Jobs at DOC: Shane Jackson, Information Advisor

Department of Conservation —  12/02/2016

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 Shane Jackson, Information Advisor in DOC’s National Office.

Shane Jackson.

Shane Jackson

At work…

Some things I do in my job include:

I work in Information Services. My job is currently split into two roles: information management and information security. My team is responsible for ensuring DOC’s information is handled securely and not exposed to unnecessary risk.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

Enabling all DOC staff to get on with the business of protecting the greatest living space on Earth.

The best bit about my job:

The fantastic team I work with. I know it sounds cliché, but my colleagues here are the most supportive, fully functional and kind-spirited people I have ever been involved with.

Shane's dad on horseback in Te Urewera.

Dad in Te Urewera

The funniest DOC moment I’ve had so far:

OK, it’s not exactly a DOC moment, but even so, the funniest story is from my dad’s years working in our National Parks.

As a teenager I would sometimes go with him into Te Urewera on horseback. I didn’t saddle my horse properly and rode down a rough gully. The saddle slipped down the horse’s neck bit by bit until I fell into the ferns.

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

My dad, Tim Jackson. What can I say? He’s the best dad ever, and he also represents my founding memory of what people in conservation stand for.

He has always loved the outdoors and worked well with people of all sorts to instil conservation values. Whether it was with the cockies as the first Reserves Ranger in the Catlins in the mid-1970s, mixing with Ngāi Tūhoe in Te Urewera, or hobnobbing like a fish out of water with dignitaries at the Waitangi National Trust Board meetings at Government House, I know he was always himself – a friendly guy with a sense of what was the right thing.

Dad can relate to just about anyone and I think his versatility made him a huge asset to Lands and Survey, National Parks and DOC.

I recently discovered an archive of staff memoirs written when the Department was created in 1987. Dad has three entries and the yarns he tells are good reading. It’s funny reading about yourself from when you were a kid, especially now that I work for DOC.

Shane's dad, Tim Jackson - first ranger in the Catlins, 1975.

My dad, Tim Jackson – first ranger in the Catlins, 1975

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that:

I am obsessed with writing by French cultural theorist Georges Bataille. I studied Bataille’s work for both my postgraduate Fine Arts and for my Master of Art History degree.

The song that always cheers me up is:

“Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” – Monty Python. Hey, how can anything by the Pythons fail to cheer you up? 

If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be:

A tūī! Tūī are awesome. They are totally hilarious and free-spirited, they stick up for themselves (don’t take on a tūī!) and they love to get pickled on nectar and too much fruit. I remember watching them fall out of the very tall pohutukawa on the Waitangi Reserve because they were so drunk! 

My drawing of a tui for Granddad, 1979.

My drawing of a tui for Granddad, 1979

My secret indulgence is`:

Trivial Pursuit, but it’s not really a secret to those who know me well. It’s sort of embarrassing; I know a fair bit of random stuff that isn’t much use for anything else, except quizzes maybe.

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is:

I’ve never really had one. I read a great sentence that Dad wrote in his personal memoir recently. He said: “From time to time one wonders, what it is you wish for your offspring and I believe it is for them to be independent and happy.” He was always keen on us kids being happy no matter what we chose to do in life. It’s a nice line.

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

Make a living out of your art. I’m not there yet, but that has been my goal for many years now.

Shane's recent painting of his daughters.

My recent painting of my daughters

In work and life I am motivated by:

My love for my partner, family and children. They mean everything to me – for them and me to be happy.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Recognise the uniqueness of Aotearoa’s flora and fauna in global terms. It needs protecting and it’s been here for aeons. Care needs to be properly funded and supported – push for this. Don’t be the generation to lose it all.

Every time you are in the bush, mountains or sea, remember that most people in the world aren’t lucky enough to experience this so near to where they sleep.