Right now the native biodiversity of Hawke's Bay is in crisis.
Endemic plants and animals are under a range of pressures — from introduced animals such as goats to predators such as possums and cats.
Human activity and habitat clearance has been, and still is, a major issue in the Bay, impacting significantly on native species.
Over the past 150 years, nine bird species — including the hihi/stitchbird — have become locally extinct and half of the remaining species are threatened.
Five types of reptiles have gone from the region, including the Duvauchel's gecko, and 70 per cent of the remaining reptiles are at risk. Forty per cent of our freshwater fish are also under threat.
More than 77 per cent of the original indigenous forest that once covered the region has disappeared and only two per cent of the Bay's wetlands remain today. What is left of each is under pressure.
However, there is hope — the Hawke's Bay's Biodiversity Guardians.
Guardians such as the University of Waikato, Central Hawke's Bay District Council and almost 80 individuals who are ensuring biodiversity is looked after in their own backyard.
These are just a few of the Guardians working together under the Hawke's Bay Biodiversity Action Plan to preserve the region's unique ecosystems.
The good news is that anyone who wants to help the region's indigenous forest, freshwater habitats, wetlands, estuaries, the dune and costal fringe ecosystems, and our marine life can also become a Guardian.
People can do this with their hapu or whanau, with their school, by joining a local group — or starting one — or as an individual.
Or simply make a donation to help those on the ground continue the great work they are already doing.
To become a Biodiversity Guardian or to learn more, visit www.biodiversityhb.org and follow the links.