Archives For DOC jobs

The Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust has recognised ranger Jamie Quirk’s dedication to conservation by naming Motu’s newest kiwi after him.

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Come behind the scenes and into the jobs and personalities of the people who work at DOC. Today we profile Wildlife Vet Kate McInnes.

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Enjoy the personal experiences and insights of DOC staff working to protect kiwi…

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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 Carolyn Hawe, Training Analyst, Wellington.

Carolyn and her support crew after the Coast to Coast race.

Coast to Coast with my support crew

At work

Some things I do in my job: I am developing training for an upgrade to the software on the dataloggers that the rangers use in the field. I recently surveyed a number of rangers and Area Asset Planners on their current datalogger use and how they would like the training to take shape.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by… when the rangers record their work on the datalogger we have an accurate record of the work that is carried out and can assure the government and the public that the visitor assets are maintained to a good condition and provide safe recreation experiences.

The best bit about my job is… definitely the people that I get to work with. They are so open and committed and keen to co-operate to achieve the best outcomes .

The loveliest DOC moment I’ve had so far… I am very new to the organisation, so as part of getting to know DOC I had the opportunity to spend a day with Moira Lee and Tony Whittle in Opotoki. These rangers were so keen to show me their local reserves and were so willing to share their knowledge with me.

The DOC employee that inspires or enthuses me the most is… Lisa Whittle, the Capability Development Manager. She inspires me in the way she works with others. She is so enthusiastic about the work that she does and is determined that any training we do meets the need of the target group. She loves meeting and visiting staff from outside National Office and her passion always shows through in the questions she asks.

Carolyn with dog Henryk on PekaPeka beach.

Me with my little dog Henryk at PekaPeka beach

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that… when I was teaching at UCOL I had the pleasure of accompanying the ecology teacher Dave Havell (now working at DOC) on field trips, doing bird counts, identifying trees and spotting bats in Pureora Forest. I also got to teach a paper on outdoor recreation philosophy – probably one of my all time favourite teaching experiences!

My stomping ground is… Hemi Matenga Reserve as I live less than 100 metres from the track start. My little border terrier absolutely loves a romp to the top and back and it keeps my fitness up too!

My best ever holiday was… six weeks in South America spent mostly in Bolivia. We had clear blue skies almost every day and the temperature varied from -20C at night to +20 during the day. The landscape was incredible – coloured lakes – red and yellow framed by mountains covered in snow and flamingos feeding around the edges. The altitude has an effect on everything – we flew over the Andes in a 10 seater plane and the pilot had to loop around to get enough height to get over. He also leaned over to ask me if I wanted some oxygen! Bolivia on the other side of the Andes has thick jungle and tributary rivers that run into the Amazon – recently flooded and red in colour when we travelled upstream to an eco lodge. We also cycled down the world’s most dangerous road – 64km downhill starting in snow and dropping 3600m in altitude to the jungle! We even met the human traffic light – a guy who lives on the road after losing his family down the incredibly steep cliff.

My greatest sporting moments were… completing my first Coast to Coast in 2006; and getting to the quarter finals of the NZ Golf Champs only to be beaten by a young Korean girl who now plays on the LPGA tour.

Before working at DOC I… Worked for a small company doing instructional design and recently developed a sustainability course for school students which made me so much more aware of the impacts that humans have on our environment.

Carolyn racing along Rangitikei River.

Rangitikei River race

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… to be yourself and follow your passion.

In work and life I am motivated by… working for others, to provide them with something better than what they had imagined or to set a good example for others to follow.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… get out and enjoy our special land and when you feel the love then you will want to do your little bit to preserve it!

Carolyn on the La Paz to Coroico road and a photo of Sajama mountain.

Worlds most dangerous road – La Paz to Coroico, Bolivia (left) Sajama, the highest mountain in Bolivia (right)

Question of the week…

What NZ bird most reflects you and why? I think a pukeko. I can be quiet and shy at times but when my confidence is up I can be quite noisy. I am also quite inquisitive too, I often explore tracks or roads that I haven’t been on and try new activities to keep life interesting.

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.

Every Friday Jobs at DOC takes 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 DOC Visitor Centre/i-Site Ranger Ivy Willmott.

A good day at work

Name: Ivy Willmott.

