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 Oskar Guy, Chief Ranger—Weeds on the Hen and Chicken Islands.
Name: Oskar Guy Position: Chief Ranger, Weeds – Hen and Chicken Islands Office: Taranga Island Field Centre (reporting to Whangarei Area Office)
The office lunch room
Some things I do in my job include… staying for up to ten days at a time on the Hen and Chicken Islands nature reserves; watching and listening to tīeki, kererū, kōkako, korimako, tui, kakariki, piwakawaka, ruru and pukupuku. Scenic strolls through untracked bush and sidling across, up, down, over and under cliff faces (sometimes on a rope) are also part of my role. Oh and protecting the islands by removing illegally landed foreigners, the main culprits being Mexican Devil Weed/Ageratina adenophora.
The best bit about my job is… being out there and doing it in such a wild and remote place, and after walking up to the top of the pinnacles (419m) every morning from sea level, enjoying the pristine views.
Ten days’ growth
The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is… when I was camping on Taranga (Hen Island) under a rock bivie and was woken in the middle of the night to a pukupuku (little spotted kiwi) inches from my face. And the bird call every morning is pretty amazing.
The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is… my awesome crew from the 2012/2013 season: Theo Dekker and Charles Waetford. Great company is important when living in such close quarters for seven months. Hard working and mature beyond their years—very important when most of the work was off track and on very steep terrain. If these two are the future of DOC we are in great hands.
The terrain we are working on
On a personal note…
Most people don’t know that… my initials are O K Guy.
My stomping ground is… the Waitakere Ranges originally, and now up the far north but really all over. I’m a bit of a gypsy. I once drove to Wellington just for an ice-cream (yeah nah).
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…Thomas Brunner, the sheer thrill of going where no other European had been before, never knowing just what was around the corner, and walking along the uncharted Buller river to reach the West Coast. Max respect.
Meet the locals
My best ever holiday is… coming up. I’m planning to sail to the Pacific on a yacht at the end of the month, so anyone know any conservation projects in the pacific looking for a “good keen man” let me know.
The song that always cheers me up is… Slice of Heaven by Dave Dobbyn and Herbs
(especially when played by Australians not knowing it’s a Kiwi song)
If I wasn’t working at DOC, I’d like to… (I will be) cruising the Pacific.
Sun setting over the East Coast
Deep and meaningful…
My favourite quotes are…“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”, Or “I’ll pay you back when my sister gets a job.”
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… “Its attitude not aptitude that determines altitude”. In other words it’s effort not just skill will get the results.
In work and life I am motivated by… the pleasure of doing something I enjoy, and testing my limits through hard work.
My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… get out there and enjoy it.