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Science and research wed geotourism in Waitaki

The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark and GNS Science, New Zealand’s national geological sciences institute, have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the geopark’s nomination to UNESCO for Global Geopark status.

Under the MOU, GNS Science is providing scientific expertise relevant to the Otago region as well as supporting the public engagement activities of the geopark.

The Trust says it is delighted to have formalised this agreement with GNS which builds on years of working together. For many years, GNS’s scientific maps and brochures have been a major component of the educational merchandise that has been sold through the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon, North Otago.

"We are now working with GNS to access additional geoscience. It’s another example of the wide support that the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is receiving from throughout New Zealand," Mike Gray, WWG Trustee says.

In welcoming the MOU, GNS chief executive Ian Simpson said this type of partnership is another way that GNS Science can deliver real value to New Zealand.

"GNS Science’s purpose is to understand natural Earth system processes and resources, and to translate these into economic, environmental and social benefits. So, it makes sense that we are right behind the WWG’s bid for UNESCO Global Geopark status. We’re proud to lend our expertise to this international proposal."

The two organisations share common interests in the development of geotourism initiatives to showcase New Zealand’s unique geology and associated history, and in highlighting the value and relevance of geological science to all New Zealanders.

The GNS Science MOU complements the WGG/Lincoln University MOU signed last year which was looking at tourism and its benefits and effects on the region. These MOUs, along with a growing geogastronomy sector in the region, are great news for the geopark bid, which will involve resubmission of the application in November.

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