Meet our rangers: World Ranger Day

Department of Conservation —  30/07/2019

Tomorrow (July 31) is World Ranger Day, acknowledging the critical work of rangers on the front-line of conservation across the globe. For us, it’s a chance to celebrate the amazing things that our hard-working rangers do across Aotearoa all year round.

Meet some of our dedicated rangers below and learn more about the work they do and their passion for conservation.

Ranger Anna, Community Ranger (Gisborne)

What things do you do in your job?

• Events and education to support our kura, kaiako and community in conservation education of Te Tairawhiti and Wairoa.

• Dabble in the consent and permissions world.    

• Support DOC’s communications/media on the East Coast.

What inspires you in your role?

It’s pretty straightforward but it’s the people, the mahi for the taiao and it coming together in the place I call home.

What’s the best day you’ve had as a ranger?

In the six months that I’ve been with DOC I’ve had a number of best moments that collectively make one giant super best day. I’ve been able to head to Waikawa to see the rare and cute tūturuatu/shore plover, taken part in an ecology day of hands on workshops for the community to take part in, learnt from and been inspired by two education superstars through green space learning, heard new stories and history of our region, and got to be involved in the education event Te Iwa o Matariki with the tauira and rangatahi of Wairoa which focused on pest control.

Where’s your favourite spot in New Zealand?

Home, my little slice of paradise! Where I can go wandering in the hills, recharge down at the awa (which also has a great swimming hole), and where Nan provides all the comforts of yummy kai, great stories and hugely competitive games of euchre.

Ranger Gen, Biodiversity Ranger (Mana Island)

What things do you do in your job?

An island ranger’s job is as varied as you can imagine and each motu is very different with a different focus to the work. Biosecurity is a biggie whether it be actually checking surveillance traps on the ground or educating visitors about biosecurity and ensuring they have all the info they need before arriving. There is also lots of building and infrastructure maintenance as well as office time that folks don’t usually associate with island jobs!

Mana has a significant takahē population that we help care for, this is the major biodiversity programme on the island. We routinely get to work with our conservation partners Ngati Toa Rangatira and Friends of Mana Island on a wide range of things which we thoroughly enjoy.

Our son Theo was born during our time on Kapiti Island and since then he’s been my main focus. We have a second due in September so Nick my partner does the lion’s share of the island mahi at present and a great job he does. It’s an unbelievable privilege to get the opportunity to raise a family while working and living in such a beautiful part of the world. 

What’s the best day you’ve had as a ranger?

My latest ‘best day’ on Mana (because I’m lucky to say there’s always another ‘best day’ around the corner) was during the recent mātātā/fernbird translocation. We had lots of visitors, helicopters arriving and departing and getting a chance to release some of the manu/birds with Theo was really special! 

Where’s your favourite spot in New Zealand?

Can I have two? Since beginning island life in 2012, Nick and I haven’t managed to fit in as much tramping as we’d have liked but Kahurangi National Park is a place that left a real impression on me and has been calling me back since our trip there some time ago. Hopefully we’ll throw the kids in backpacks and tackle another adventure in that neck of woods in the next year or so.

My other favourite spot is the beach out the front of our temporary home on Mana Island. Theo, Nick and I often spend time there watching the ocean and drawing pictures in the sand, pinching ourselves at our lucky we are. 

Ranger Jamie, Biodiversity Ranger (East Coast)

What things do you do in your job?

Bird and Fish Monitoring. Compliance work with marine mammals and all sorts of stuff/operations requests.

How did you become a ranger?

By luck.

What inspires you in your role?  

Doing the right thing to speak on behalf of the whitebait the lobsters and trees (biodiversity) when lazy people steal them. Because these species don’t get a say themselves.

What’s the best day you’ve had as a ranger?

Being part of the first team in Mainland New Zealand to biopsy a Southern right whale.

Where’s your favourite spot in New Zealand?

The South Pacific Ocean.

What’s one interesting fact that New Zealander’s might not know?

On the 45 tonne granite obelisk at Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site, National Historic Reserve. The joint second from the top  n the north face has not got a bevelled edge. All of the other joints have. This was built in in 1906.

Ranger Kina, Senior Community Ranger (Te Kuiti)

What things do you do in your job?

Work with amazing community groups who volunteer time and their own money to conservation, I’m in awe of their commitments. Schools and other educational institutions, working together in Conservation Education.

How did you become a ranger?

I’m a Teacher and a Vet Nurse but my first love has always been working in conservation. I grew up in Vanuatu and did a lot of work with Greenpeace and Hawksbill turtles as a child, it inspired me 😊

If you could be any native animal, which one would you be and why?

Peripatus, or velvet worms, are unusual animals of the forest floor. They are called ‘living fossils’ as they are remarkably unchanged from 500 million years ago. How cool would it be to be a teeny-tiny predator — and a living fossil.

Photo: Paul Pschilov

What inspires you in your role?

The amazing people who dedicate their time to conservation especially many of my colleagues

What’s the best day you’ve had as a ranger?  

Too many to chose from, but working with longtailed bats in the Grand Canyon was definitely up there along with Mahoenui giant wētā monitoring.

What’s the weirdest day you’ve had as a ranger?

Riding the Timber Trail with a very fit collegue. I was really struggling and getting left behind and was devastated as I had trained hard for the ride… at kilometre 35 we found my brakes had been jammed on the entire time! I was exhausted to the bone but happy to finish the first 40km still alive!

Timber Trail, Pureora Forest Park. Photo: Michael Schwab ©

Where’s your favourite spot in New Zealand?

Hands down… PUREORA!

What’s one interesting fact that New Zealander’s might not know?

Pureora is the only place in New Zealand where the relationship between our only fully parasitic plant, Dactylanthus, and the short-tailed bat has been studied for a prolonged time. It appears that the bats are the best at pollinating the odd little ground flowers. Its amazing, come and experience it!

Short-tailed bat. Photo: David Mudge/Nga Manu Trust

Find out more about #WorldRangerDay and how we’ve celebrated in past years on our website.

2 responses to Meet our rangers: World Ranger Day

    riveraid2015 31/07/2019 at 9:22 am

    Thanks so much for all your support this past 12 months. Wouldn’t have been able to do it without you! – from the BRaid team.

    Elaine Sinton 30/07/2019 at 7:00 pm

    Wow! Inspiring people and a great read. We are so lucky to have such wonderful dedicated rangers.