Position: Ranger, DOC Visitor Centre/i-SITE. 

At work…


What kind of things do you do in your role?

Being one of the front line laydees of goodness and joy at the Franz Josef Visitor Center and i-SITE, I answer phones, radios and lots and lots of questions every day. I chat about everything from the weather, DOC projects, campsites, tramping, day hikes, Great Walks, hunting, fishing, the glaciers, travel, New Zealand, Franz, Fox, eating, drinking, jumping out of planes, riding horses… the list is endless!

We are constantly learning—thank goodness for the awesome DOC website with the answers to nearly any DOC-related question.

I help book people onto whatever activity they want to do, find and book accommodation all over New Zealand, sort out travel plans… basically help folks have the best holiday/trip possible. I LOVE IT!!!


What is the best part about your job?

Helping people smile and enjoy their day and remove the stress that many folks seem to find on holiday! Crazy Moogs!

Every day is a happy day!

Watching the wave of relief wash over folks as bookings are made, travel plans are sorted, and watching the good holiday juju work it’s way back onto their faces as they trot off to enjoy this beautiful country.

Followed swiftly by getting to sample all the amazing activities on offer in the area in the name of research… Yeeaaaaaooooooow! AWESOME! You gotta know it to sell it!

Franz Josef Glacier hike


What is the hardest part about your job?

Trying to convince people you have no control over the West Coast weather. Rude people, impatient people, and trying to keep the ability to smile over it all. Not being able to wear bright colours! Ha, nah, it’s all sweet… not much to not be happy about here!


What led you to your role in DOC?

I’m originally from Scotland with a career as a Theatre Stage Manager. Nine years of fun and mischief worldwide led me to New Zealand, where I have been for eight years. Working with environmental community groups in the resource recovery field for the last three years, but having a yearning for the West Coast, led me to Franz Josef.

As well as having a good crew of mates that worked within the department, but mostly the awesome Kiwi team here on the coast and their enthusiasm for their work. The opportunity arose to join the wonderful Visitor Centre/i-SITE team and here I am… BooOm!!!

Quadbiking in Nelson, Happy Valley


What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Well, research this month was pretty spectacular. Going on two glacier heli trips was pretty amazing, hmmmmm, so was horse trekking on a crispy sunny spotless winter morning with breathtaking views over Mount Elie De Beaumont….

But what did take the biscuit was my first Area day. Getting to put faces to the names and voices I deal with daily. Getting to see what all the different groups have been up to for the past year. Awesome jobs all round, and that’s just our Area!

The rule of 3…

3 loves

  1. My dog Munter.
  2. Having dreams and ambitions and having them coming true.
  3. Good recyclers. 


3 pet peeves

  1. Litter on the roadside… actually litter anywhere it shouldn’t be.
  2. Rude people.
  3. Lateness.

3 foods

  1. Pizza.
  2. Rock and roll chick pea gravy and mash (recipe available on request!).
  3. Roast chicken and veg cooked in the camp oven on the beach at sunset!

3 favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Any of the wonderful South Island West Coast beaches…. The salty wind on your face, the sound of crashing waves, sunset, wine and good friends—heaven.
  2. The summit of Treble Cone after a big snow dump, bluebird day, good friends, chocolate and mulled wine. The snowy mountains and Lake Wanaka feeding the soul.
  3. I have to say, sitting up at Almer Hut having a picnic with the laydees on Boxing Day, looking down the Franz Josef Glacier and out to the Tasman sea was ridiculously special! 

Hmmmmm I feel a theme… nature, fine food, fine wine, and fine friends, and I’m a happy gal.

Snowboarding up Treble Cone summit


Favourite movie, album, book

  • Movie: Oooh a toss up between Big Fish and Cinema Paradiso.
  • Album: The Band – The Band.
  • Book: The Power of One.
     

Deep and meaningful…


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

I would love to think sense has got the better of me and I would say ‘Do something that will make you money’. Ha, but nope, I think it would be ‘Follow your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it, but maybe learn a skill like welding, or cheffing or hairdressing to help you out of those tight financial spots!’ Hmmmm…. also, ‘Don’t leave it until your mid 30s to try Brandy Alexander’s!’

