Archives For conservation jobs

Meet one of our Senior Biodiversity Rangers Ali! She’s worked with some of New Zealand’s most unique species including whio, kiwi and short tailed bats. We asked on Instagram if you had any questions for Ali about her work and we were overwhelmed with the amount of questions we received!

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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 Geoff Hicks, DOC’s Chief Scientist, based in National Office, Wellington

Some things I do in my job include…

Providing advice and maintaining good relationships with science sector colleagues to advantage DOC; adding a science perspective to international negotiations; and keeping our science and research strategy relevant and up to date.

Geoff Hicks on the Northern Circuit, Tongariro.

My favourite tramping spot, Northern Circuit, Tongariro

The best bit about my job is…

Seeing people make the connection between science, conservation and their sense of identity and prosperity.

The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is…

Recently representing New Zealand at the launch of the new Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Panama City, in April last year.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is…

Not one but many… the quality and commitment of our science staff.

On the Sculpter's Walk, South Head, Sydney .

On the Sculpter’s Walk, South Head, Sydney

On a personal note…

My stomping ground is…

Tongariro Northern Circuit and the Rough Ridge Central Otago. 

If I could trade places with any other person for a week—famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional—it would be…

Richard Branson… for his stratospheric vision.

My best ever holiday was…

A month of long service leave spent at Beaux Chene, a lovely villa on the banks of the Baise River, Nerac, south west France.

My greatest sporting moment was when…

I beat my good friend Karl in the veterans Karapoti Classic—by 15 minutes to boot!

Before working at DOC I…

Was Conceptual Leader Natural Environment at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand—responsible for the creation of the Awesome Forces, Mountains to Sea and Bush City exhibitions.

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is…

“Aim high, you’re bound to hit something!” 

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

Carpe diem!

In work and life I am motivated by…

Happiness and Michelle—they go together!

Geoff with his daughter Kate and his 93 year old mum.

Geoff with his daughter Kate and his 93 year old mum

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is…

Just remember that DOC consistently ranks amongst the most loved state agencies by New Zealanders; they really do appreciate what we do!

Question of the week

What story does your family love to tell about you?

When I was about 10 years old we lived next to a family at Raumati Beach that had a corgi dog. His name was Clarry. I didn’t like him much and he came to greatly dislike me, probably because I used to tease him while on the backyard swing. I used to aggravate him while zooming overhead growling and making snapping, clawing gesticulations with my fingers.  He was a smart dog. He got better at reacting as I passed overhead and his snarling, snapping jaws got closer to me at every pass.

But I was so imbued with my own success at angering him that I was oblivious to the shortening distance to my derrière. And inevitably he struck. So there I was flying backwards and forwards on this swing with a ratty, salivating corgi attached firmly to my butt! After the tetanus injection (and they really do hurt) I was left ruminating over the moral of this story. Perhaps it was: when you are tantalised and determined you can achieve great things. Even a flying corgi will testify to that!

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 Acting Programme Manager – Biodiversity Assets, Chris Birmingham.

Chris Birmingham holding Rangi the kakapo in native bush.

Me with Rangi the kākāpō, unfound for 21 years until that fateful Waitangi Day in 2009

Position: Usually I am the Island Ranger/Manager of Te Hoiere/Maud Island Scientific Reserve in Pelorus Sound, but I am currently ‘pretend’ Programme Manager Biodiversity Assets in the Sounds Area Office for four months.

At work…

What kind of things do you do in your role?  

I manage Maud Island Scientific Reserve. This involves a plethora of things: monitoring the takahē population, quarantine and biosecurity, driving boats, driving tractors, managing visitors —including researchers and volunteers. We run day trips for the public in summer and host conservation volunteers and overnight school groups from the local area.

We do pines and other weed control, infrastructure management including the alternative energy set up on Maud, predator control and trapping, species monitoring and translocations, we even manage a small flock of sheep. I don’t sheer them though. I am an Area Warranted Officer and, oh yes, perhaps my biggest challenge, keeping a certain big green budgie in the manner to which he has become accustomed while he isn’t tied up with his Spokesbird activities.

Two pesky and noicy pukeko standing on Chris Birminham's deck.

