Anthea McClelland is very much the global citizen having lived in many places around the world. She came to Aotearoa in  2001 and found herself inspired to join Forest and Bird’s Manawatū branch within two months of arriving, ‘ I’d lived in so many countries that paid no attention to the environment and I wanted to get involved with something that had conservation at its heart’ Anthea notes. 22 years later she is still actively and passionately involved with the organisation and has spent the last 9 years as its chairperson.

Forest and Bird is a national organisation with the focus of ‘giving nature a voice’ through championing and defending the conservation of our native flora and fauna, in our forests, our rivers and our oceans. This year the organisation is celebrating its centennial year, and the Manawatū Branch its 65th birthday. There are 45 branches around our rohe and thousands of active members.

22 years on Anthea is as passionate about the work as when she began and enjoys continued learning and the opportunity to connect the community through F&B branch monthly meetings, which take place the second Tuesday of every month from 7.30pm at the City Library. The meetings always have a fascinating guest speaker and the range of topics covered is vast ‘ There is so much interesting fauna in New Zealand’ Anthea notes, ‘ everyone thinks of birds, but there are so many incredible insects and fish that we need to educate people about’. Some of the topics have included the Powelliphanta (gigantic NZ snail) and NZ Carnivorous plants/  Sex lives of stick insects.

Despite the challenges of climate disruption and constant threats to our endemic species Anthea remains positive and notes, ‘since I arrived in New Zealand people have become more aware of what there is in their own backgarden’. This gives hope that our endemic taonga will be respected, honored and preserved.

Forest and Bird Manawatū is a member group of Environment Network Manawatū. You can find out more about what is happening locally by following the branch on its Facebook page @forestandbirdmanawatu or via the website or