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).
Invercargill Operations Ranger Doug Veint is retiring next week after 53 years of public service. Here are some of his reflections on his career.
Where did your career begin?
My 53 years in the public service began at 17 years of age, as a Clerical Cadet in the Ministry of Works Department in Invercargill, in the building that I was born in.
What has changed the most since your career in public service began?
Departments that I have worked in prior to DOC no longer exist (i.e. Ministry of Works, later Ministry of Works and Development, New Zealand Forest Service, Department of Labour, Electricity Sector Power Supply Authorities). So the public service, itself, has been the biggest change.
How and when did you join DOC?
Having earlier been associated with the establishment of DOC with the New Zealand Forest Service, I applied for a Southland Conservancy management position, then designated Manager Personnel and Administration, and took up that appointment on 31 October 1994. In my 10 years or so in that HR role, I enjoyed meeting and working with staff generally in the large and diverse Southland Conservancy, and also the frequent contact with regional and national colleagues. In 2005 I moved into a biodiversity role.
Some things that I have undertaken in my DOC job (since April 2005) include:
I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be appointed to a biodiversity position in the Offshore Islands Team in the Southern Islands Area Office, processing various categories of research permits (Wildlife Act, Research and Collection, Scientific Research in Marine Reserves, etc); Entry Permits for the Subantarctic Islands, a couple of restricted Nature Reserves on Stewart Island, Whenua Hou Codfish Island, and Solander Island; and administering tourism Guiding Concessions, and Permit Granting Access (Entry Permits) for eight overseas cruise ship companies and a New Zealand company that had Departmental Concessions approved for landing passengers at the Auckland and Campbell Islands in the subantarctic islands.
I have very much enjoyed the contact with the many individuals and groups who have had an association with the Islands, including researchers and other staff from various technical sections within DOC, researchers from NIWA, Universities from New Zealand and overseas, and other organisations; also the close working relationship with cruise ship companies from New Zealand and overseas, and staff from other government departments and organisations who have an involvement in that programme – MFAT, MPI, Customs, Navy, Antarctica New Zealand, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, etc.
What species programme has influenced you most in your role with southern islands?
Because of our team’s close involvement with Whenua Hou Codfish Island, and the Kakapo Recovery Programme team in the office, I have been privileged to have been associated in some small way with their work, and the people visiting the Island. Our team also visited the island on occasions to assist with projects.
Outside your normal day-to-day work with the Department, what other events with DOC stand out for you?
Of particular note was being given the opportunity to travel in March 1996, together with Andy Roberts, on an Orion flight from Dunedin and travelling over all of the subantarctic islands, dropping a parcel from the plane to Kath Walker and Graeme Elliott at Antipodes Islands before landing back in Dunedin later in the day.
In work and life I am motivated by…
My family! We were all together for part of the past Christmas–New Year period, for the first time in three years. We managed to get some family photos.
What does the future hold?
I think I am looking forward to retirement after 53 years in the Government Sector. I look back on the various roles that I have undertaken, with some pride. I am very lucky to have been able to work for almost 22 years with so many dedicated, passionate and experienced conservation staff, covering so many fields of activity.
Many thanks, both to local staff who have had to work with me, to staff that I have been associated with in various other offices within DOC, and to all researchers, staff of other Departments, and cruise ship companies that I have worked with in recent years. Best wishes to all for the future.