Pauline and Jim Moore of Wellington are volunteer wardens at Anaura Bay campsite. We talked to them about why they return to this popular holiday hot-spot every year and why they volunteer for DOC.Continue Reading...
Archives For Department of Conservation
As part of the Conservation Awards this year, DOC Otago decided to celebrate two major milestones. One – the Department of Conservation turns 25 years old. Two – the amazing contribution the public has made (and is making) to conservation.
We were so inspired by these achievements that we decided to share with them with the rest of the country – the world even! To this end we got documentary filmmaker Claudia Babirat to produce two short videos for the big screen. This is what she has to say:
Ever since I was a little girl, DOC has been like a hero to me. The rangers did amazing things like save wildlife from the brink of extinction, controlled nasty predators, worked as archaeologists. I had a secret dream that one day I too would work for DOC. But wildlife filmmaking and science writing was always my number one passion.
That’s why, when DOC asked me if I wanted to make a couple of films about conservation in Otago (my home province), I jumped at the chance
The first film celebrates the fact that DOC turns 25 years old this year.
One of the things that really impressed me was just how many of the original rangers (i.e. from the establishment in 1987) are still around. They’ve dedicated their lives to conservation, and I think that’s pretty inspirational.
The other thing that struck me was how much of what we take for granted these days, has been the result of DOC’s hard work. For example, popular attractions like the Otago Central Rail Trail, which brings in an estimated $12 million to the province’s communities each year, was actually strongly opposed when its formation was first suggested! We now have conservation parks dedicated to tussock grasslands (as opposed to just forests). Several new species of rare galaxiids (a type of freshwater fish, which includes whitebait) in Otago were discovered as recently as the 1990s. The list goes on.
The second film recognises the fact that it hasn’t just been DOC that has contributed to all of these amazing achievements. In fact, many of them wouldn’t have been possible without the help and dedication of a whole range of people, including passionate individuals and volunteers, community groups, trusts, iwi, local authorities, landowners, and businesses. Each contribute in their own unique way – from fencing off their creek banks to help protect spawning sites for giant kokopu (one of those freshwater galaxiids I mentioned), to building and maintaining predator-proof sanctuaries, to providing sponsorship for long-term protection of precious wildlife such as the jewelled gecko and the takahe.
Producing the second film gave me a lot of hope for New Zealand’s future There are so many people out there who are passionate about conservation in New Zealand, and we can all make a difference.
In fact, I was so inspired that I made my child-hood dream a reality. I now work for DOC Otago as Community Outreach Coordinator – a brand new position aimed at helping more communities take part in conservation and enjoy all the things that make New Zealand the beautiful place it is.
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.
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.
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.
The rule of three…
- Family. I’m married to Margaret, with four sons and four grandchildren around the world.
- 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).
- 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
- Having nothing to do—I can’t just sit down and do nothing.
- People who litter.
- People who are inconsiderate of others.
- Whitebait fritters and oysters.
- Any hot meat and three veg.
- Apple pie and ice cream.
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…..
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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…
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.