World Ranger Day selfies

Department of Conservation —  31/07/2023 — 1 Comment

Today is World Ranger Day, an annual prompt to celebrate the work done by rangers around the world and reflect on conservation goals. Here are some of our on-the-job selfies.

By the Department of Conservation

Twizel ranger Abi Hill deploying stoat traps up the Huxley Valley. Person in the left forefront in orange high vis, nature in the background
📷: Twizel ranger Abi Hill deploying stoat traps up the Huxley Valley

World Ranger Day recognises the invaluable efforts of rangers who serve on the front lines of conservation worldwide. The role of a ranger may not always be glamorous and sometimes it’s at a desk, (which is often a surprise to an aspiring ranger!) but there is no doubt about the significance of a ranger’s work when it comes to preserving and protecting our natural and historical heritage.

📷: Left: Rangers Zoe Loader, Cesar Britto, James Malone and in the front Vincent Tapia, planting near Lake Whangape in the Waikato. 📷: Right: Rangers Pattern Reid, Bex Nawalowalo and Pip Cox with scrub bars

Our work involves all sorts — managing threats to nature such as predators and biosecurity; monitoring and reporting; restoration; research and development … the list goes on. Our colleagues are experts in many things: ecosystems, kākāpō, kiwi, weeds, waterways, sharks, bittern, non-vascular plants, bird-banding, endangered orchids, visitor behaviour, surveying, safety, backcountry tramping; you name it.

The DOC Sounds of Science podcast is a good listen if you’d like to dive deeper into any of these fields.

📷: Left: Rangers Hannah Wilson, Kristine Theiss and Bex Newland at Lake Tarawera. 📷: Right: Rangers Dave Middleditch, Demelza Low and Monika Coles getting ready to take off into Shutes hut in Ruahine Forest Park

World Ranger Day is the day to give a shoutout to (you guessed it!) the rangers.

Our green-and-sometimes-orange decked team work hard and give their all to conservation every day. The challenges are many, as the work is often difficult and/or complex and/or physically challenging.

Ranger Suze Harris on Lake Matahi Ianthe in a kayak during an invasive macrophyte survey. Suze is on the left similing at the camera wearing a doc green jumper, float device, and wide brimmed DOC hatr. To the left is still water and a tree covered hill
📷: Ranger Suze Harris on Lake Matahi Ianthe in a kayak during an invasive macrophyte survey

And of course: the stakes are high: Aotearoa New Zealand has the highest proportion of species at risk in the world, at over a quarter.

📷: Left: Whakatipu District Rangers Amy Clarke, Lisa Milliken, Emma Jackson, Nicole Weyandt and Jasmine McGurk searching for Kawerau cress, Lepidium Sisymbrioides at the Slapjack Creek / Mt Difficulty Conservation Area. 📷: Top right: Bio Rangers Kirsty Akuhata Brown, Aman Khajuria, Flora Technical Advisor Paul Cashmore and Community Ranger Kristina Thompson who were Monitoring Geothermal Ferns at Waikite Geothermal Wetland. 📷: Bottom right: Community Rangers Rebecca Orpin and Emma Jackson at the Lake Hayes A&P show in Queenstown with a display of the greatest backcountry huts in Whakatipu.

In addition to the hard stuff, there’s plenty of awesome, too.

In the course of duty, our rangers often see breath-taking views and have enviable biodiversity experiences. Many of our rangers have on-the-job stories that would turn you DOC-green with envy.

📷: Left: Ranger Supervisor Daniel Jephson with a Northern Royal albatross at Taiaroa Head in Coastal Otago after tagging the chicks and feeding the orphan chicks. 📷: Right: Ayla Wiles at Waiau Toa/Clarence river holding a black-fronted tern, just banded as part of DOC banding training.

This is a good time to add that our rangers are experts at handling wildlife and they undergo training for moments like these. Members of the public are reminded to stay 20m away from wildlife, and should not be engaging with wildlife the same way a trained ranger does. Additionally, are experts at handling or observing animals and can recognise when wildlife may be distressed and know when they need to be left alone or given space.

