The inaugural Conservation Festival on Paihia's Village Green on Saturday featured a tasting tent with delicacies such as "possages" (mutton and possum sausages), guest speakers from as far away as Canterbury, a plethora of community groups, and keen-nosed conservation dogs trained to sniff out stoats, kiwi and even Argentine ants. The event was organised by Stella Schmid of Bay Bush Action and Papatūānuku Earth Mother Tours to bring together the many different groups involved in conservation in the North. Photos by Peter de Graaf.

Nic Toki (left), Brad Windust, Dean Baigent-Mercer, and festival organiser Stella Schmid of Bay Bush Action and Papatūānuku Earth Mother Tours about to tuck into a conservation-themed cake.
Nic Toki (left), Brad Windust, Dean Baigent-Mercer, and festival organiser Stella Schmid of Bay Bush Action and Papatūānuku Earth Mother Tours about to tuck into a conservation-themed cake.
Diana and John Smith of Bay Beach Clean with a tiny fraction of the rubbish the group has collected from the Paihia and Waitangi waterfront.
Diana and John Smith of Bay Beach Clean with a tiny fraction of the rubbish the group has collected from the Paihia and Waitangi waterfront.
From left, Albie Apiata, Ko te Temepara Apiata, with stoat, 8, Kaiarahi Apiata. with possum, 5, Tana Apiata and Hawaiki Taituha, with kiwi egg, 9, of Iwi Kiwi, a Waitangi-based conservation group.
From left, Albie Apiata, Ko te Temepara Apiata, with stoat, 8, Kaiarahi Apiata. with possum, 5, Tana Apiata and Hawaiki Taituha, with kiwi egg, 9, of Iwi Kiwi, a Waitangi-based conservation group.
The petrol saved by EV enthusiast Craig Salmon in five years of using his electric Nissan Leaf would fill 46 barrels this size.
The petrol saved by EV enthusiast Craig Salmon in five years of using his electric Nissan Leaf would fill 46 barrels this size.
DoC conservation dog handlers, from left, Miriam Ritchie (Whangārei), Fin Buchanan and Adeline Bosman (Auckland) with their charges Woody, Moss, Will, Ahu, Piri, Pai and Vito.
DoC conservation dog handlers, from left, Miriam Ritchie (Whangārei), Fin Buchanan and Adeline Bosman (Auckland) with their charges Woody, Moss, Will, Ahu, Piri, Pai and Vito.