Archives For DOC jobs

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…

Briony Dyson.

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
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

Every Monday 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.

This week Gary Coles’ colleagues provide us with his Jobs at DOC story, with a few quotes from the man himself.  Gary turned 60 on Sunday 16 October. So Gaz, we salute you!

Name: Gary Coles (or Gaz to us).

Just starting out, New Zealand Forest Service 1970’s

Job title and location:

Ranger – Asset and Historic, Maniapoto Area Office, friend to all creatures great and small (that aren’t pests), and all-round good guy. 

Describe his role:

It all started a long, long time ago…

Back in 1970, when many of us were being born, Garry attended the Golden Downs training school run by the New Zealand Forest Service. After graduating, Gary went on to assist with cutting and forming the Heaphy and Whangapeka tracks. After stints in the Ashley and Balmoral Forests in North Canterbury, Gary headed north to Pureora Forest Park in 1986 to carry out animal pest control. Upon the amalgamation of the NZFS, NZWLS and Lands and Surveys in 1987, Gary started his career with the Department in Te Kuiti, and the rest is history…

So, what makes him so special?

Pest control in Pureora

Gary’s a bit of an icon around these parts—a quiet chap with an encyclopaedic knowledge of local and historic information. In fact, one of the most frequently used sayings around the office is “Dunno, ask Gaz.”

Time in the field with Gary is an important part of any new recruit’s induction. We know they’ve been well tutored about all things technical, geographical and historical by the time they are returned!

And at the end of each working day, Gaz always calls by the office for a quick yarn and a laugh, before heading off home to fix some kind of machine or tend to his native plant nursery in the back shed.

What kind of work does he specialise in?

You could say that Gary is an honorary Master (track) Builder. Pretty much all of the tracks around our area have been worked on by Gaz at some stage. Also, he’s a superb lawn mower!

What does he always take with him when he’s out in the field?

Did someone say there were sardines?

“A good lunch (including sardines), tea bags and a thermos, a good first aid kit for the guests and I never leave home without today’s newspaper!”

What’s one of his funniest moments at work?

Gaz has had many, but the funniest one we heard (and a general testament to Gary’s uncanny compassion toward nature) was when he was recently working at the Arohena campsite one dark and thunderous day…

After a busy morning cleaning the campsite and feeding his pet trout in a secluded inlet up stream of the local Anglers hut, Gaz took a moment of quiet contemplation to catch up with the latest on the Rugby World Cup in the new corrugated iron loo. While engrossed in an editorial by Andrew Mehrtons on the perils of Argentinean front row facial hair in the scrum, a bolt of lighting and a boom of thunder unleashed an earth shattering blast over head sending a nomadic family of pukekos racing into Gary’s stall for cover. Undeterred by the invasion of privacy, Gaz quietly pushed the door open with his foot (in case they needed to return) and carried on reading his paper. Eye witness accounts swear they saw a hint of smoke coming from the ablution block after the bang!

Dismantling the hut in Pureora (not the loo at Arohena…)

Tell us about his 15 minutes of fame

Aside from discovering the toe bones of a giant Moa on his family farm near Marton, Gaz recently took a group of fit, hardcore hunters half his age to do some maintenance work on the Waitomo Walkway to Ruakuri. By the end of the day, word got around that he’d not only out-worked these blokes, but had also out-walked them back to the car park, confirming his legendary status to all the young’uns back at HQ in Te Kuiti.

What few words of wisdom would he like to pass onto all those young’uns just starting out?

“If it’s hard at the start, it generally gets easier over time…”

What does he like to do when he’s not at work?

“Fossil hunting along the rugged west coast in my kayak with a mate, then restoring old machinery and a touch of gardening to finish.”

“It’ll be as good as gold in no time…” - Fisholeening at Pureora

Does he have a special skill/quirk/strange fact that people may not know about him?

Come on Gaz, everybody has one… Gary always eats sardines for lunch so we reckon that’s why he’s got such shiny hair!

What’s a book that he recommends all DOC staff should read?

Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan

“Tuwharetoa, by John Te H. Grace. It traces 600 years of events starting with their arrival in the Arawa canoe during the fourteenth century up to the present day. An amazing read! Complex battles, alliances, feuds and migrations which shaped the history of the tribe”.

Three loves

“Any kind of old machinery that needs restoring, then nature, nature and more nature! One of the best chapters in my life so far was the time I spent working on island sanctuaries, such as those in the Mercury Island Group”.

Three pet peeves

“Lazy people, lazy people who dump their rubbish around campsites and lazy people who dump their rubbish in our reserves.”

If there was a competition for best place in New Zealand where would get his vote?

Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park.

And if there was one native species that ruled them all, what would be his pick?

The female tunnel web spider! She’s beautiful. She’s big, she’s hairy and she’s one whole lot of female you don’t want to mess with…” 

And finally…

Thanks Gaz, for letting us share some of your more memorable moments with everyone. You’re one of those great DOC identities who really make a difference to the area you work in. So, from all the troops in Maniapoto, happy birthday mate!


Every Monday 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.

This week we meet Spatial Analyst, Richard Earl:

Skipper Ritch!

At work…

Richard Earl.

Research and Development Spatial Analyst.

