Archives For Egmont

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 Kay Davies, Partnerships Ranger in Ngamotu/New Plymouth.

Kay Davies on the Kepler Track.

Getting familiar with the Kepler Track

At work

Some things I do in my job include:

I oversee the two Egmont National Park Visitor Centres (North Egmont and Dawson Falls). I also do tourism liaison, interpretation project management and have just taken on the health and safety coordinator role.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

DOC’s visitor centres as our second most important channel after the website have huge potential for engaging people in conservation and growing the vision.

The best bit about my job is:

The diversity. From track work in Westland National Park, to recreation planning on Great Barrier Island, to community relations in Hawke’s Bay and even to helping develop a Visitor Centre at Government House Wellington—and a subsequent handshake with royalty!

Kay Davies showing Prince Charles and Lady Camilla around the Government House Visitor Centre.

Showing Prince Charles and Lady Camilla around the newly completed Government House Visitor Centre

The strangest DOC moment I’ve had so far is:

I use to be responsible for the Great Barrier Island’s Claris airstrip. When it was wet, Great Barrier Airlines would ring me from Auckland in the morning (once the phone exchange opened) and get me to drive my work Land Rover down the runway to see if I got stuck or not. If I didn’t they’d fly over.

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

The Taranaki Visitor Centre team. They spend all day being cheerful and friendly with our visitors, (even the ones who want to climb Mount Taranaki with just an umbrella for protection!) and nothing is too much bother for them. Then to top off their day, they have to clean the toilets—all without complaint.

Heavy snow outside the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre.

Getting to work at the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre can have its challenges!

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that:

When I started my career at DOC I was one of only two females on the annual 12 person intake from Lincoln College’s (now University) Park Ranger course in 1981. Those were the days when interview questions included “do you get on well with blokes?” and “are you good with your hands?”.

Park Ranger intake class at Lincoln College in 1981.

Park Ranger intake, Lincoln College, 1981

The song that always cheers me up is:

“I could walk 500 miles” by The Proclaimers. For some reason it is synonymous with good times and lots of dancing at parties!

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:

Harry Potter. Oh to have an invisibility cloak and be able to teleport. In fact when I used to try to teleport often when I was little, to save long walks home from my friends’ places—needless to say I’m still trying to fine tune the technique!

My best ever holiday was:

Tramping between Norway and Sweden up in the far north. I’d read in a book somewhere that it was possible to do—so with that comprehensive trip planning done off we went! With a bit more local info we successfully navigated our way through two amazing national parks complete with reindeer, snow fields, ‘frozen feet’ river crossings, lakes and Samish summer villages.

Sorjoshytta in Norway.

Sorjoshytta in Norway, en route to Sweden via Padjelanta and Sarek National Parks

If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be:

The native shrub, mairehau—imagine smelling that nice all the time!

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”—Dr. Seuss

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

“Did anyone die? No? Then what’s the problem?” In other words—don’t sweat the small stuff. (Obviously if someone has died that’s another issue).

In work and life I am motivated by:

My family, nature, and Hadyn Jones’ Good Sorts on the Sunday night news. I reckon if you make it onto that you’ve made a difference in the world!

Kay Davies exploring the North Taranaki coastline with the family.

Exploring the North Taranaki coastline with the family

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

A few words from a song out of Jesus Christ Superstar:

“Think while you still have me
Move while you still see me
You’ll be lost
You’ll be so sorry
When I’m gone”

(In other words—take action now! Of course it pertains to Jesus in the song, but could equally apply to our natural environment don’t you think?)

Kay Davies at the Wellington Sevens dressed as a fairy.

The Wellington Sevens—I’m the pure white fairy of course

Question of the week…

You have to cut your energy usage by a third – what would you give up and what couldn’t/wouldn’t you want to live without?

Give up: the car—around town at least, lighting—back to candles, TV (except Coro St of course and maybe Sky Sport).
Keep: definitely the hot shower/bath—but if it’s solar even better, I might just need to shift from Taranaki.

Our photo of the week today features the impressive Mt Taranaki located in Egmont National Park.

Local Māori believe Mt Taranaki once stood with the mountains of the central North Island. After a dispute over the maiden Pihanga, Taranaki fled his ancestral home, carving out the bed of the Whanganui River on his journey to the coast

This photo was taken from the Pouakai Range north of the maunga/mountain.

Mount Taranaki in the Egmont National Park. Photo: Malcolm Peacey.

DOC is running a survey to get a better idea of what people like to do in Egmont National Park and what opportunities they would like to see within the park in the future. Tell us what you think and be in to win some great prizes. The survey runs until Friday 17th January.

Photo by Malcolm Peacey | CC BY-NC 2.0

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!