The pesky noisy neighbours over for a cuppa

What is the best part about your job?  

Simple, I live and work on a beautiful island! I step outside and there I am, at work, no commuting necessary!

We share our house with geckos, giant weta and takahē to name a few… and we have a real live “fort” on Maud which might have one of the best views in the country—great spot for an after work beverage.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Linda and Chris standing on Maud Island with a bay in the background on a very sunny day.

Linda and I at home on Maud Island, Home Bay in the background, corker day

Isolation can be an issue. Careful planning is required to ensure things like fresh coffee, beer, wine, and cheese don’t run out. Thankfully we have a good relationship with the Pelorus mailboat.

I also miss family and friends, social engagements and family affairs. Luckily my fiancée Linda and I see this as an advantage sometimes too!

There are some work issues to deal with as well, of course!

The Fort on Maud Island, a concrete structure with a bicycle in the middle and islands in the background.

The Fort on Maud Island, every young (and older) boy’s dream!

What led you to your role in DOC? 

A Bachelor of the Arts in Sociology (relevant much?), followed by several years applying that as a bicycle courier on the mean streets of Auckland before a move into the office. This was followed by a sudden revelation that I didn’t want to do that forever more, provoked by a visit to a DOC friend on Rakiura. Six months later I was back there as a “weedo” exploring all the beauty and splendour of Stewart Island. For a boy from Auckland you can imagine the culture shock! No ecology/zoology/wildlife diplomas or degrees, I snuck in the back door! Since then I have spent a lot of time on islands… and the rest they say, is history.

What was your highlight from the month just gone? 

A dark grey Navy Seasprite helicopter lifts a new electricity generator on to the island beside a lighthouse.

Navy Seasprite lifting a new generator into place, Takapourewa/Stephens Island

Working with the Navy to effect the Takapourewa/Stephens Island resupply, moving six ton of equipment from Picton to Wellington onto the HMNZS Canterbury who then flew it onto Takapourewa with their Seasprite helicopter. The logistics were huge, the weather was atrocious, but at the end of it all everything panned out nicely. Credit to the Navy who hung about and waited for the wind to drop below 50 knots! A great example of interagency cooperation.

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Islands—in particular the islands of Aotearoa, but I am fascinated by islands in general as microcosms of biology.
  2. Bicycles, usually old, sometimes in pieces, mostly unrideable. It’s not really a love, more of an addiction and I should maybe seek help.
  3. Music. I don’t understand people who don’t enjoy quality music in some form or other and settle for the pfaff that commercial radio chucks at you. Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, I’m looking at you!

Three pet peeves

  1. Cats, feral and otherwise. Well, actually all introduced mammals.
  2. The Maud Island takahē when they decide that 3.30am is an acceptable time to call out (while on our front lawn or even front deck) to their mate, “I’m overrrrrrr heeeeere!” Who then responds, and they have a duelling banjos kind of stand off for 10 minutes. Life is tough!
  3. The pukeko who see fit to remove plants from our garden on Maud for the apparent fun of it, not to mention the ngaio that were so lovingly planted by volunteers.

Three foods

  1. All spicy food really, I like food you can taste!
  2. Linda’s Asian delights.
    Cheese and quality boutique beer from Marlborough brewers like Moa and Renaissance—beer is a food!

Three favourite places in New Zealand other than Maud Island/Te Hoiere

  1. Dusky Sound. I was lucky enough to live and work there on Anchor Island for a while and believe every New Zealander needs to visit the outer reaches of Fiordand if they can. Milford Sound is nice, Doubtful is pretty cool, BUT Dusky rules them all!
  2. Little Barrier Island, a fine example of primordial New Zealand. I lived there once, I met my wife to be Linda there, and one day we’ll get back.
  3. Te Anau—beautiful little town full of awesome people and stunning views.
Chris Birmingham standing on on a peak at dusk with various islands behind him.

Anchoria, Dusky Sound, with Reso in the background, in the footsteps of Richard Henry, can you smell the serenity?

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: The Big Lebowski – “the dude does not abide!”
  2. Album: Bailter Space – Robot World, seminal Noo Zilland band. Don’t blame me if you don’t like it though!
  3. Book: Currently I am reading Song of the Dodo by David Quammen, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self? 

