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 Amanda Vallis, Partnerships Ranger in Rotorua.
Some things I do in my job include:
Processing permits for filming and sporting events on conservation land, supporting local conservation and recreation groups with their work, providing local schools and teachers with education resources and answering lots of enquiries.
This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:
Ensuring negative effects on conservation land and its users are minimised and making sure volunteers have the help they need to grow conservation.
The best bit about my job is:
I enjoy working with passionate groups and individuals in Rotorua who are influencing and driving opportunities for increased conservation and recreational assets in Rotorua. They are truly inspirational.
The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is:
Mountain biking the Great Lake Trail in Taupo with representatives from the Rotorua/Taupo Mountain Biking Community.
I was the only female, trying to keep up with a bunch of very fit blokes. But I had a great time, and what better way to connect with stakeholders than joining them in their element.
The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:
I have always really admired Nicola Toki (the new Threatened Species Ambassador).
Nicola was my inspiration for pursuing a career with DOC. I even corresponded with her via email when I first graduated to ask her how I could get into DOC and work in a conservation advocacy role. Growing up I really wanted to be her!
On a personal note
My best ever holiday was:
Spending six weeks in South America (Peru, Bolivia and Chile) in 2011.
I made the trip solo, not knowing anyone over there, but luckily made some amazing friends from around the world and had a fantastic time exploring.
Highlights included trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, seeing the Nazca lines from the air, visiting the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, mountain biking ‘death road’ and soaking in the culture in Cuzco and Santiago.
The thing I’m most looking forward to in the next six months is:
Marrying my best friend and love of my life!
Chris and I have been together almost seven years and are tying the knot on the 28 November this year.
I also can’t wait to relax with him on our honeymoon.
If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be:
A kea – they’re cheeky and fun and they live in the mountains.
Before working at DOC:
I worked as a town planner at the Christchurch City Council. I landed the job after the September earthquake and was due to start the week after the February quake – needless to say my start date was delayed.
Once I got started it was really interesting to be part of the team finding solutions for accommodating displaced businesses and residents and scoping opportunities to improve the city as it was rebuilt.
My most prized possession is:
At the risk of sounding creepy – I would say my body because it’s healthy and enables me to train at crossfit, do yoga, climb mountains, explore forests and ride my mountain bike. Life would be so different if my physical state didn’t allow this, so I always remember to not take it for granted and to look after myself.
Deep and meaningful…
My favourite quote is:
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:
Worrying doesn’t fix anything.
In work and life I am motivated by:
The things I value, which are positive relationships and my love of nature.
My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:
Get out and explore the outdoors. I think this has to be the first step before expecting people to care about conservation – they have to first develop an appreciation of how special and enjoyable these places are before they truly value the work needed to protect it.
Question of the week
Can you speak another language, or would you like to be able to?
I can speak a small amount of Spanish but would love to be able to speak Greek. Not only is visiting Greece top of my bucket list, but I also have a smidge of Greek heritage from the ‘Vallis’ line.