Jobs at DOC: Community Relations Officer, Ron Hazeldine

Department of Conservation —  21/11/2011

Every Monday Jobs at DOC takes you behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation.

This week we meet Community Relations Officer, Ron Hazeldine

Constructing the new Denniston Experience. A must-see for everyone!

At work

Name: Ron Hazeldine (aka Hazey)

Position:  Community Relations Officer (Statutory Land Management), West Coast Conservancy, Hokitika

What kind of things do you do in your role? 

Acquisitions, disposals, exchanges, e-dealings, and I help others solve the mysteries of statutory land management functions. 

What is the best part about your job?

It’s twofold really; being part of a team whose efforts benefit conservation by acquiring high value land and disposing low conservation value land that can be used for other purposes. I also get immense satisfaction from being the Public Services Association (PSA) national delegate for the West Coast and I hope that members have benefited as a result.

Painting the old brake wheel at Denniston

What is the hardest part about your job? 

Working for DOC is great. How can that be hard? Though sometimes my crystal clear and very rational views on some subjects fall on deaf ears, so that’s probably the hardest thing I deal with.

What was your highlight from the month just gone? 

Organising a third successful fundraiser for the Hokitika Music Club at Hokitika’s Regent Theatre. Another $2,500 towards a new live sound system…

Playing at Hokitika Wild Food Festival 2010

The rule of three

Three loves

  1. My family (wife Jill and miniature poodle Pero)
  2. Country music
  3. Golf

    Mutsuki, one of six Japanese daughters we have hosted while they attend Westland High School

Three pet peeves

  1. I started too late in music (brought my first guitar in 19*# and left it in hibernation for 30 years)
  2. Golf is getting harder and harder
  3. DOC staff do not get rewarded as well as they should for the contribution they make to New Zealand

Three things always in your fridge

  1. Pepsi Max
  2. Tomato sauce
  3. Amstel Light, the best beer on the market

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Hokitika of course
  2. Granity
  3. Denniston in the Buller and any half decent golf course

Mt Cook in all its glory from the Hokitika Golf Links

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: I’m not a movie buff at all, but I laughed all the way through The Hangover
  2. Album: Diamonds in the Sun by Walt Wilkins, a Texan country singer
  3. Book: The latest copy of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. I am not a deep and meaningful reader like Bruce McKinlay!

Deep and meaningful

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

I don’t have many regrets but I would probably say that I should not have put my guitar in hibernation all those years ago and I definitely should not have stopped taking flying lessons.

Who or what inspires you and why?

Being a simple lad from Ruatapu, a satellite city of about 30 people 12 kms south of Hokitika, inspiration was probably an unknown commodity. But thinking about it now, watching Jack Nicklaus on a black and white telly inspired me to take up golf. In later years, working for DOC inspired me to become a PSA delegate.

Pero, around whom life revolves in our household

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pilot or a professional golfer. The first was too expensive and I lacked the talent for the second. Bugger!

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

I would give my eye teeth to be a professional musician. Whoops, a pink pig just flew by the window. Perhaps being a luthier making guitars is more achievable.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

A kārearea—fast and fearless, because I am neither.

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

Conservation is vitally important to New Zealand, and it can and is contributing in many ways. But if it does not contribute economically then the risk is it will be seen as unimportant or worse, irrelevant. DOC can’t do it all. Time will tell whether or not we can convince others of the value of conservation, but it is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all.

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