Global Expert to Visit Whitestone Geopark

8/02/2019 12:00 a.m.

The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark has applied to UNESCO for status as a UNESCO Global Geopark. A geopark is a defined area which celebrates, preserves and educates people about the geological, natural and cultural aspects within its borders. As part of its learning journey toward UNESCO accreditation, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust is bringing Professor Patrick McKeever to the Waitaki between 18-22 February to tour the Whitestone Geopark and advise the Trust on any steps that might need to be taken before a potential UNESCO inspection in May/June this year. Patrick McKeever is the former Chief of Earth Sciences and Geohazard Risk Reduction for UNESCO, covering roles such as Global Coordinator for the Global Geoparks Network, Secretary of the International Geoscience Programme and Head of Global Earth Observation within the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences. He was previously Principal geologist with the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, and a Professor at National University of Malaysia.

Mayor for Waitaki and Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trustee Gary Kircher said Patrick will visit the​ district’s iconic geosites and get an introduction to the natural and cultural heritage elements of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark; have short sessions with Geopark partners, Waitaki District Councillors and local iwi representatives. He will also deliver a public lecture in the Oamaru Opera House on the 19th of February at 6pm, an opportunity to share his knowledge of geoparks with residents, as well as giving his impressions of Waitaki’s geopark and how it measures up to others.

Gerard Quinn, Manager of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark said, “It’s fantastic to have someone of Patrick’s relevance, understanding and mana visit our geopark. We expect to learn a great deal, and this experience will be invaluable to the trustees and partners.”

“Patrick’s visit will help us be fully prepared for an inspection visit by UNESCO. While we are already a geopark and have some of the most unique geology in the southern hemisphere, UNESCO accreditation will help promote New Zealand’s international profile and sustainable economic development for the Waitaki District, so it’s just ideal to be able to call in an internationally-recognised expert.”​​Professor Patrick McKeever's public  lecture in the Oamaru opera house on 19 Feb 2019

Page reviewed: 08 Feb 2019 5:04pm