What kind of things do you do in your role?  
I drive a Geographic Information System (GIS), which is basically a computer mapping system. I model ecosystems and species distributions based on their known locations, and I also examine what Natural Heritage work DOC does and where. 

Without good geographical information, DOC can’t necessarily make good decisions about where we put our effort, and with ever-lowering budgets, it’s crucial we put our effort (as efficiently as possible) into the most important places and species we have. Our work is in building that geographical information and helping to integrate it into national systems, and to analyse it and understand it. So, mostly it’s panning around in maps on the computer, manipulating the tables behind the spatial data that’s on the maps, setting the computer to run analyses, then producing maps and tables of information from those analyses to provide information to the people who need it. We turn data into information. 

Also, sometimes I’m allowed out of my cage and I get to go to some amazing places to actually collect data—in the form of counting birds and checking traps and tracking tunnels and looking for radio tracked birds, but that’s only a couple of weeks a year, if I’m lucky.


What is the best part about your job?
I get to pan around the country looking at all our best spots (from above), perform interesting (and often challenging) analysis, and when I can get it—field work, usually counting birds in Fiordland.

Ready to go

What is the hardest part about your job? 
That’s a tricky one. Because I enjoy my job so much nothing ever seems very hard, or it is hard, but I’m enjoying it, so… um… finding the time to get everything done? 

What led you to your role in DOC?
I’ve always had a conservation bent, reflected in my university studies (Geography and Ecology undergrad, Environmental Science Masters) and involvement in environment groups and Trees For Canterbury (a charitable trust here in Christchurch—“growing trees and growing people”).

What was your highlight from the month just gone?
Working out time-saving ways of getting certain processes done, thereby getting through what would have been laborious work a lot quicker.

The rule of 3…

3 loves
My family, mountain biking on sweet, sweet native forest single track, (actually, pretty much ANY single track), and gooood music (and good beer).

Cycling through mud!

3 pet peeves
Idiots on the roads who have no respect for cyclists, ArcGIS crashing for no apparent reason, and the waste of resources I’m seeing every day as Christchurch is dismantled house by house with diggers ripping into houses that are full of beautiful native timbers that should be salvaged and reused.

3 things always in your fridge
Cheese, including standard blocks, parmesan, and often stinky blue ones. Beer, but only certain beers should be in the fridge, most good ones should just be in the cupboard. Pesto and/or hummus. 

3 favourite places in New Zealand
So many, but… Banks Peninsula (in particular the few remaining forest remnants, the spectacular coastline, the family bach at Little Akaloa, and of course the beaches), Fiordland, Waitutu and Poteriteri in particular. Also, Takaka and its surrounds (especially the DOC houses at Totaranui and Collingwood) and the localities they allow access to.

Favourite movie, album, book
I cannot possibly narrow it to one of each, so…

Movie(s): Dead Man—pretty much all of Jim Jarmusch’s movies in fact, and the Coen Brothers’ too.
Album(s): They change every few months, but most recently Wooden Heart by Listener and Sit Down, Man by Das Racist. My favourite artists in general are Prefuse73, Joanna Newsom, Roots Manuva, Coco Rosie, Boards of Canada, Diplo, Grizzly Bear, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Ladi6 etc.
Book(s): It’s hard to narrow it to one book—most recently, my best read has to be It’s All About The Bike by Robert Penn. My favourite authors include Richard Brautigan, Iain M. Banks, Paul Theroux, Jared Diamond, Martin Amis, and I’m also an avid reader of graphic novels (yep, comics). My favourites includes The BPRD and Hellboy series, plus anything by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (two absolutely brilliant Brazilian brothers).

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
Don’t be such an idiot.

Overlooking Raupo

Who or what inspires you and why?
Uh oh, cheese alert 🙂 My Dad, because he’s just so damned knowledgeable in so many ways. My boys—their beautiful innocence inspires me to be a good person and to try my hardest to be a good role model to them. My partner Tracey, for being so amazing with our boys and for loving me. My workmates, each for their skills and knowledge that differ from mine. My boss Elaine, for just being so on to it, and John Leathwick who’s a bit of a guru in my profession (and I get to work with him!).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A farmer. 
And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?
Doing what I’m doing but not at DOC? Otherwise, a farmer, but not in the traditional sense…  I envisage a self-sufficient permaculture farmlet with a backdrop of bush and perhaps a little forestry, with an integrated mountain bike park (also crossing into neighbouring lands seasonally). I’d grow food and maintain and ride and guide the trails. People would come to ride and we’d feed them really good food and maybe have some accommodation… possibly a small brewery too, crafting beer made from local malts and home-grown hops. I’m allowed to dream, aren’t I?

A lunch break at Long Point

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?
Definitely a bird. Maybe kea or a kaka, or falcon, but I also love the passerines too. The parrots for their smarts and fun, the falcons for their sheer speed and skill in the air, all of them for the beauty of the environment they live in and their ability to get around that environment so effortlessly. 

It always makes me jealous when I’m tromping through the undergrowth getting nowhere and they’re just cruising around up there laughing at me. Then again, a Hector’s Dolphin would be pretty cool too, or a fur seal

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?
Get out and enjoy it, treat it kindly and with respect, help out, plant more natives, kill some pests, and actively integrate New Zealand biodiversity back into your gardens and cities.