Jobs at DOC: Rose Hanley-Nickolls, Services Ranger

Department of Conservation —  05/12/2014

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 Rose Hanley-Nickolls, DOC Ranger in Haast.

Rose checking a transmitter on a  kākāpō.

Volunteer work with the kākāpō

At work

Some things I do in my job include:

Operation Nest Egg work with the Haast tokoeka kiwi, trapping for mōhua protection up the mighty Landsborough, surveying Fiordland crested penguins around South Westland and bits and pieces of CLE (Compliance and Law Enforcement) work that come my way.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

Preserving what is precious at the sharp end of things.

The best bit about my job is:

The amazing places I get to visit, I’m very spoilt.

Rose on Thirsty Ridge in the Haast Tokoeka Sanctuary.

The Haast Tokoeka Sanctuary—steep but spectacular

The maddest DOC moment I’ve had so far was:

Helping out with the rowi kiwi transfer earlier this year. We spent all day catching the juveniles on Motuara Island, caught the boat to Picton, did a show and tell with two birds and about 70 kids (the most common question was “Miss, what happened to your legs?” on account of being flayed alive by the bush on the island), drove 8 hours to Okarito, slept for 4 hours, rehydrated all the birds, had a powhiri and release then drove home to Haast. Knackered does not quite cover it, but it was brilliant!

The previous DOC employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:

Jane Tansell. She’s got energy for days, a passion for her work, a no nonsense attitude to conservation and is a brilliant dog handler. She’s also a great person to play the horse game with on long journeys.

Rose's partner Jeff on Mount Watney.

Kiwi egg lift from Mount Watney with my partner Jeff. It’s a hard life

On a personal note

Most people don’t know that:

I once stood on the Fourth Plinth of Trafalgar Square dressed as a polar bear as part of an art installation.

The song that always cheers me up is:

Song for Autumn’, written by Robbie Burns and sung by my dad. It’s a beautiful love song, not just to a girl but to the British countryside. I’m a rural girl and the lyrics remind me of the places, people and season I love the best.

Lordenshaws at sunset.

Lordenshaws is pretty much the best place in the whole world

My happy place is:

Lordenshaws in Northumberland, England: ancient rock carvings, skylarks, the smell of heather and a glorious view of the valley I grew up in.

When I am home I go up there every fine evening to watch the sun set and the stars come out.

My greatest sporting moment was when:

I medalled in the lightweight coxless four at British Universities. It was almost worth not eating cake for months and having to go for three runs wrapped in bin bags to make my weight.

Although, in February I am running two mountain marathons in a week as part of the High Five-0 Challenge to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation and that may just top it. You can sponsor me online. Cheeky wee bit of fundraising there!

My secret indulgence is:

Taylor Swift. And not so secret any more.

Rose with her two brothers, Charlie and Finn on a couch.

My two ‘little’ brothers—Charlie and Finn

Deep and meaningful

My favourite quote is:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:

“I before e except after c”. Because I am hopeless at spelling and mutter this to myself several times every day.

In work and life I am motivated by:

The desire to make my family and friends proud of me.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Get out there and do something, no matter how small. Plant natives in your garden, help out a local conservation group, volunteer for a week with DOC. There is something for everyone out there!

Rose with Wolfgang the wolf.

Working with wolves seemed like best way to cure my childhood wolf phobia

Question of the week

Tell us about a spooky or supernatural experience that you’ve had?

Racked my brains, but I can’t say I have had a supernatural experience. Unless being afraid of the dark counts, because everything is spooky to me then!

One response to Jobs at DOC: Rose Hanley-Nickolls, Services Ranger


    Hello Rose! Really enjoyed your blog and a glimpse into your amazing life working in NZ Would be great to see you in December when I’m there!