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Air New Zealand’s 3000 member-strong ‘Greenteam’ are an energetic force, giving thousands of hours of volunteer time to conservation projects around New Zealand.

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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 Andrew Reese-Jones, Business Accountant, Canterbury.

At work…

It’s important for an accountant to have a sense of humour (unfortunately, Andrew wears this outfit to work most days!)

What kind of things do you do in your role?

Provide accounting advice to our Area Offices and Senior Management Team, coordinate and monitor the Canterbury Conservancy budget, help prepare large capital business cases and get involved in national projects that require accounting support.

Business accountants are based in the various Conservancies, but report to a business accounting manager in Wellington. In a nutshell our role is to use our accounting skills and business experience to add value at both a Conservancy and national level.

What is the best part about your job?

The feeling that I am making a difference to support a team of awesome people who are passionate about conservation. Being an effective accountant at DOC is all about relating to the people on the ground, so I also love getting out to the Areas whenever I can.

It’s a beautiful day for a run, as Andrew approaches the Luxmore Hut
during the 2010 Kepler Challenge

What is the hardest part about your job?

The constant feeling that I can never quite get to ALL the worthy projects on the ‘value-add’ list. I guess it’s human nature that we tend to focus on what we haven’t got to, rather than all the great successes we do achieve.

What led you to your role in DOC?

I’ve always been active in the outdoors—trail running, mountain biking, tramping, kayaking and so on. After gaining my accounting qualifications with one of the large chartered accounting firms, I took on the role as accountant and then financial controller for the New Zealand outdoor equipment company Macpac. Joining DOC in 2008 was a natural progression to an organisation that has continued the outdoor connection, but also provided the prized opportunity to contribute to conservation.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

Going for an awe inspiring daybreak run with my boss up the Hooker Valley track in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. It’s just a magic place for anyone that hasn’t been there.

The rule of three…

Three loves

Successful dad and daughter night’s fishing at Lake Alexandrina

  1. My family
  2. Trail running
  3. Time in the hills

Three pet peeves

  1. Sweating the small stuff
  2. Running injuries
  3. Hut snorers

Three foods

  1. Bluff oysters
  2. Pasta
  3. Peanut slabs (the more you run the more you can eat!)

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. Christchurch (earthquake capital!)
  2. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
  3. Stewart Island

A day trip from Christchurch to the Mahaanui Area’s
historic Packhorse Hut

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: The Castle
  2. Album: The Pogues
  3. Book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma)

Andrew, Jake and Anna about to start the St James Walkway
from the Lewis Pass end

Deep and meaningful…

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

Find and follow your passion and learn to laugh at yourself. But most of all … always buy your wife a birthday present even when she says she doesn’t want one (took me years to learn this one!).

Who or what inspires you and why?

Humble people who achieve great things through persistence and hard work. And even more those people who then give so much back to others, e.g. Sir Ed Hillary and Murray Halberg.

All safely through one of the avalanche zones on the St James Walkway

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

A jockey (Dad trained race horses and fortunately said I was too heavy. Really he was just scared what mum would say).

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

Something connected to the outdoors that paid the bills.

What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?

The relief is evident, finishing the 2010 Kepler Challenge

Nothing in particular, but if we all do the small things, together it can make a massive impact—recycling, composting, energy efficient bulbs and so on.

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

I’d like to see how paperless we can be. The earthquake has shown us in Canterbury that we don’t need anywhere near the paper files we thought that we couldn’t do without.

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

Whio (blue duck)—no still pond for these guys, they love life in the rapids.

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

If you think about the number of people in the world, we have all struck Lotto to live in New Zealand. So I say appreciate your good fortune by getting out there and enjoying it, sharing it and respecting it.

Taking part in the National 10 km Road Championships
on Wellington waterfront in August 2011