Archives For Bay of Plenty

Lions Club members hosting international volunteers can have a multitude of benefits for conservation, as a recent trial has revealed.

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Today’s photo of the week is of two newly hatched dotterell/tūturiwhatu chicks in their nest on a Bay of Plenty beach.

Their camouflaged eggs are laid in a scrape in the sand, and can be easily crushed by beach goers as they’re sometimes hard to see.

Newly hatched dotterel chicks in a nest on a beach. Photo: Mithuna Sothieson.

DOC is looking for volunteers in the eastern Bay of Plenty area to get involved with the conservation of our feathered shore friends.

Volunteers will need to be able to commit for the duration of the shorebird season which runs from September to February. More information is available on the DOC website.

Photo by DOC Services Ranger Mithuna Sothieson.

 

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Mark Anderson, Partnerships Ranger based in the Western Bay of Plenty District.

Mark Anderson running on the Wellington waterfront.

I hate a sprint finish

At work

Some things I do in my job include… I am one of the lucky people who are involved in Resource Management Act planning, statutory land management and concessions! At the moment I am involved in negotiating the surrender of an access arrangement (long story that one!), the management of mangroves in Tauranga harbour and setting up management agreements for various blocks of graze-able public conservation land, to name but a few.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by… ensuring resources are used and managed sustainably and making sure those out there trying to make a fast buck to the detriment of the environment do not get away with it!

The best bit about my job is… the variety of the work that comes my way, one day I’m monitoring a sledging operation and enjoying the thrills of tumbling down white water and the next exercising the little grey cells as they assess the environmental impacts of a resource consent application.

The funniest/strangest/loveliest/scariest/awesome-est (choose one) DOC moment I’ve had so far is… in terms of white knuckle stuff it has to be monitoring a sledging operation on the Kaituna River, the operator has a concession as the walk into the jump in point is over a scenic reserve. As I was going undercover I could not reveal my true identity until the end which meant I had to sign up for the whole trip, for some reason no one else was keen to tackle the rapids so it fell to me to save the day! I also had a great time chasing the powelliphanta snails in the middle of Te Urewera National Park.  These snails are serious carnivores so you have to watch out, watch a snail attack on YouTube.

Mark Anderson in the white water.

A tough day at the office

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is… having not been with the Department all that long this is a tough question as pretty much everyone I have worked with is passionate about what they do and can enthuse others to fight the good fight. If pushed though I would have to say Aniwaniwa Tawa, she gave me some great advice when it came to delivering educational classes to some of the schools around Te Urewera National Park. After watching her in action she certainly inspired the kids she was teaching and inspired me to try and deliver fun and informative lessons.

On a personal note…

The song that always cheers me up is… a great little number by the legendary Saw Doctors called “Uesta Love her Once“ as it has some great lyrics and is one of the more up beat songs about moving on in love and life!

Mark Anderson on the top of the Tararua Ranges after fresh snow.

Best ever tramp in the Tararuas Jumbo Hut to Holdsworth after fresh snow

My stomping ground is… being a keen cyclist I can usually be found climbing one of the many roads that rise from Tauranga Harbour. The views you get from the tops are always great and it is always a good excuse to stop and suck in some oxygen before heading back down.

My best ever holiday was… after my tour of Iraq in 2003 I went island hopping around the Greek Islands for a wee while. The copious amounts of sun, sea, sand, fresh fish and ouzo made for a great holiday and a perfect way to refresh the body and soul.

My greatest sporting moment was when… there have of course been many but top of the list was taking line honours in a 51km fell race called the Long Tour of Bradwell. A striking run through the heart of the lower peak district in the UK, plenty of stunning views to distract you from those aching legs!

Before working at DOC I… enjoyed avoiding the responsibility of getting a career! I spent a fair bit of time landscape gardening and can also add Wellington cycle courier to my achievements, (national office staff apologies if I may have nearly run you over at some point in 2009!) and I also had a stint as a pool lifeguard.

Mark Anderson travelling in South West China.

Travelling in South West China, spectacular scenery but very challenging

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… “I shall finish the game” Bit of a cheesy one liner form Young Guns II but I like it because I always strive to finish what I start and never like to quit.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… “It is not the will to win that is important but the will to prepare to win” This little nugget came from my athletics coach when I was younger. Basically it is no good having the dream if you are not prepared to put the hard yards into ensure that dream can be realised.  I think it can be applied to any aspect of life, not necessarily just sport.

In work and life I am motivated by… keeping middle age spread at bay! This is why I volunteer to help out the services rangers as much as possible.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… get involved in local conservation projects, you will meet some great people and reap the rewards of seeing the fruits of your labour in your own area (not to mention enjoying the odd sausage sizzle or two!)

Question of the week…

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten? Back packing around Laos I found myself in a bar and ravenously hungry, I could not see a menu anywhere but one guy was tucking into a plateful of what looked like dark noodles so I just pointed at that and rubbed my belly to indicate the same for me. When the plate arrived, it was an assortment of insects and bugs, all deep fried and very crispy and to be fair also rather tasty!

Fancy enjoying a wilderness wildlife experience 500 metres from your 5-star accommodation? Want to see marine mammals up close whilst standing on dry land sipping a coffee? Then Mount Maunganui is the winter destination for you!

Okay, maybe not quite wilderness, but the Bay of Plenty’s renowned summer party town is fast becoming a winter wildlife hotspot due to the recovery of fur seal populations in the area.

A fur seal pup relaxing at Mount Maunganui. Credit: Joel Ford, Bay of Plenty Times.

A fur seal pup relaxing at Mount Maunganui
Credit: Joel Ford, Bay of Plenty Times.

Visiting fur seals are expected to make a major ‘splash’ in coastal communities along the Bay of Plenty this winter, including in New Zealand’s fifth largest city, Tauranga, and further up the coast in Whakatane. Together with resident little blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals should be coming ashore to rest, having travelled from as far south as Dunedin.

Last year we witnessed spectacular shenanigans like this seal caught climbing onto paddle boats; an early morning visit to the Tauranga waterfront; neighbourly seals tapping on suburban patio windows; and of course the seal that went global after curling up on someone’s couch for the night.

Seals don’t always get good press; and it’s true that they smell, bite and carry diseases—so it’s important to keep your distance.

Some communities are also worried that seals will compete with us for seafood, although evidence suggests they feed mainly on anchovy and lantern fish, which aren’t so popular with humans.

Close up photo of a NZ fur seal face.

New Zealand fur seal up close and personal

On the plus side, seals are a sign of a healthy environment. Historically, they lived all around New Zealand, so it stands to reason that if we continue to look after our place they will return to more of our holiday spots in the future. Next stop, Takapuna Beach?

Visit the DOC website find out more about fur seals and conservation.