Self, I would say, go and learn a trade before you do anything else. It will stand you in good stead later in life wherever you are and whatever you do. And don’t draw down all that student loan, you’ll still be paying it off in 20 years!

Who or what inspires you and why?

Good managers, who lead by example, who can get the most out of staff and help them realise their potential. I have always been (mostly) lucky to work under such managers in different organisations. Also Richard Henry, following in his Dusky footsteps (sometimes literally) is something I will remember forever.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Taller! My mother always said I’d grow but I hoped it would happen before I was 17! Thanks Mum.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

I hate to think what could have become of me. I found my niche when I left Auckland and headed south!

Chris Birmingham on a rugged, rocky coast with three others filming a television show.

Chalky Island, filming Wild Coasts Fiordland with Craig Potton, nice work if you can get it!

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on? 

Leave your car at home if you can, or catch a ride with a friend. Better yet, use public transport or your bike.

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

We already recycle everything and live off grid! So probably better composting practices at home on Maud involving more Saturday afternoon sheep pellet scooping missions! At work, trying to make the island houses more sustainable and nicer to live in with better insulation, double glazing and more efficient, modern heating.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?    

Either a kārearea or a kea. The falcon because the idea of flying fast appeals and being at the right end of the food chain would be good! The kea because, well it just looks like fun being a kea doesn’t it? Not to mention being the avian equivalent of a border collie with all that brain power!

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation? 

We’re on a big drive to get kiwis to engage in, and value conservation. To me that doesn’t necessarily mean getting out there and running a trap line, pouring your hard earned money into a community project or giving up valuable time to help save a species. It can be as simple as reducing your waste levels, not replacing the family cat (can you tell I don’t like cats?) or planting native trees in your garden for our birds. Even just becoming aware of the plight of our native flora and fauna. Every little bit helps.

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 Taranaki Service Ranger, Traci Grant.

Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park

At work… 

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I do a mixture of reception and administration duties which include: hunting and possum trapping permits, answering general enquires, giving advice about tramping opportunities on our beautiful maunga, and also HR, payroll, timesheets, stationery, uniforms, vehicles, travel bookings, minute taking, and providing general help when required.

What is the best part about your job?

The people I work with, and the great things we achieve. It can often be quite hard working in an office-based role while everyone else is out there in the field doing it, but it is rewarding when you know what you’re doing is helping someone, and maybe making their day a little easier.

Walking the Milford Track with Donna and Mike

What is the hardest part about your job?

Juggling the number of different tasks and not being able to complete a task from start to finish, and then probably chasing people to get things completed on time.

What led you to your role in DOC?

An Environmental Ethics paper at university, a childhood full of family holidays in the outdoors, and definitely my adventurous dad. 

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Winter is an extremely office based time of the year, but the highlight, let’s say for Autumn 2012, was walking the Milford Track and a road trip around the South Island for two weeks. I have to admit this was the first time I had been past Blenheim! And my gosh, how beautiful is the South Island??

South Island road trip 2012

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. My amazing friends, you guys are awesome!
  2. My ma and pa; they have put up with a lot of mind changes and late night calls but at the end of the day they always have dinner and a mug of Milo waiting for me!
  3. Home; I’m a homebody wherever that home (and my Crown Lynn collection) might be!

Three pet peeves

  1. People who talk over you.
  2. Accommodation that doesn’t have free internet.
  3. Cafes that only have white sugar for my coffee—come on I have fancier sugar at home haha!

Three foods

  1. A shared home cooked meal (made by someone other than me)
  2. Cupcakes/cake/brownie/BAKING!!
  3. Redbull. Okay it’s not a food but…

My signature vanilla and hazelnut cupcakes

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Home
  2. Whanganui river. Throughout high school and uni we would do at least one trip each summer; it’s a really magical place
  3. Whatipu at the head of the Manukau Harbour—my brother had his wedding here earlier this year. Not only was the rugged West Coast amazing but the old lodge, built in 1870, where we stayed had all sorts of treasures including old plates displayed along the kitchen walls!

