Archives For maps

Dozens of rarely seen historic conservation maps have been gathered in a new exhibition at Conservation House in Wellington.

The man behind Mapping the Land, DOC GIS Analyst Matt Grose.

Matt Grose

Mapping the Land, which runs until 31 January, acknowledges the past, and celebrates cartography and map making at all scales. 

Today, we’ve got the man behind the exhibition, DOC GIS Analyst Matt Grose, sharing with us…

Maps are evocative creatures. People love the detail; love tracing journeys of days across inches of paper; reliving moments, experiences; retelling stories.

Maps are born of survey and marking, measurement and defining; they are the story of New Zealand; they record history.

Topographical Plan of Waitangi Treaty House Grounds.

Topographical Plan of Waitangi Treaty House Grounds, Northland, 1993

Maps help us work, define extents and plot resources. They are critical in managing our partnerships, giving confidence to communities and illustrating progress.

Maps are politics and poetry, diplomacy and emergency, recreation and comfort.

Crop from a map of Tararua Mountain System, 1936

Tararua Mountain System, 1936

Maps are colourful, delicate, subtle, detailed, precise.

Maps promise truth but often lie – sometimes on purpose.

Maps are a lot of things to a lot of people.

Crop from map of Puketi. Credit: A.N. Sexton.

Puketi Forest, Northland, 1939

In the face of the overwhelming saturation of digital information into our lives, I wanted to just pause for a moment and acknowledge what came before, what drives us now, and what we would do well not to forget. Maps don’t make themselves.

Legend for the Puketi Forest map.

Legend for the Puketi Forest map, created by A.N. Sexton

This exhibition started out with a simple thought, “Why don’t we take some of the maps that DOC has stored away in cabinets, get them out and put them on display?”.

Despite everything that’s occurred between then and now, that is still the essence of this exhibition—just some maps that look nice. Any greater theme is up to you.

It’s only a little exhibition, but I hope you can come along and get a kick out of it.

As well as maps, you’ll find interpretation, navigation and cartographic objects, and the opportunity for you to draw your own map of the world.

Mapping the Land | Free entry | Until 31 January 2014 | Foyer of Conservation House | 16-32 Manners Street | Wellington

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).

Robyn Crisford with a parrot at a bird park in Honduras.

Making friends in Honduras

Today we profile Robyn Crisford, Geospatial Analyst in the North Canterbury District Office.

At work

Some things I do in my job include… Making maps! I am here for all the mapping and spatial data/query and analysis needs.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by… Providing tools and support to field staff, as well as accurate reporting and analysis to increase conservation efforts and make New Zealand the greatest living space on Earth.

The best bit about my job is… The great team I work with! Also, getting to play with maps all day and when I get the chance, getting out into the field to help out and connect with field staff, run training and generally enjoying connecting with others and the outdoors.

The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is… Having the opportunity to spend two days with the rangers and field staff on Kapiti Island. This included seeing the great work they are doing as well as finding ways of helping them in their work (such as creating new map panels for the island), which connected their work to mine.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is… Genevieve Spargo because of the awesome work she is doing out on Kapiti Island.

Robyn Crisford sea kayaking near orca.

Sea kayak guiding on multiday expedition trips in orca territory in the Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, Canada

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that I… Have dreams of owning a small sail boat where I can live on board and sail around the Pacific Islands living off kaimoana and island smiles.

My stomping ground is… Marahau, at the base of the Abel Tasman National Park. This is an area where I have spent much of the last ten years living and working as a Sea Kayak Guide and enjoying the amazing outdoor playground with many of the inspirational and spirited locals.

Robyn Crisford and a friend holding a kiwi.

Cuddles with a kiwi after its annual transmitter change

In my spare time I… Fill it up with travelling, hanging out with animals (cats, dogs, horses, birds—you name it, I will love it) snowboarding, kayaking, tramping, camping, rafting, gardening, dancing, and, as of lately… circus classes.

If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be… The Haast Eagle soaring above the lush native bush and keeping an eye out for everyone and everything.

If I wasn’t working at DOC, I’d like to… There are many things I would love to do, including completing a Masters degree, getting involved in more social and environmental community projects…visiting and volunteering for grass roots community development projects throughout Asia and the Pacific Island—especially projects focused on green living and sustainability within communities (think permaculture/education and renewable energy solutions).

Robyn Crisford at the end of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.

Finishing the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… Rules are made to be broken.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…Stop worrying so much!

In work and life I am motivated by… The amazing people I am surrounded by. The view, stillness, and the feeling of being at the top of a mountain, diving to the bottom of a river bed, or sitting in the vast stillness of a pitch black cave system.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… Get involved! Go and enjoy the outdoors and you will feel more connected and learn lots about what is out there and why it is so important to protect our biodiversity and the environment.

A small turtle being released on a Guatemalan beach.

Releasing baby turtles back into the ocean in Guatemala

Question of the week…

If you had $10K to spend at any one shop, what shop would it be and why?

That $10K would definitely be spent at a travel agent – because I value experiences more highly that material possessions and there are many places I would love to travel to such as Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Spain, Greece, France, Iceland and Norway.

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 geographic information system (GIS) champion, Paul Hughes:

At work …

Name: Paul Hughes

Position: GIS Champion, Wellington Hawke’s Bay

Shark surveying in Fiji

Describe your role: GIS mapping and analysis locally and nationally.

What kind of work/projects are you currently involved in?

Operationalising Treaty Settlements and Biodiversity Information Management.

What led you to your current role in DOC?

Selling GIS systems to the oil exploration industry and to DOC.

Tell us about your 15 minutes of fame

Speaking in Charleston at the 2002 celebration of the final protection of the publicly owned West Coast native forests, and the end to government logging.

Kaka are ginga too

The rule of three…

Three loves

  • Life
  • My wife Jayne
  • My daughter Isabel

Three pet peeves


Working with the community on Mt Ngauruhoe

Three things always in your fridge

  • Mac’s beer
  • Plum sauce
  • Kapiti ice cream

Favourite movie, album, book

Book: It’s a toss up between Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and The Universal Heart by Stephanie Dowrick—both are journeys of the soul.

Movie: The Wizard of Oz, we are living it again!

Album: Malcolm McLaren and the Bootzilla Orchestra

Codfish Island Surf Club

Getting personal

What was your favourite birthday present as a kid?

My scooter.

What is your dream holiday location or activity and why? 

Ten day tramping trips at Christmas, as it takes the body to a state one seldom experiences.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Beach walking at Paekakariki.

Do you have a special skill/quirk/strange fact that people may not know about you?

I am a Civil Engineer, an expert tradescantia weeder and can pan gold in a billy lid.

What was the most useful thing that somebody once told you?

Follow your inner compass.

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

The Olivine Ice Plateau.

Olivine Ice Plateau

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