In early September, Kim McKay AO, Professor Kristofer Helgen and Paul Flemons visited stunning Norfolk Island and met with the community. This trip was in preparation for Phase 1 of the Australian Museum led expedition to Norfolk Island, which is taking place in late October.
Norfolk Island may be a small island, but it has a big history and unique biodiversity – and the Australian Museum is delighted to be traveling to Norfolk Island to undertake multiple research surveys over the next two years. In late October, the AM in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Botanical Science and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, will be kicking off Phase 1 of the expedition.
Our scientists are recognised internationally as experts in their fields, but local collaboration and consultation is essential in both planning and research phases of scientific expeditions…Your voice is crucial in painting a full picture of Norfolk’s biodiversity.
As Australia’s first museum, the AM has a long history of expeditions and appreciates the importance of community consultation. Ahead of Phase 1 of the expedition, Kim McKay AO (Director and CEO, Australian Museum), Professor Kris Helgen (Chief Scientist and Director, Australian Museum Research Institute) and Paul Flemons (Expedition Leader, Australian Museum) arrived at Norfolk Island in early September 2022. Over the following four days, the team met and discussed the upcoming expedition with local community groups and explored beautiful Norfolk Island.
The first event of the trip was a community talk on Friday night, at the Agricultural and Horticultural Hall. This community consultation session provided our team an opportunity to talk about the upcoming scientific plans and the scientists involved – the session opened up the floor for questions to our team, and to share any and all ideas and feedback. As Kim perfectly stated, “Our scientists are recognised internationally as experts in their fields, but local collaboration and consultation is essential in both planning and research phases of scientific expeditions… Your voice is crucial in painting a full picture of Norfolk’s biodiversity.”
During their time on Norfolk Island, Kim, Kris and Paul met with the Council of Elders, the Flora and Fauna society, the Norfolk Island Regional Council, the Polynesian Fusion Organisers, the Administrator and many other community members. The feedback from the community was positive, and our team thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a broad range of Norfolk Islanders, through both organised interactions and spontaneous discussions at local café's and restaurants. The guided tour of the Norfolk Island Museum was certainly a highlight, meeting staff and learning further about the rich and diverse history of Norfolk Island.
Finishing on Monday with a radio interview at Radio Norfolk, with Darlene Buffet, Kim and Kris spoke to the importance of expeditions, to what Museum’s do and provided additional details for Phase 1, 2 and 3 for the expedition. As Kris Helgen stated, “In order to conserve a species, we must know what’s there. conservation is at the heart of our expeditions and the work we do throughout the Australian Museum Research Institute.”
The Australian Museum is excited to work with the Norfolk Island community, to document and study the Island’s unique biodiversity, to gain a better understanding of the existing and evolving ecological relationships on the Island and help to inform future management plans for the islands unique and fascinating biodiversity.
Would you like to learn more about the upcoming Norfolk Island expedition? Go to our webpage to learn how you can get involved: https://australian.museum/learn/expeditions/norfolk-island/
Meagan Warwick, AMRI Project and Communications Officer, Australian Museum.