Prominent New Zealand rugby player and Crusaders number 8 Kieran Read has taken a deft side-step in his rugby career to help raise awareness of New Zealand’s endangered yellow-eyed penguins and the work of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust that has done so much to ensure their survival into the 21st century.
Recently capped New Zealand player of the year and enjoying life as a first-time father, Read admitted to having a strong interest in our native wildlife. He said that he had been lucky enough to visit yellow-eyed penguin reserves on the Otago Peninsula and see their breeding habitats for himself.
“When I was approached by the Trust I was reminded of a school project I did as a kid. These penguins are tough, determined little characters, climbing over sand dunes and into the hills to nest and feed their young. I’m really pleased to be able to help save the yellow-eyed penguin so that our next generation and visitors to our country can enjoy viewing this iconic species.”
As ambassador, Kieran Read will join forces with Otago rugby icon and former All Black Anton Oliver, and patron of the Trust since 2006.
During a recent visit to Dunedin, Oliver thanked Kieran Read for coming on board to the Trust as an ambassador.
“It’s so wonderful having a current All Black lend his considerable shoulder to my now more diminutive shoulder to drive forward the wheel of conservation, in particular the conservation of the yellow-eyed penguin. He’ll be a huge asset to the Trust and get us a lot more coverage and visibility of the issues facing our little penguins.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIxWgrI6CKE
Sue Murray, general manager for the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust commented: “We are thrilled to have Kieran Read join us as an ambassador and look forward to working with him in the future. As a charitable trust, we are reliant on the goodwill of national and international supporters, volunteers, schools, community organisations, local and central government and businesses including our principal sponsor, Mainland Cheese. We still need ongoing support to ensure that yellow-eyed penguins have safe, high-quality habitats in which to breed and prosper.”
Murray also added, “The Trust is even more indebted to Kieran for this commitment, given his recent experience of the Christchurch earthquake and all the demands on him and his family in the aftermath and in the future to assist Christchurch in rebuilding their own community.”
For information on how to support the Trust and help save yellow-eyed penguins, visit www.yellow-eyedpenguin.org.nz