Staff Spotlight: Kataraina – Interpretation Ranger

Department of Conservation —  08/02/2019 — Leave a comment

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs and personalities of the people who work at DOC. Today we’re profiling Kataraina (Kata), an Interpretation Ranger based on Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands.

What an office! Kata and Kyla at Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island.

What an office! Kata and Kyla at Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Tell us about your role and how it contributes to conservation in Aotearoa…

It’s been a great experience for me being able to talk with the public about marine life and island restoration. I have the knowledge, but in the past have found it difficult to pass it on, doing this job has opened me up more.

I love educating people, especially the little kids and seeing their ‘wow!’ faces.

Part of the job is monitoring for pests like Argentine ants and plague skinks, and being part of the on-going biosecurity that you need on a pest-free island.

What does caring for New Zealand mean to you?

Caring for Aotearoa fills me with joy, as I’m helping it to be there for the next generation. It’s a way of me connecting to Aotearoa’s past life.

When I listen to the birds they talk to me and I talk to them – it’s a bit like having a yarn! Being tangata whenua means I have this connection to the land. This is more than just a job, it goes deeper than the roots.

Kata with visitors to the Otehei Bay Conservation Centre.

Kata with visitors to the Otehei Bay Conservation Centre

What visitor behaviours do you see in your day-to-day job that make a big positive difference to your work?

I love the way the visitors are always asking questions. This gives me the chance to help them understand about the place they have come to and how they can protect it.

What visitor behaviours would you like to see less of?

I haven’t seen much negative behaviour, luckily! But the one I have seen is people bringing dogs onto the island, late at night.

Kyla and Kata checking the catch traps at Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island.

Kyla and Kata checking the catch traps at Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

The number one piece of wisdom you’d like to share with visitors (both kiwi and international) is…

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. Engari, ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao.

The bird that feeds on the miro tree owns the forest. The bird that feeds on the knowledge owns the world.


In Aotearoa New Zealand we have a way we like to do things. We call it the Kiwi way.

Whether you’re a local, or you’re here on holiday, we all have a shared responsibility to look after this awesome place. From the mountains to the sea, and all places in between where we care for taonga no matter its size: www.doc.govt.nz/visit-the-kiwi-way

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