Power of Inspiration. Analysing the use of a spokesperson to communicate the conservation of wildlife and the natural world.

by Claire Deirdre Clements

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: New Zealand; Communication; Hutton's shearwater; Film; Conservation spokesperson; Celebrity spokesperson; Conservation
Record ID: 1306936
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4908


People have had a close relationship with the natural world for thousands of years, but this connection has not always had a positive effect on the flora, fauna and ecosystems of the world. Indeed over time species and habitats have been lost forever; attributed directly to mankind’s actions. However despite these environmental tragedies there have been triumphs, due in part to a type of spokesperson; a conservation spokesperson. This is essentially a person who speaks on behalf of conservation of the natural world and wildlife and attempts to influence and persuade change to favor a conservation campaign. Today in the 21st century it is generally agreed that there are two distinct types of conservation spokespeople: the celebrity and the celebrity conservationist. The creative component of this thesis is a film entitled Mystery Bird. Fellow science communication student, Sean Giffin, and I made this film from December 2010 to October 2011. Mystery Bird tells the story of Geoff Harrow and his life’s campaign to save an endangered New Zealand bird, the Hutton’s shearwater, from extinction. Whilst making this film I realized that Harrow was a conservation spokesperson, and this motivated me to analyse the use of a spokesperson during a conservation campaign. My aim was to determine which attributes in a spokesperson led to success, with the hope of encouraging the use of spokespeople in conservation campaigns.