enjoyed caring for many of her own birds. Shirley was an avid reader and was well-versed on the subject of native birds, especially the two species – the saddleback (tieke) and the blue wattle crow (North Island kōkako), that she decided she would like to help by leaving a financial bequest to help with their future survival.
Shirley passed away peacefully on the evening of her 90th birthday having spent a lovely day celebrating with family and dear friends. The photo was taken during the birthday celebrations.
Shirley’s love of birds will be her lasting legacy, thanks to her thoughtful gift. It has already been used to fund a successful kōkako breeding and translocation programme at Ark in the Park and work to create a predator-free New Zealand which is the ground-nesting tieke’s best chance of survival.
Giving the gift of nature to future generations
Hōne McGregor was Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive for three years. Heading up the charity he saw, first-hand, the impact of bequests on the environment and was inspired by the supporters he met and their passion for nature in New Zealand.
It was this experience that led Hōne to become a Life Member of Forest & Bird and decide to leave his own gift in his will.
“I worry about the state of our beautiful environment and what kind of legacy we are leaving for future generations. Forest & Bird are doing everything they can to ensure nature has the best possible chance of survival but I know it’s not going to be a quick fix” says Hōne.
Because of this Hōne says, as well as providing for his family and friends, he intends to leave a gift in his will to help Forest & Bird continue to be a strong and independent voice for nature.
Hōne is one of many generous New Zealanders who have chosen to leave a gift that will benefit nature. One third of Forest & Bird’s conservation and advocacy work is funded by people who care about the world they leave behind. Last year 37 incredible people, from all walks of life, donated more than $2million to fund conservation by leaving a gift to Forest & Bird in their will. Gifts ranged from a few hundred dollars to half a donor’s estate.
Writing a will puts your affairs in order and ensures you provide for your loved ones but also think about how you want to be remembered.
Hōne is quick to say that he isn’t planning on going anywhere soon.
“It gives me peace of mind to know I have a plan for the future and nature’s future has been provided for - although I do hope my gift will not be received for some time to come!” he said.
A home for nature
One of the first significant bequests received by Forest & Bird was the gift of Bushy Park by GF Moore was a lover of New Zealand flora and fauna. He dreamed of creating a forest sanctuary for public pleasure. When the Whanganui farmer died in 1962, he donated the forest, homestead and surrounding land to Forest & Bird.
Since taking on the responsibility of caring for the estate and building on GF Moore’s dream, Forest & Bird, and latterly the Bushy Park Trust, have worked hard and effectively to establish a mainland island surrounded by a predator-proof fence enabling the re-introduction of other birdlife such as north island robins, kiwi and hihi. Today Bushy Park’s lowland rainforest is highly valued for biodiversity conservation, and is one of the largest protected natural areas in the Manawatū Plains Ecological District.
More recently, Andrew King, 40, who was born and raised in Upper Hutt, Wellington, notified the charity that he has left his holiday cottage to Forest & Bird. Andrew loves tramping and leads a Meet Up group which enjoys exploring all that New Zealand’s Great Outdoors has to offer. With his group, Andrew has also donated time to help with a Forest & Bird restoration project in the city. He said: “Writing your will is about managing your affairs properly – it gave me peace of mind. It feels good to be able to turn the sadness of death to a positive by leaving something for others to enjoy.”