In some of these pics, the views are so beautiful it looks like AI made them up, but it didn’t. All of the pics in this blog are good old-fashioned captures of reality.

📷: Left: Ranger Laurie Keller at the top of the Ōkārito trig track after checking on a rowi kiwi. 📷: Top right: Ranger Talia in the Abel Tasman National Park. 📷: Bottom right: Twizel ranger Leon Meewezen deploying traps on the Huxley Valley ridgeline. That day Leon estimates the team deployed more than 80 traps in incredibly difficult terrain.

This series give you a tiny glimpse into the work our frontline team do.

📷: Left: Te Kuiti ranger Osho Bhonsle in the Pikiariki area which is home to the short-tailed pekapeka/bat and the parasitic plant they feed from, the dactylanthus. 📷: Middle: Ranger Monica Bean by the Rakahuri, Ashley River near the north Canterbury office. 📷: Right: Ranger Taylor Kees at Ellangowan Scenic Reserve in Hickory bay checking a 97-stong trap network which is a partnership project with Orion.

Join us in celebrating World Ranger Day, and expressing gratitude for the essential work rangers do to protect our planet’s biodiversity.

Our team are super enthusiastic about what they do.

📷: Top left: Ops planner Don Herron and ranger Otis Berard in the Orongoronga River doing a supplies run to huts. 📷: Top right: Rangers Kristine Theiss and Hannah Wilson on the Tarawera Trail. 📷: Bottom left: Rangers Jane Gill and Daniel Jack looking for galaxiids in Moat Creek, Southland. 📷: Bottom right: Rangers Leeann Ellis, Dean Turner, Simon Elkington, and Janelle Dickson weeding at at Mounseys Reserve near Mt Oxford.

Sometimes the work isn’t glam, but the team tackle it with a get-it-done attitude.

Previously for World Ranger Day, we’ve done blog interviews, and YouTube livestreams, and even made Go Pro supercuts so you could see what our rangers see, but this year we thought we’d let the pictures do the talking. This is the second of our World Ranger day picture profiles.

📷: Left: Ranger Lizzie Sharp wading out to monitor an endangered orchid which exists only at the Whangamarino Wetland. Literally wading to work. How do you commute? 📷: Right: Ranger Sarah Smeath-Armstrong on Ulva Island moving traps in the biosecurity upgrade.

For many rangers, part of their job is passing their enthusiasm for nature and conservation onto others, including future conservation leaders.

📷: Ranger Mathew Kent with a school group in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Mathew says getting to teach students about geology, ecology and conservation is a dream job.

As an organisation, our aim is for ecosystems and species across Aotearoa to thrive. From the mountains to the sea, we want species to be living their best lives. Connection to natural and historic heritage enriches peoples lives. If you’ve ever heard a full dawn chorus in the native bush you know exactly what we mean.

But nature needs us. All of us. Everyone has a role to play in protecting nature, and the upcoming Conservation Week/Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa (14-20 August 2023) has some great suggestions for things you can do to help nature.

📷: Left to right: Ranger Sophie-Mitchell-Findlater on a scenic smoko break at Ottos Campsite by Lake Mapourika with the namu, flies. 📷: Ranger Campbell Harris in Gillespie valley in Makarora doing a windfall clearance getting ready for the summer season. 📷: Treaty Settlements Ranger Aroha Gilling at Rangitahi Molesworth Recreation Reserve with Te Rūnunga o Kaikōura as part of the management plan review. 📷: Lucy Allpress doing track checks in Ruahine Forest Park after Cyclone Gabrielle.

We had a vast range of awesome images to select from for this blog. We hope you relished this glimpse into the work our team do. Naturally, our organization is made up of many folks in many roles, but today is a good time to pay tribute to the tireless people on the front lines.

They’re legends, one and all.

📷: Left: Ranger Zara Wyatt up the Copland track to Welcome Flat hut. 📷: Right: Ranger Monica Bean And Ranger Supervisor Colin Alexander at a community event the local council hosted for World Ranger Day.

You can learn more about World Ranger Day on our website. For more about becoming a DOC Ranger, start with our careers page.

One response to World Ranger Day selfies


    Fantastic post! What a joy to see people doing the work they love!

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