Archives For design

A fresh look at the humble backcountry hut by Year 12 students at Rangiora High School has brought forward all kinds of new ideas and concepts for consideration.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley

Throughout 2013 DOC Ranger, Jeff Dalley, has been working with visual communications and design students in Rangiora to design a new hut for the St James Cycle Trail, a 64 kilometre track through stunning scenery of mountain peaks, crystal clear rivers, high-country lakes, alpine meadows, sub-alpine beech forest, and expansive grassy river flats.

A prescriptive Standard Operating Procedure for hut design in the backcountry means new ideas and designs are rarely considered, but the project at Rangiora High School was a great way to think of new and creative approaches to building these shelters.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing

The idea was the brainchild of teacher, Carey Prebble, who contacted DOC. Fortuitously a new hut was being considered and DOC staff were keen to collaborate.

The students were given a very specific and comprehensive design brief which would have been exactly what would have been provided to any architect.

The hut design, for 12 people and their bikes, and had to cater to various constraints, including cost, materials, weight and construction complexity.

A final hut design poster.

One student’s final hut design poster

Many of the students had fond memories of staying in DOC huts and wanted to ensure their designs would be attractive and comfortable for future visitors.

DOC staff were impressed with the students’ work, they were truly creative and many of the innovations designed by the students could be immediately incorporated in any final design.

Every Friday Jobs at DOC will take you behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation.

Today we profile Bronwyn Aalders, Team Lead Graphic Design…

Living in Canada for a few years made for many breathtaking moments

At work…

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I head up the design team that provides design and layout services for any DOC office around the country. We design a huge variety of different products including brochures, posters, banners, advertisements, interp, stickers… the list goes on! My job is to ensure DOC’s identity is strong, consistent, and recognisable. We also provide support and advice to staff.

The journey back home from Canada took me through Thailand where air conditioning isn’t really necessary when on the road

What is the best part about your job?

Working with all the wonderful imagery from around the country and actually being able to use the products we design when out and about. It’s also great working with so many people who are situated in stunning areas around the country. I always like to visualise the view from their window (compared with mine).

What is the hardest part about your job?

Aoraki/Mount Cook: I was a tourist in New Zealand when this photo was taken. Now I live here, which is heaps better!

Probably the pace of working across such a large variety of work and jumping between jobs in a split second.

What led you to your role in DOC?

A love of wildlife and the environment, and a need to produce meaningful design. Also, the lure of mountains across the Tasman.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Moving into the role of team lead within such a short space of time. Thrilled!

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Putting up a tent and not seeing a soul in any direction
  2. My 1969 baby blue Datsun 1600
  3. Seeing mountains from my window—very different to inner city Sydney

A favourite pastime during my last four years in Sydney was rock-climbing. This is in the Blue Mountains looking down over the aptly named ‘Megalong Valley’

Three pet peeves

  1. Animal mistreatment
  2. People mocking my love for Australian marsupials
  3. Aggressive drivers when cycling

Three foods

  1. Pad grapow gai sup
  2. A good, authentic, tart lemon tart
  3. My gran’s blow-your-head-off Malay curry

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Wellington
  2. Makara (still Wellington)
  3. Wanaka

Snowboarding at Treble Cone—the board has just come out for a dusting in preparation for this season

I haven’t lived here long enough yet but hope to extend this list a lot further soon!

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: Lost in Translation
  2. Album: Paul’s Boutique, Beastie Boys
  3. Book: Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon

Deep and meaningful…

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

Get that zoology degree!

Who or what inspires you and why?

My dad and his stories of growing up in and around the Malay jungle—complete with tiger sightings, snakes on top of the fridge, and pet baby elephants.

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

A stint of fieldwork last year put me up close and personal with the beautiful fairy wren. I worked as a field assistant right around Australia studying about 10 different wren species. This is a male red-backed fairy wren up in Cairns, temp: about 40 degrees

An architect, but graphic design isn’t too far removed so didn’t do too badly there.

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

A zoologist (so probably working for DOC).

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Rethink the ‘send to print’ button.

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

Cycle to work every day, not just every second day.

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

Hmm I guess an albatross would be kind of cool.

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

New Zealanders have a fresh start. They live in the newest place on Earth. Start as you mean to go on.

By Siobhan File

As part of the DOC’s 25th anniversary celebrations, I asked around to see what posters DOC staff had tucked away from yester-years. Check them out and vote for your favourite…

Knowledge on these posters is limited, so if you have any information about these, or any gems of your own hidden away, I’d love to hear from you!


Care for your country – 1973

This is by the famous Wellington cartoonist Nevile Lodge who must have been specially commissioned to do this poster.

Care for your country

Conservation is all year – 1976

This is a favourite for many. It was designed by Howard Campbell and was the winning entry in a competition sponsored by Todd Group and WWF.


Save us a place to live – 1979

This lovely poster was created by Don Binney, produced for the National Conservation Week Campaign Committee, with assistance from the L.D Nathan Group of Companies.


