The Department of Conservation is back to business in Christchurch.
Yes things have changed since that fateful day Tuesday 22 February when the world bucked like a wild bronco at a rodeo show. We have no city visitor centre. Our inner city offices are cordoned off and will be for some time to come. Some of our tracks and special places are closed. Down town looks a bit like a new and alien world – as Captain Kirk said ‘It’s life Jim but not as we know it’.
But we have picked ourselves up, dusted off our khaki pants and are ready to get back into it.
Want to know about our tracks and huts? Or perhaps get a hunting permit? You can check out the DOC website – we’re working to keep that right up-to-date. There’s even a special section on the earthquake.
Want to talk to us or ask a question? You can email us. You can ring the usual numbers – someone will answer. If you want to face up to a real person, you can call into our two closest area offices at 31 Nga Mahi Road, Sockburn or 32 River Road, Rangiora. The rangers at our two national park visitor centres in Arthur’s Pass and Aoraki / Mt Cook are very helpful and knowledgeable people too. Give them a call or visit – both are great places to get away from the stresses of the city – but not necessarily from quakes as they both sit on the Alpine Fault!
Things may not be quite as convenient or as fast as before – remember all our files are in a building that only guys in hard hats can enter. And while we are a government agency, we are people too, and we were all affected in many ways by the earthquake. Some of us lost homes. All of us are as tired and as stinky as the rest of Christchurch as we deal with aftershocks that disrupt our sleep and water supplies that are not quite back to normal.
But we believe in the value of conservation and we are back in business. Even if we have to do it in our own backyards.