No tigers, elephants or pandas in New Zealand, so does that make the job of fighting for endangered species harder?
These charismatic mega-fauna, as they're known in the conservation world, are the poster children for saving species at threat of extinction.
In New Zealand, our native wildlife isn't quite so sexy. Kids are less likely to put a poster of a mudfish or a weta on their bedroom wall.
But maybe there is an advantage in this, because it creates a challenge of how to engage people in conservation, rather than leaving the value of protecting nature to the doe-eyed panda.
New Zealand is home to the Powelliphanta — the world's largest snail. These creatures are carnivorous and nocturnal and live up to 20 years. I think they're beautiful, with rich brown swirls on their shells.
Just recently, a new population was found in the Manawatu, indicating the pest control programmes Horizons is undertaking are having a positive impact.
There's been some debate recently about how New Zealand's threatened species should be left to find a "natural" balance with our introduced pests and predators — that there is some way for these animals to co-exist in harmony.
The Department of Conservation's Nicola Toki, a lovely former colleague of mine, debunks that in a clear piece on The Spinoff website.
The reality is that New Zealand's unique biodiversity developed in isolation, and speeding up evolution to adapt to very clever and capable killers such as rats and stoats is just wishful thinking.
Our country has the highest proportion of threatened species in the world. Our giant insects and flightless birds are hugely vulnerable.
If we leave these precious creatures to fend for themselves they will be gone.
Unfortunately, that means serious effort to destroy other living things, and most of us don't enjoy killing animals. But it is a necessary evil.
A few years ago when I worked for DoC, I joined a team hunting goats and shot two myself. It was a small internal test that I could actually pull the trigger and be a practical part of protecting our bush.
I could and I did. It wasn't "fun" but it was satisfying to be taking action and not just being a dispassionate observer.
There are some new approaches growing that have conservation outcomes. Wearing my social enterprise hat, it's good to see wilding pine control in Queenstown being supported by a multimillion-dollar contract to export essential oils. Wilding & Co is funding pine control through its business success.
Closer to home, Blue Duck Station has diversified its farming operations to increase revenue while protecting blue duck and keeping more soil on their steep hills. They now have a thriving eco-tourism business alongside some traditional farming practices, and whio (blue duck) are one of the beneficiaries.
Dan Steele of Blue Duck Station is one of our speakers at this week's Thrive Expo. Hear directly from him what he's learned along the way, doing business differently to achieve conservation outcomes. Check out www.thrivenow.org.nz to buy tickets.
So maybe the sleek lines of our native eels and the subtle colouring of the rare dotterel aren't obvious competitors if conservation was an international fashion show, but to me they are beautiful and worth protecting.
Nicola Patrick is a councillor at Horizons Regional Council, works for Te Kaahui o Rauru and is part of a social enterprise hub, Thrive Whanganui. A mum of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.