Volunteer spotlight: Anaura Bay campsite

Department of Conservation —  18/12/2018

Without the passionate volunteers who help DOC in so many ways, we couldn’t deliver the vast array of conservation-based activities that take part across New Zealand’s public conservation lands and waters virtually 24/7.  New Zealanders and our visitors are enriched by outdoor experiences. Volunteers play a vital role for conservation in helping to connect people to the outdoor camping experience.

Pauline and Jim Moore of Wellington are volunteer wardens at Anaura Bay campsite. We talked to them about why they return to this popular holiday hot-spot every year and why they volunteer for DOC.

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Pauline and Jim Moore

When you are not camp wardens, what things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

We live in Wellington and have worked most of our lives in Insurance (Pauline) and in Information Technology (Jim) respectively but are now both retired.

After the Christmas break, at Anaura Bay, we often spend a couple of months touring somewhere in NZ in our caravan and have always loved the outdoors and camping lifestyle.

How long have you been coming to Anaura Bay DOC Campground?

We first came to Anaura Bay at Christmas in 1983 and fell in love with it. Apart from the obvious beauty of the bay itself, the people were so friendly and helpful that a return visit seemed inevitable. In fact, we have been back almost every Christmas since, and long may it continue.

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Photo: Moira Lee

How long have you been volunteer camp wardens at the Anaura Bay DOC Campground?

Pauline has been a volunteer camp warden since 2009.

Why do you choose to return to Anaura Bay?

Over many years we have met so many people, many of whom also return to Anaura Bay on a regular basis, it has at times felt a bit like a family reunion and so we come back again and again.

What motivates you to volunteer as a camp warden?

When we first came to Anaura Bay there were no camp fees, they were introduced in the year 1999/2000 with the expectation that the camp could be inundated and might need to be run more formally.

Gradually it has become more like the many other DOC camp sites around the country, but even so, there are many of us “regulars” who like the way the camp is now, and as a volunteer we feel we have a little more say to ensure it remains largely as is.

It is a wonderful example of a family camp, with campers generally respecting each other, and working in harmony to give a good experience for everyone.

What have been some of the highlights for you as a camp warden or as a camper?

Generally, everyone seems prepared to consider other people’s rights and point of view. For example, there are no site markings, so people can occupy as much space as they need. On the other hand, campers need to be aware that others also need space, and once everyone understands this it seems to work.

Once I had a camper wanting a swarm of bees moved away from their site, and as if by magic our famous bee keeper at camp appeared and took care of the problem. Camper co-operation is amazing!

What have been some challenges for you as a camp warden?

Our biggest challenge is to make sure everyone has a chemical toilet.  Sometimes new campers seem to think they don’t need a toilet particularly if they are only staying one night, but the same rule applies to all.

What skills do you think are needed to be an effective camp warden?

Communication is vital. Most people will respond positively if they understand the situation and feel treated with respect.

What are some tips you can give to campers coming to the campground?

Rule number 1 – You must have a chemical toilet, no exceptions.

Rule number 2 – Remember rule number 1

Rule number 3 – Don’t waste water

Otherwise, just enjoy your holiday and respect other campers at all times.

As a regular, you have seen where the campground has come from and the people who visit? Where do you see the future of Anaura Bay DOC campground? What recommendations could you offer?

Anaura Bay has always been a family camp right from the very first time we brought our family here in 1983. There is no need to change that.

There are so many lessons to be learned from camping here that are valuable for a lifetime in terms of respecting other people and the environment. We believe the best use of the Anaura Bay campground is to continue encouraging families to come and enjoy the camping experience at an affordable cost.

As the saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”