Our rangers undertake a large variety of work. We maintain tracks in national parks, undertake crucial biodiversity work, conduct pest control and manage recovery programmes for our natives like kiwi, kākāpō and takahē (to name a few). Our green and gold signs reflect our work on tracks, at campsites, campgrounds, or on many of the 900 huts we manage nationwide, but there are other lesser known elements of our roles too. Here’s a small glimpse into the other lives of our rangers this World Ranger Day.
Our gear guru
Our uniforms are getting an upgrade! We work in tough and diverse conditions from the mountains to the sea, so we’re getting apparel designed for New Zealand’s different environmental conditions.
Takaka ranger Mat took a break from his usual operational duties to take the lead as Uniform Project Coordinator. He has worked with numerous experts to develop our new uniforms and his previous career in outdoor gear design came in handy. The new items will be rolled out to all our uniformed staff over the next few years.
Read more about the roll out here.
Our night owls
Our rangers don’t just work day shifts. Many of our native species are nocturnal, so a significant amount of our work happens under the cover of darkness.
One example is our biodiversity work monitoring bat populations in Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park. Every year, a team of rangers, volunteers and helpers spend two weeks finding bat roosts in the 70,000-hectare forest. They catch and fit a range of bats with transmitters to track and locate where they disappear to in the daytime.
Our offshore island guardians
We also spend a large amount of time on New Zealand’s off-shore islands conducting field work and keeping island areas pest free, like Campbell Island pictured below.
At the other end of the country, some of our staff live in relative solitude on Raoul Island; the largest of the Kermadec Islands. The island is 1000km off the coast of New Zealand and takes around 4-5 days to travel to by boat. The ranger’s role is to keep the island’s weeds at bay, but their roles also include other activities like water sampling or manning the Raoul Island weather station. Part of this work is to release the weather balloon daily. The balloon information provides the mainland with early warning signals on tropical cyclones.
You can read more about our work on Raoul in one of our previous blog posts here.
Our local guides
We also have extremely hard working Visitor Centre rangers. In the last year, our visitor centre teams at 19 locations throughout New Zealand have assisted over 1.8 million visitors. They are equipped with a wealth of knowledge on local biodiversity, conservation places and activities. They also have important advice for visitors on weather conditions, safety measures and gear.
We’d like to say thanks to all of our hard-working rangers, staff, and volunteers for being incredibly passionate, dedicated and committed to helping and preserving New Zealand’s natural environment.
He maumaharatanga – in memoriam
At our national office we have a memorial garden in remembrance of those who lost their lives while completing conservation work for the Department. Every day, staff at national office do their mahi in the near presence of a specially carved pou and engraved plaques, which remind us to honour our colleagues who passed away, including rangers, other staff, and conservation volunteers.
World Ranger Day is brought you by the International Ranger Federation. You can read more about the international day and how it’s celebrated overseas here.
For more, follow us on social media, or visit doc.govt.nz/worldrangerday.