Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Today we profile Taranaki Service Ranger, Traci Grant.
What kind of things do you do in your role?
I do a mixture of reception and administration duties which include: hunting and possum trapping permits, answering general enquires, giving advice about tramping opportunities on our beautiful maunga, and also HR, payroll, timesheets, stationery, uniforms, vehicles, travel bookings, minute taking, and providing general help when required.
What is the best part about your job?
The people I work with, and the great things we achieve. It can often be quite hard working in an office-based role while everyone else is out there in the field doing it, but it is rewarding when you know what you’re doing is helping someone, and maybe making their day a little easier.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Juggling the number of different tasks and not being able to complete a task from start to finish, and then probably chasing people to get things completed on time.
What led you to your role in DOC?
An Environmental Ethics paper at university, a childhood full of family holidays in the outdoors, and definitely my adventurous dad.
What was your highlight from the month just gone?
Winter is an extremely office based time of the year, but the highlight, let’s say for Autumn 2012, was walking the Milford Track and a road trip around the South Island for two weeks. I have to admit this was the first time I had been past Blenheim! And my gosh, how beautiful is the South Island??
The rule of three…
- My amazing friends, you guys are awesome!
- My ma and pa; they have put up with a lot of mind changes and late night calls but at the end of the day they always have dinner and a mug of Milo waiting for me!
- Home; I’m a homebody wherever that home (and my Crown Lynn collection) might be!
Three pet peeves
- People who talk over you.
- Accommodation that doesn’t have free internet.
- Cafes that only have white sugar for my coffee—come on I have fancier sugar at home haha!
- A shared home cooked meal (made by someone other than me)
- Redbull. Okay it’s not a food but…
Three favourite places in New Zealand
- Whanganui river. Throughout high school and uni we would do at least one trip each summer; it’s a really magical place
- Whatipu at the head of the Manukau Harbour—my brother had his wedding here earlier this year. Not only was the rugged West Coast amazing but the old lodge, built in 1870, where we stayed had all sorts of treasures including old plates displayed along the kitchen walls!
Favourite movie, album, book
- Movie: Crazy Stupid Love—thanks to Ryan Gosling I’ve seen it three times!
- Album/Artist: Ash Grunwald; a friend and I saw him play in New Plymouth earlier this month—he has a bit of a Black Keys sound going on, so if you like them he’s worth a listen! And Tono and the Finance Company—this is an indie band from Dunedin who are now based in Auckland. I saw them play in Dunedin during our South Island road trip, and it was one of my highlights!
- Book: For me it would have to be Your Home and Garden magazine—I love all the inspiration and crafty ideas.
Deep and meaningful…
What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
No matter what happens, everything will work out—it always does.
Who or what inspires you and why?
My friends and the people I’ve met here and there along the way, especially the crafty ones and the passionate ones.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A volcanologist, a designer, and then later on, a philosopher.
And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?
Well if I could do anything I would probably be running an online store selling the crafty things I make. Maybe I’d also run a coffee house and bake amazing cupcakes!
What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?
I like to turn things off at the wall. Oh and you don’t actually have to try and keep up with everyone else and their flash new things, you can be quite happy with that old Nokia brick phone!
Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?
At home—walk to town on the weekends, there is plenty of time. At work—use that webcam!!!
If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?
A robin or maybe a South Island tomtit, mainly because they are little and cute and get to live in some beautiful places—OR a tui, probably because they can hang out in the bush, but they also like being in town—that’s a bit of me!
What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?
Go outside, even if it’s just to the local park. Run around a bit, listen to the birds, and enjoy the shade of that tree in your back garden. Teach your children about the tui and the kereru, and inspire them!