At the summit of Mount Taranaki – you can just see Ruapehu in the background

Favourite movie, album, book

  • Movie: Crazy Stupid Love—thanks to Ryan Gosling I’ve seen it three times!
  • Album/Artist: Ash Grunwald; a friend and I saw him play in New Plymouth earlier this month—he has a bit of a Black Keys sound going on, so if you like them he’s worth a listen! And Tono and the Finance Company—this is an indie band from Dunedin who are now based in Auckland. I saw them play in Dunedin during our South Island road trip, and it was one of my highlights!
  • Book: For me it would have to be Your Home and Garden magazine—I love all the inspiration and crafty ideas.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

No matter what happens, everything will work out—it always does.

Who or what inspires you and why?

My friends and the people I’ve met here and there along the way, especially the crafty ones and the passionate ones.

Walking the Milford Track (Dore Pass)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A volcanologist, a designer, and then later on, a philosopher. 

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

Well if I could do anything I would probably be running an online store selling the crafty things I make. Maybe I’d also run a coffee house and bake amazing cupcakes!

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

I like to turn things off at the wall. Oh and you don’t actually have to try and keep up with everyone else and their flash new things, you can be quite happy with that old Nokia brick phone!

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

At home—walk to town on the weekends, there is plenty of time. At work—use that webcam!!!

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

A robin or maybe a South Island tomtit, mainly because they are little and cute and get to live in some beautiful places—OR a tui, probably because they can hang out in the bush, but they also like being in town—that’s a bit of me!

South Island robin

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

Go outside, even if it’s just to the local park. Run around a bit, listen to the birds, and enjoy the shade of that tree in your back garden. Teach your children about the tui and the kereru, and inspire them!

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 Biodiversity Ranger, Cherie Hemsley.

At work…

What kind of things do you do in your role?

Weed control, possum control, rat control, dotterel work, and quarantine checks.

What is the best part about your job?

Everything!!! The places on the island that we get to go to and locations that, unless you were working for the department, you don’t get to go to.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Not having enough hours in the day to do everything.

What led you to your role in DOC?

I love the bush.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Working on getting sign-off to drive our Stabi Crafts.

Cherie and daughter Betty at the beach – Mason Bay

The rule of 3…

Three loves

  1. My daughter Betty
  2. My partner Simon
  3. Stewart Island

Three pet peeves

  1. Mess (when peeps don’t clean up after themselves)
  2. Laziness
  3. Too much time indoors

Cherie and partner Simon

Three foods 

  1. Whitetail
  2. Salmon
  3. Trumpeter

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Mason Bay
  2. Port Pegasus
  3. Codfish Island (I know they are all Stewart Island and around, but that’s why I live here)

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: Stand By Me
  2. Album: The Best of Otis Redding
  3. Book: Whitethorn by Bryce Courtney

Cherie’s daughter Betty and partner Simon

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

Start saving 10% of your wages now!

Who or what inspires you and why?

My daughter because she is AMAZING!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A vet.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

Working in the bush somewhere—study’n botany maybe?

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Hmmmmmmm, grow your own veggies.

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

Grow my own veggies with more success this year than last year.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

Harlequin gecko because we know so little about them.

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

Just spend a bit of time in the bush and at our huts, then see how you feel. It might make you think twice about priorities in life.

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 Sourcing Coordinator Hayden Mischefski.

Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world

At work…

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I help the department to achieve the best possible value for money from its supplier relationships, while providing fit-for-purpose, sustainable goods and services.

What is the best part about your job?

Working in DOC’s National Office. It’s an amazing space with a wonderful design. I hope it sets an example, so that the Wellington of the future develops more green buildings based on harmony with the natural environment.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Not sure, I am new here.

What led you to your role in DOC?

Hayden with son Theo

I want my son to enjoy the same experiences I enjoyed as a child, and I have come to view conservation as a right for all New Zealanders. My best memories are doing things like sailing, hiking, camping and fishing. I will never forget skiing down from the summit of Mount Ruapehu!

Also, in my working life I have come to notice the large amount of waste that businesses produce, so I wanted to apply my procurement skills in an area that provided value at both a national and a community level.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Starting at the Department of Conservation.

