Green advocate earns QSM
“I guess not too many people have a kiwi sitting by their piano.”
Carole Long walks across her Mount Maunganui living room and picks up the perspex box containing Koro the kiwi — aptly named “because he’s like an old man“. She explains how Koro helps her teach children about New Zealand’s native wildlife.
The 76-year-old with strong links to Te Puke through her work with Forest and Bird and the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to conservation in this week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The sprightly pensioner has always loved the outdoors. But it was when she was 12 that her fate, and life-long passion, was sealed.
Having joined her father for some Land Information New Zealand work in the South Island, Long found “a beautiful yellow toadstool’’ and picked it to show her dad. Long didn’t get in trouble. Instead, she was told how 200 other people could have probably also appreciated the toadstool’s beauty — had she not picked it.
“That really stayed with me, what he said.”
Long has served at every level of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, including two terms on its executive board. She worked for the Department of Conservation and helped to establish, and become the longest-serving volunteer for, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust.
She was “absolutely stunned’’and “very honoured’’ to receive a QSM.
“I’m just a keen conservationist I suppose and I just love our protected areas and all the birds, and babies. Look around my walls — it’s all birds and babies.”
Pictures of some of her 13 grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren sit near her breakfast bar and various bird mementos adorn her living room.
And, of course, Koro: “He’s my buddy.”
Queen’s Service Medal recipient Carole Long with kiwi Koro, which usually sits next to her piano at home. The Mount Maunganui woman has been honoured for her tireless conservation work.