Roger Beattie (pictured right) and his wife run a 20-hectare, predator-proof, buff weka reserve on the Banks Peninsula, and he tells a fascinating tale about DoC efforts to discourage the Beatties even while DoC staff themselves kept killing weka on the Chathams. He concludes:
We have spent more time and effort fighting bureaucrats than saving wildlife. I believe DOC would rather have native species die out than be saved privately. DOC has a vested interest in endangered species.
Roger talked about the failures of DoC and the setting up of his weka conservancy in The Free Radical back in 1994. Here's a link to a scans of page 1, and page 2. Beattie points out that government-run operations like the Mt Bruce Endangered Species Unit have "a vested interest in keeping native birds endangered," and says "the best way to get conservation thriving in New Zealand is to make it turn a profit." Quite right. If people value conservation -- if they really and truly value it -- then that value will be reflected in their wallets.
The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is one place relying on that support, and by all accounts are achieving great success. (I'd love to hear more accounts from anyone involved: Crog?). And it's the same story told by Dr Graham Webb in Darwin, who says that farming endangered animals is the best way to protect them. "At the very least," he says in an article titled 'Eat Them, Skin Them, Save Them', "you can give landowners some commercial incentive to pursue conservation more than they are able to do today."