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. My son Theo. We knew it would be an auspicious day: he was born in the middle of both a snow and lightening storm in Masterton.
  2. My wife Amelia.
  3. My registered charitable trust. I started a charity called the KORU trust, also known as the Khmer Orphans Charitable Trust. It aims to help orphans and street children in The Kingdom of Cambodia. I started the trust after returning home from Cambodia. I was inextricably moved by the trip, people and places.

Three pet peeves

  1. Traffic (I catch the train these days).
  2. When the power bill arrives.
  3. When the cats bring in mice.

Three foods

Deep fried tarantulas – tasty!

Anything Asian. I really love curries, rice noodle soups and sushi.

My best memory is being in Vietnam having a bowl of pho from a street side stall in Chau Doc. I also once tried an ant larvae curry and deep fried tarantulas in Cambodia!

I really enjoy cooking shows like Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam and My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuravita. Both shows really highlight amazing seafood dishes packed with flavour.

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. The Tongariro National Park. This is where I learnt to ski and where I caught my first trout with my Dad. I really love the mountains and I have climbed up Mount Raupehu on a number of occasions. Also the Tongariro Crossing is the best day hike in New Zealand.
  2. The Abel Tasman National Park. This is an area of truly remarkable natural beauty.
  3. The Wairarapa. It’s home.

    The amazing Tongariro Crossing

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: Inception. A dream within a dream. I really liked the idea of people collectively sharing the same dream space. The film had so many genres—it’s part heist film and part film noir.
  2. Album: Anything by Jeff Martin’s band “The Tea Party”. They fuse eastern instruments with western rock riffs to create what Rolling Stone magazine called “Moroccan Roll”. Their album “The Edges of Twilight” used over 32 instruments to record the songs. It features exotic instruments like ouds, sitars, sarods and tabla drums to name a few. Their 1997 album merged this style again with electronica to produce an incredibly annihilating album called Transmission; it’s all or nothing in its approach.
  3. Book: If textbooks count then I would recommend “Real Estate Finance and Investments”. I am currently finishing my business degree by correspondence with Massey University. The degree major is in property valuation and property management.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

  • Stop wasting money on cars.
  • Long hair was never a good look.
  • Flannel shirts are not “grunge”; they just make you look like a lumberjack.

Who or what inspires you and why?

I am really inspired by people who overcome great odds, or who have started with nothing and through their own independence and efforts have created something meaningful from nothing. So in that respect entrepreneurs, explorers and philanthropists inspire me.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Not sure, however, I do remember seeing James Bond movies with my Dad, and thinking the life of a secret agent would be great: action, adventure and travel.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

These days I have my eyes set on philanthropy work. I would like to travel abroad doing charity work like building houses, teaching and helping to tackle poverty with food and water sustainability projects.

Walking Charlie the dog at Castle Point

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Everyone should try to grow us much of their own food as possible. I really enjoy having the space to grow my own fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. It sounds like River Cottage really; it provides a great sense of achievement.

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

At home the potential is unlimited. I would like to install solar hot water and start a small scale hobby farm (Jamie Oliver would love my back section!). I have the room for chickens and sheep. I would also like to rain harvest and insulate the house to reduce energy demands.

At work, I desperately need one of those ‘keep-cups’, because I am a coffee fiend I need to watch out for creating waste with those nasty disposal takeaway cups.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

I would be a morepork (ruru) because they are nocturnal, and I am more a night person. They have amazing stealth too, which is a worthy skill when they go hunting.

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

I would probably answer this by reflecting on messages the Dalai Lama has spoken about before. The earth is not only the common heritage of all humankind but also the ultimate source of life. By over-exploiting its resources we are undermining the very basis of our own life.

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 Deputy Director-General Business Services Group, Grant Baker.

Me on the Tongariro Crossing with the Emerald lakes in the background

At work…

Name: Grant Baker.

Position:Deputy Director-General, Business Services Group (BSG).

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I provide leadership and guidance to my managers to ensure that BSG provides the high level of support and service required for DOC to meet its obligations. This includes ensuring we have the funding to continue to balance our budgets now and in the future and that all our systems operate and are supported so that staff can do their work.

