Jobs at DOC: Mary-Anne Baxter

Department of Conservation —  25/05/2012

Every Friday Jobs at DOC will take 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.

Today we profile Mary-Anne Baxter, Permissions/Statutory Land Management (SLM) Supervisor, Canterbury

At work

Evening walks each day during my stint at the Arthur’s Pass Visitors Centre last year – the only time I’ve got to wear a proper DOC uniform

Position:Transitioning! Currently acting Permissions/Statutory Land Management (SLM) Supervisor Canterbury Conservancy since this February, high country tenure review officer for the previous seven years, and very shortly to become a Christchurch shared service SLM advisor.

What kind of things do you do in your role?

My tenure review role involved a lot of document drafting for proposals on high country pastoral leases, report and document editing, and implementing archaeological assessments on pastoral leases throughout Canterbury. My current role involves the day to day running of the Canterbury Permissions/SLM team while the newly appointed manager focuses on transitioning to Shared Services. My new role will involve all the statutory land management tasks involved with land disposals and acquisitions, land status investigation, and providing advice to others in the department on this.

What is the best part about your job?

Over recent years it has been the opportunities to research and discover potential historic/archaeological sites and then to actually get out in the high country with a 4WD and archaeologist and actually find them!

A mid 1800’s Mackenzie Basin fence still surviving today, complete with historic horse gateway through it

What is the hardest part about your job?

Convincing others of the processes involved and why things sometimes take a long time to happen.

What led you to your role in DOC?

Making the most of opportunities that become present along the road of life.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

The original 1880 iron trig marker below a mid 1900’s trig – surveying history combined with amazing Mackenzie Basin views, 4WD trip to get there, great company and amazing archaeological discoveries to find

The lack of any significant earthquakes happening!

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Historic research and site discovery!
  2. Taking the Toyota Hilux 4WD out in the high country associated with the above.
  3. Family (most of the time—teenagers are rather hit and miss at times!) and following their sports and music successes.

Three pet peeves

  1. People leaving the television on when no-one is in the room.
  2. Empty containers being left in the fridge/pantry (can’t you tell I have teenagers!)
  3. Cyclists running red lights.

Three foods

  1. Mum’s home baking—worth watching the rugby at Mum’s just for the baking!
  2. Pasta.
  3. Roast potatoes, my daughters favourite.

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. St James Station. High country/historic/scenery (and 4WDing for work trips) all mixed in together.
  2. West Coast walks. Charming Creek, Lyell Walkway and Denniston Plateau area in particular. Again the mix of really neat historic things, fantastic scenery and really interesting walks.
  3. Arthur’s Pass. After my couple of months working there last year the enthusiasm of the terrific visitor centre staff there have me sold on the area!

    Overlooking the magical Lake Benmore – a family picnic at the type of spot everyone should get out to

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Book. Usually whatever I happen to be reading at the time—presently “Caught Mapping” which has wonderful stories of the early surveyors in the 1800’s who mapped our country. I also enjoy a good Jodi Picoult or Lee Child as well though.
  2. Movie. The Lake House has been a favourite, but also Avatar and Inception have been a few that rated highly (in the days when the kids would let us go to the movies with them!).
  3. Album. 30ish years ago it would have definitely been Abba or Bee Gees—these days normally whatever someone else has playing.

Deep and meaningful…

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

Make the most of any opportunities that come along (though I probably knew that by then) and to take life as it comes—you never know what will come along next!

Preparations to venture through the cave at Cave Stream, Craigeburn

Who or what inspires you and why?

Probably my parents, for all the community activities they have always been involved with. It’s not until you are there yourself, trying to keep up with your own family and community activities that you really appreciate all your parents really did and are still doing.

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

A primary school teacher, then later in high school, a surveyor.

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

Surveying would actually still be a good alternative, although historic/archaeological work would be really high on the list, plus legal work would also be attractive (I’m currently studying for a Legal Executive Diploma).

Real life gold panning on the West Coast—I’m glad the objective was a quiet picnic by the river than actually making our fortune in gold!

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Turning off lights and appliances if they are not being used.

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

Training the rest of the family to turn off lights and appliances if they are not being used! Work is actually pretty good with green behaviour.

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

A NZ falcon appeals, soaring above the high country tussocks.

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

Go out and enjoy the wonderful walks/scenery/tramps/activities available on conservation land so you can learn to appreciate the value in looking after it for future generations.