Jobs at DOC: Kate McInnes, Wildlife Vet

Department of Conservation —  29/12/2015

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 Kate McInnes, Wildlife Vet and Wildlife Health Coordinator.

Kate McInnes holding a mohua/yellowhead.

Mohua—my favourite bird

At work…

Some things I do in my job include:

Animals (sick and healthy) and people. Actually every part of my job includes animals or people. The animals are easy. They only bite and scratch sometimes. The people are fun, interesting, unpredictable and sometimes a little bit wild!

Actually I work a lot with DOC rangers, vets, wildlife rehabilitation facilities and research communities.  When it comes to wildlife health and disease, we only know a tiny bit, so having a large network is important.

Recently my focus has been on keeping our crèche kiwi healthy, and part of that involved asking poultry vets for technical advice. It has been fun taking their knowledge and moulding it to how kiwi conservation works and then testing those ideas with the kiwi rangers to develop a final solution.

The best bit about my job is:

Helping people help animals. Seriously. It’s awesome when a project works and I’ve been some small part of it along the way, part of a bigger team who all wanted it to work, and who all had their areas of expertise and worked together, compromised, thought outside the square and then made it happen.

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

Arriving at a kākāpō nest in the middle of the a cold wet night to find a scarecrow set up in my honour. How many people can say that. The scarecrow was mainly made of thermal underwear, so it was bright and colourful, if a tad floppy and out of shape. I’m not sure the cardboard cut-out head was a good likeness, but at that time of night I wasn’t going to be fussy! Now I think about it, maybe it wasn’t a tribute to my loveliness, maybe they wanted to keep me away! Oh dear.

Kate McInnes holding a kākāpō.

Early days in New Zealand with my first kākāpō

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

Scientist Graeme Elliott – he is awesome and, dare I admit, quite a nice person too!  Always positive, but not unrealistic, very smart and kind to everyone he meets. And admits when he’s wrong. Oh and modest too. I think he’s blushing now.

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is:

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi. Another version is ‘do your best’.

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

Everything will be okay. You can use it anytime, anywhere and it will still make sense and be helpful.


My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Do a little something every day. That can be bothering to recycle a tin, being nice to someone, sending a letter to your MP or signing up for a conservation project.  Whatever it is you do, a lot of little somethings make a whole mess of greatness!  And then come and help paint my house.

Kate McInnes holding a skink.

Don’t forget the scaly fauna

2 responses to Jobs at DOC: Kate McInnes, Wildlife Vet

    Berwyn Davies 29/12/2015 at 12:24 pm

    Have you any connection to Shane McInnes