Nature’s place in town – 1981

And we move into the eighties… A Conservation New Zealand poster; simple, and to the point.


Reflect your concern. Plant a tree – 1981

It’s Conservation Week, but this guy doesn’t look too happy about it. Nice inclusion of Arbor Day messaging though.


The alpine world

This poster was developed at Mount Cook in the mid 1980s in conjunction with the publication of an A4 book The Alpine World of Mount Cook National Park.

A similar poster was printed for Tongariro National Park, but the concept didn’t get used for a wider national message.

Len Cobb from Cobb/Horwood, who did many of the National Park A5 handbooks, did the production.


Tread gently on the ice

This poster was produced by DOC staff member Harry Keys when he worked at the Commission for the Environment (CFE) in the mid 80s. CFE had become part of the government’s delegation at meetings of the Antarctic Treaty parties which, at the time, were dominated by the question of how to assess proposals for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and development in the Antarctic region. It was widely displayed in post offices throughout New Zealand.

Tread gently on the ice


People need plants

It’s true. A lovely landscape produced by the Post Office Savings Bank for Conservation New Zealand.


Shelter from the storm

The wild and uncompromising nature of New Zealand has given rise to a unique diversity of shelters and huts scattered throughout our back country. This collection of images was put together by the Federated Mountain Club, supported by the Hillary Commission.

Shelter from the storm


New Zealand’s Forest Parks

Something for everyone! Contact your nearest Forest Services office for a wide range of experiences and recreational activities.


Community forests and woodlands

Produced in 1985 for International Year of the Forest.


Conservation Week 2009

This poster was designed by Saatchi & Saatchi – a snapshot of the future!


Conservation Week 2009

Get involved in conservation and who knows… a clever campaign that conjures a whole heap of ‘what if’ thoughts.

Conservation Week 2009 – 2


What’s your favourite?

So, what is your favourite poster? Vote in our poll (below). Any memories around these? If you have info to add about any of these posters, comment below and we’ll add it to the descriptions. If you have copies of your own posters that you’d like to share, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

The history of Conservation Week posters

In the early seventies, Conservation Week came under the umbrella of the Nature Conservation Council, with other agencies and organisations represented on a Conservation Week committee. Each year, with sponsorship, it produced a promotional poster and a themed teaching poster with teachers’ notes.

In a first for DOC, we are currently holding an exhibition in the foyer of Conservation House: Surplus & Creativity. This is an exhibition of design/art installation, recycle-wear, different ways of using familiar items, and all including a healthy dose of kiwi ingenuity.

Surplus & Creativity. All photos by Sam O'Leary.

Everything in the exhibition has been re-created by University staff, Masters students from the Institute of Design for Industry and Environment at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, and Industry associates from AFFECT, the Centre for Affective Design Research at Massey University  The thing that sets this exhibition apart from others, is that everything is made from surplus materials – Everything here has effectively been recycled.

There is a range of works on show, from hot-water-bottle/watering cans to a computer/chicken coop, to a beanbag-bench made from a sack and a saw-horse. The students brief was to: Recontextualise surplus or discarded objects and things to produce a new vision of use, understanding or comment.

The exhibition is a snug fit at Conservation House. The building here has many recycled aspects to it, from the black floor tiles on the staircase (recycled tractor tyres), to the green partitions which separate our level 4 conference room and cafe (recycled milk bottles). As Rodney Adank (one of the organisers) put it, “Conservation House is a great place for this exhibition, this building itself has recently been recontextualised with the new and the old, and this is obviously reflected in the works on show here, it seems like corporate design is all about ‘designing landfill’ these days and we want to show, that it doesn’t need to be like that”

The foyer at Conservation House, viewed from the 4th floor landing.

Staff at National Office have been seeing Surplus & Creativity every day at work, and here’s what they and the organisers have had to say about it:

“It’s a wonderful use of public space, and I hope we follow it up with further exhibitions. It would be a real plus if it inspires us to exercise our own creativity on the first, second and third floors!” Al Morrison – Director General, DOC

“Design and the Readymade is a great strategy for engaging new ideas and concepts, because it forces the viewer to re-think what they had previously understood to be an interruption of an object or product. It makes us reconsider our interruptions.” Rodney Adank, Acting Director at AFFECT

“This is brilliant!. It’s a space that is generally empty-ish, and good for DOC to be attracting visitors and lifting staff  in an innovative way yet linked to conservation/sustainability . I assume it is supporting the art community as well. Make it regular!!” – Allan Ross – Manager, Ecosystem and Species Unit, DOC

“Could we put a sandwich board on the pavement advertising this and other exhibits? It seems to me that it would be a wonderful opportunity to increase walk-ins..” Louise Hoather – Social Science Advisor, DOC

Conservation House is located on Manners Street in Wellington, across the road from Subway and the ASB Bank (map below the gallery). Come on in and take a gander if you’re in the locale, it might spark some ideas!

Map: