Archives For Haast

Today’s photo is of a Haast tokoeka kiwi, a shy, mountain-loving bird and one of our rarest kiwi species.

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My name is Sarah Nason and for the last 5 months I have spent my time wrangling kiwi birds in Haast as an intern for the DOC biodiversity team.

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Come behind the scenes and into the life of Haast based DOC ranger, Rose Hanley-Nickolls.

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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 Hannah Edmonds, Biodiversity Ranger in the Fiordland District Office.

At work

Some things I do in my job include…monitoring Haast tokoeka (kiwi) chicks on crèche islands, little spotted kiwi, mohua and saddleback translocations, monitoring Fiordland crested penguins, monitoring long and short tailed bats, and monitoring lizards on islands and in the alpine.

Releasing Haast tokoeka on Pomona Island. Photograph: Barry Harcourt

Releasing Haast tokoeka on Pomona Island with Blair Hoult

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by…ensuring the survival of wildlife and restoring ecosystems.

The best bit about my job is… visiting some amazing places, and working with challenging and endearing species.

The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is… oh so many awesome moments, it’s hard to choose one but flying over Fiordland in the fading light after dropping of little spotted kiwi to their new home on Chalky Island (who’ve been absent from Fiordland for 100 years) would have to be up there.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is…no one particular person. There are many of my colleagues that work above and beyond a normal working week, driven purely by passion.

Hannah climbing in the Sinbad Gully searching for Sinbad skinks.

Climbing in the Sinbad Gully searching for Sinbad skinks

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that I… hmmm, now why would I share a secret?

The song that always cheers me up is… “Sun is shining” by Bob Marley… guaranteed to make you smile and not get it out of your head, even if it is raining!

My stomping ground is… Fiordland’s wild places.

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… David Attenborough.

My best ever holiday was… probably trekking in India and Nepal.

If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be… a short-tailed bat – imagine being one of New Zealand’s only native land mammals, being able to fly at night and having plenty of attitude!

My secret indulgence is… Trademe!

If I wasn’t working at DOC, I’d like to…travel the world, be famous, own an island… not too much really!

Before working at DOC I… travelled the world, but never owned an island.

A Fiordland crested penguin with chick.

Fiordland crested penguin with chick on Breaksea Island a few weeks ago

On a kiwi note…

What would a New Zealand full of kiwi look like? Like a brown mass of fluffy feathers!

If you could give kiwi one super power, what would it be? Super size it so it becomes like a moa.

How can everyday New Zealanders help save the kiwi? Take part in predator control, do volunteer work with kiwi, or make donations to kiwi charities.

If you could ask a kiwi one question, what would it be? What does the world look like to you?

Do you have a favourite kiwi? Fiordland tokoeka of course!

A helicopter being loaded with mountains in the background.

Loading helicopter with boxes of mohua in the Landsborough, to be released on Resolution Island

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities,” by Dr Suess.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… go with the flow.

In work and life I am motivated by… doing something I enjoy, and making a difference.

Thanks to the efforts of the Pomona Island Charitable Trust the island’s Haast tokoeka kiwi are kept safe from predators.

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Cornelia Vervoorn from DOC’s Franz Josef/Waiau Area Office shares photos from the recent repair of a bridge damaged by flood on the West Coast.

After a flood you can sometimes find DOC bridges washed miles from their original positions. What is more unusual is to find them in the same place but rotated 90 degrees.

The bridge on Lake Ellery Track that was damaged by flood.

The bridge appears to have made a 90 degree turn

We think that is what happened with the heavy rain a wee while back. The river backed up as the lake level rose slowly, gently lifting the bridge and turning it, rather than destroying it as normally happens!

This bridge is located on the Lake Ellery Track, south of Haast. The water level during the flooding was at head height for a person standing on the track.

DOC rangers fix the bridge on the Lake Ellery Track.

DOC rangers get to work fixing the bridge

The flood lifted the bridge and the concrete block it was attached to! The mystery of the moving bridge reminded some people of the magical moving staircases in the fictional world of Harry Potter.

The magical moving staircase in Harry Potter.

The mystery of the moving bridge was not as magical as some thought.

DOC rangers Cheryl and John have fixed it now and are pretty pleased about it as you’ll see!


DOC rangers Cheryl and John after fixing the bridge.

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 Haast Tokoeka Kiwi Team Ranger, Blair Douglas Hoult.

Catching a female kiwi up in the alpine scrub with Tuss

At work…

Position: Kiwi looker afterer

What kind of things do you do in your role?

Track down the rare New Zealand womble, drive boats, walk up hills… then down hills… then turns out it was back up the hill… up hills.

What is the best part about your job?

That my job, a lot of the time, doesn’t seem like a job… and my dog Tussock.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Driving to the Sanctuary (Haast Tokoeka Kiwi Sanctuary) when the surf’s cranking.

What led you to your role in DOC?

A bunch of randomness. I used to Chef but I chopped my finger. Instead, found the job on the net… then the next thing I know—life rules.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

The West Coast weather.

The mouth of the Moeraki—just a walk from my house

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Haast
  2. Tussock the dog
  3. Flying

    My dog Tussock in the Haast Sanctuary

Three pet peeves

  1. Frozen boots
  2. Burnt toast
  3. Wet wetsuits

Three foods 

  1. Baked beans (way better than spaghetti) 
  2. A mean Sunday roast
  3. Lamb chops

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Whakapohai
  2. Hot Water Beach
  3. Ohinimaka

The beautiful Haast Sanctuary—my office

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: Forrest Gump
  2. Album: Van Morrison’s Been good lately
  3. Book: Francis Chichester’s book—a good read about an amazing navigator

Deep and meaningful…

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

To be fast, first you must be slow because slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

After I'd restored Dad's microlight to its former glory

Who or what inspires you and why?

My friends because they are all different but are Oarsome and do freakin’ good things. Oh and this old couple I used to work for—they have been married for 50 years and are like a couple of teenagers!

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

I dunno, I changed my mind all the time… maybe a pilot/All Black kinda kid… I always liked the Animal connection, they smell good.

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

Hmmm ummm I reckon Dr Martin’s pretty cool.

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

Save DOC some money and camp when you go away… DOC has amazing camp grounds.

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

To make do with what I have. Fixed things are better than new things because then they are classic and classic is class.

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

A kākāpō! Turn up the boom bass!

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

Be proud of DOC… we are world leaders.