Jobs at DOC: Helen Murphy, Administration Officer

Department of Conservation —  11/09/2015

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 Helen Murphy, Administration Officer on the Chatham Islands.

At work

Some things I do in my job include:

I keep the food store stocked up for teams working on the offshore islands, I do the washing, light the fire and make up beds in our accommodation for short-term visitors. I jump the fence to bring in the DOC washing (I live next door to the DOC office) plus the usual administration jobs and travel bookings.

Helen and a child planting a tree at Ocean Mail Scenic Reserve.

Helen helping with the annual community planting day at Ocean Mail Reserve

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

I help out those working on the Chatham Islands as I can. I always make sure everyone gets home safely each day, and will follow up with a phone call from home if needed.

The best bit about my job is:

Helping out and interacting with people in our small Chathams Islands Office. I could not work in a city office.

The funniest DOC moment I’ve had so far is:

Those radio calls from the boys when they have a vehicle stuck somewhere. They will never say what has happened, they just try and talk in code. I like to ask them on the radio if they need a rope!

The DOC employee who inspires me most is:

People who inspire me (and this is both in my work with  DOC and teaching) are those who are really good listeners.

DOC staff cutting a cake at the Chatham Islands Office.

Morning tea on the Chathams

On a personal note

If I could trade places with any other person for a week, it would be:

Why the hell would I want to trade places?

My most prized possession is:

My daughter Holly.

Before working at DOC:

I was sole charge Principal at Owenga School on the Chathams and an unpaid builder’s labourer alongside my husband Murph for some 18 years. We built the DOC Area Manager’s house, half of the DOC office and a number of the garages in the DOC Office yard. I have also been Home Help for our elderly on the island over the years. I continue to work as a reading recovery tutor at Te One School while working for DOC.

Deep and meaningful

My favourite quote is:

Mrs Murphy’s law: ‘Dust is a natural protective coating on all furniture’.

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

Never come to work with a grumpy face. Give your hand or an ear when its needed,  as you will never know when you might need that helping hand or ear yourself.

In work and life I am motivated by:

My passion is teaching kids reading and writing, and I enjoy my work as a reading recovery tutor with students from Te One School. I enjoy helping other people.

Most people don’t know that:

I can roof, plaster, concrete and frame up; knit, crochet, and do leatherwork.  I have been a volunteer fire fighter on the Chathams for 24 years. I can play darts left and right handed (couldn’t let the darts team down after I dislocated my shoulder).

The Chatham Island Volunteer Fire Brigade truck.

The Chatham Island Volunteer Fire Brigade truck

My best holiday was:

With Murph and Holly when we had headed down south and ended up having an unplanned night on Stewart Island.  As we got off the boat we met an old surfing mate of Murph’s who had also spent time on the Chathams. We shared a drink with him and enjoyed the impromptu time together on another island.

An interesting fact:

I started work for DOC helping out with cleaning as there was no cleaner, helped out some more with bits of this and bits of that, and after one restructure found myself in this job as Administration Officer