Me and my juggling clubs


Who or what inspires you and why?

My mum…. Not only did she teach me the joys of self sufficiency, she always taught me to follow my heart; that no dream is too big, and it’s never too late to change. Always do what makes you happy. She definitely taught me to keep my cup half full.


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

A Stage Manager… from as soon as I knew that was actually a job!


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

A bread baking, veggie growing, cheese making, goat milking, fine feast making mum.


What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Less is more! Reduce and reuse before you recycle, and if you have to buy something, buy a good make—more expensive, but will last a lot longer than most of the plastic nonsense about these days.

Picnic lunch up Almer Hut

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

I definitely want to get my veg patch cranking! I finally have a garden space to do this. Wooohooo….


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

Definitely a kereru. So plump and happy, hanging out getting drunk on rata berries all day, trying to fly my plump self about, and such beautiful colours!

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

Reduce, reuse then recycle. Stop driving when you don’t have to… and when you recycle…WASH and SQUASH!!!

Every Monday Jobs at DOC takes 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.

This week we meet Senior Technical Support Officer – Concessions, Briony Dyson.

Being a Christmas fairy for Nelson's DOC Christmas party

At work…


Name
Briony Dyson.

Position
Senior Technical Support Officer – Concessions (National Office).

What kind of things do you do in your role?
Improvement and support for concession processing and management systems.

Concessions Review implementation; Limited Supply Concessions and Allocation; Concessions Standard Operating Procedures; Conforming Activities; designing and maintaining the Concessions internet and intranet pages; and liaison with the tourism industry, NGOs and Government stakeholders.

Oh, and I play the Christmas Fairy—any excuse to don sparkly wings and pink fluffy head gear! 

What is the best part about your job?
Helping to make operations staff’s lives easier by providing advice and improving systems—although some may debate that!

Out of the office at Abel Tasman

What led you to your role in DOC?
I did a degree in zoology and geography at Canterbury University with a view to working in conservation, but had no idea what kind of work. I came back from my OE in 1991 when the labour market was tight and you couldn’t get a job without experience.

So, I volunteered for DOC in the Wanganui Conservancy Office (no ‘h’ back then) in the ‘Advocacy’  team for seven months. They hired me under Taskforce Green for another nine months and then I landed a permanent job as the Management Planner in Auckland for three and a half years. Then it was ten years in sunny Nelson, and the last five in National Office.

What was the highlight of your month just gone?
Catching up with all my old management planning colleagues at a recent national Conservation Management Strategies workshop.

Outside of work it was going to Eddie Izzard live—hilarious! Cake or death? 

The rule of 3…

3 loves
Felines of any species.
Hot summers on the beach.
Riding motorbikes.

With my beloved fur-children Max (Birman) and Mr Pants (Burmese)

3 pet peeves
Wellington weather.
When they don’t have my size on sale.
Small children. 

3 things always in your fridge
Avocado. 
French toast with bacon and banana.
Fermented white grapes.

3 favourite places in New Zealand
Abel Tasman beaches.
Lambretta’s Cafe in Nelson.
Iko Iko design store in Wellington.

Favourite movie, album, book
Movie: Fight Club—utterly brilliant!
Album: I have a wide range of ‘favourite’ albums, but I’m playing Op Shop’s Until the End of Time a lot at the moment.
Book: Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy—aimed at younger readers but I just love them to bits.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
Don’t do it!!! Actually I’d tell her life is short and it’s far better to regret something you have done than to regret never having done something.

My cheetah encounter at Wellington Zoo

Who or what inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by individuals with a strong sense of purpose and adventure who love what they do and do it with all their heart. People like them achieve great things in the world and I’d love to be like that. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have never been sure what I wanted to be when I grew up and still don’t! I’m not entirely sure I want to grow up anyway…

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?
Well, I’m taking voluntary redundancy so now I’ll have the chance to find out! I would love to be a neuroscientist, but I’m not sure that’s very likely at this point. Maybe I’ll just be a fairy… 

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?
Well, since we don’t have tigers, I’d be a dusky dolphin. I would love to speed through the water, jumping and playing carefree in the beautiful Sounds with all of my friends. 

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation? 
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” — Chief Seattle, 1855. 

My fairy fortieth birthday with my fairy brother Matt