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 Gareth Roberts, an Inspector based in Wanaka.
Some things I do in my job include:
I inspect huts, structures and tracks.
This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:
Ensuring our huts, structures and tracks meet the DOC service standards and that they’re safe for the public to use.
The best bit about my job is:
Getting out and about and visiting amazing parts of the country. Some stand-out places I’ve been fortunate to visit over the years are: Mokihinui Forks, Kahurangi Point, Resolution Island, Siberia Valley, Heaphy River Mouth.
The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is:
Flying in a helicopter across Fiordland National Park, from Te Anau to Resolution Island.
The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:
Kim Forbes – he was great at getting things done. You’d often hear him saying to people JFDI (I’ll let you work it out).
On a personal note…
Most people don’t know that:
I can speak Welsh fluently. I grew up near Conwy in North Wales. My Father was a Welsh speaker, but my mother wasn’t. Fortunately my Dad decided that I should go to the local Welsh language primary school.
It was very useful later in life when I met Carol (my wife) who’s Father didn’t speak much English. It came in handy again whilst working for the Forestry Commission in Dolgellau on the west Wales coast, where 70% of the locals were Welsh Speakers, including my work colleagues.
The song that always cheers me up is:
Seaside Rendezvous – Queen
In my spare time I enjoy:
Fly fishing. My interest in fishing started whilst backpacking around New Zealand in 1990. I hired a spinning rod in Queenstown and caught a tiny trout at Bob’s Cove, I was hooked, and I rushed out and bought my first fishing rod.
On returning to Wales my brother in law taught me how to fly fish, which has been my passion ever since. I now live in Wanaka and enjoy fishing Lake Wanaka, the Clutha River and a few other rivers that I’m not at liberty to talk about.
If I wasn’t working at DOC:
If I was financially independent, I’d like to go on a big fishing trip; fishing for salmon in Alaska, bonefish in the Bahamas, and marlin in Costa Rica (we’re all allowed to dream).
My hero is:
Nelson Mandela. I read his autobiography ‘Long Walk To Freedom’ and was amazed at the way he was able to work with the people that had treated him and his people so badly to bring about positive change in South Africa.
Deep and meaningful…
My favourite quote is:
“I told you I was ill” – Spike Milligan’s epitaph
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:
Don’t eat the yellow snow (Frank Zappa didn’t personally give me this advice, but I do think its excellent advice).
In work and life I am motivated by:
Passionate people. If someone is passionate about something, they’re usually interesting to listen to and spend time with.
My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:
Conservation is everyone’s job; do your bit.
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