In 2020, New Zealand Geographic committed to reporting in a more direct and emphatic way on subjects where there was both urgency and scientific consensus on the solutions. We have reported this way on Covid-19, climate change, pollution, predators, water quality and, in particular, a new series around marine issues.
In these domains, the stakes for both the environment and humankind are perilously high and we will not give column inches to views that are not supported by evidence or direct experience. This is a stand that varies from the he-said-she-said exchanges of news reporting a decade ago, because we live in times in which we can no longer prevaricate, pursue false fixes or base our decision-making on reckons.
New Zealand Geographic has gone further where circumstances demand it. In October, we went to the High Court as part of a group arguing that a ministerial decision about crayfish quota in Northland was based on advice that was “inaccurate, misleading, and unsupported by peer-reviewed and published literature”. We won, creating a precedent that will have far-reaching consequences for how fisheries decisions are made in the future, and for the marine ecosystem itself.
Very often, New Zealand Geographic will work in partnership—with scientists, environmental NGOs, community groups, and commercial organisations where values are closely aligned. This gives us access to skills, experience and funds to achieve more than we can by working alone. Rolex is one of those organisations. We have been working together in one way or another for more than 10 years, but this year the relationship has become more focused.
Rolex’s work under the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative—which encompasses Mission Blue, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise and its National Geographic Society partnership, as well as a range of other partnerships—supports individuals and organisations using science to understand and devise solutions to today’s environmental challenges. In their work we find alignment with our values and our journalism.
Together we have committed to ‘Time for Change’, a new series of solutions-based journalism that focuses on the most urgent problems and those who are racing to solve them.
For 33 years our readers have relied on New Zealand Geographic for world-leading reporting, and trusted our voice in particular for those aspects of regional relevance—the Realm of New Zealand stretching from our Antarctic Dependency to states in association in the Pacific. This will be the focus for Time for Change, too, but as these themes are global in nature, our coverage will also reflect that wider framing.
We invite you to join us on this new journey of understanding and, we sincerely hope, action.
James Frankham, PUBLISHER