I support Al is his role as Director-General, and my Deputy Director-General colleagues in their work, and make sure that work is fun and enjoyable—not always the easiest thing to do.

What is the best part about your job?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata; you, our people, are extremely good at what you do. And visiting people and places across DOC, which is a key part of my job. 

What is the hardest part about your job?

Going into bat for conservation with central agencies and convincing them of the benefit that conservation makes to the economy and to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

What led you to your role in DOC?

My first career was in broadcasting engineering as a radio technician at 2ZW Wanganui, and then into management at an early age in Radio and Television engineering. In the late 1990s, after 27 years in broadcasting, it was time to try something new, and the opportunity arose to join DOC as one of the three Regional General Managers as part of the re-structuring of DOC post Cave Creek. One could say I haven’t looked back since. 

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

It’s always great to get to the end of another (financial) year, have the new Statement of Intent signed off by Cabinet and in place, know that we have come in within last year’s budget, have balanced the budget for the years ahead, and have delivered on all of our work in the year just completed. 

On the Abel Tasman track near Torrent Bay

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Family. I’m married to Margaret, with four sons and four grandchildren around the world.
  2. Playing cricket and golf. I’ve played cricket in most of the playing continents of the world—New Zealand, Australia, Africa, North America, South America, Great Britain, West Indies and Sri Lanka (and as a result, have also played golf in those places).
  3. Travel—to spectacular places around the world, whether it’s for visiting family, going to international vintage cricket tournaments or just sheer enjoyment.

Three pet peeves

  1. Having nothing to do—I can’t just sit down and do nothing.
  2. People who litter.
  3. People who are inconsiderate of others. 

Three foods

  1. Whitebait fritters and oysters.
  2. Any hot meat and three veg.
  3. Apple pie and ice cream. 

White Island and Anchor Island

Three favourite places in New Zealand

In DOC you get to travel to some amazing places which makes this question hard to answer.

So, in my case these are three spectacular places I have been privileged to visit with DOC rather than spectacular golf holes or cricket grounds… and it still means I have to leave out many amazing places…..

Dusky Sound

    1. White Island—what an amazing landscape, very active volcanic area, and hard to image how tough life would have been living and working out there.
    2. Anchor Island/Dusky Sound—on a clear night the sky is teeming with stars and with no interference the scene is brilliant. No wonder Captain Cook came back twice to star gaze. 
    3. Tane Mahuta—there is something about standing in front of a kauri that has been growing for over a thousand years and still survives. Gives you that feeling of eternal life.

Tane Mahuta

Favourite movie, album, book

  • Movie: The Life of Brian or any of the Monty Python movies, they are all a great laugh….
  • Album: The Beatles – White Album – their ninth album and the first one under the Apple Label.
  • Book: The 39 Steps – John Buchan. One of the early thrillers.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

You only live once, make the most of your life and enjoy every step of the journey.

Who or what inspires you and why?

In my youth I was inspired by Murray Halberg, a person who quietly went about his business of running and inspired many with his Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medals and world records. He was New Zealand’s first sub four minute miler and in later life he set up the Halberg Trust which supports children with disabilities.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I left school not really knowing what I wanted to be… and just started work. The career advice from college was along the lines of accountancy or maybe being a secret agent. Hence radio seemed a better idea.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

A professional golfer, but of course a good one that doesn’t get the putting yips…

All ready to go into bat – Golden Oldies Tournament Queenstown 2008

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Having just built a sustainable home and getting both the health and cost benefits, I’m even more convinced that anyone building a new home must include sustainable features—the benefits are so good that its a no brainer. But New Zealanders get trapped by not wanting to spend the very small amount extra at the start and as a result miss out.

Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?

To ensure that everyone understands that what goes down the gutter, at home or in the street, flows into our streams and harbours.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

There’s plenty to choose from, maybe a weta or a New Zealand Falcon. But I’ve selected the tuatara; they, like me, have been around a long time, in theory with strong knowledge and experience—survivors.

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

New Zealand’s economy relies on conservation in its many guises; all of us have a part to play to ensure that our living space is kept in the best possible condition for our grandchildren.