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 Herb Familton, Resource Management Act Planner.
Name: Herb Familton.
Position: Resource Management Act Planner.
Office: Christchurch Shared Services, Policy and Regulatory Group.
Some things I do in my job include… biking to and from work through Hagley Park talking to area staff and scientists about the effects of consents and plans, assigning area staff with RMA questions, case management and mediation with lawyers and witnesses, writing submissions and writing evidence. And putting on my best suit and presenting evidence to councils about submissions.
The best bit about my job is… working with bright bushy tailed and committed DOC staff who also happen to be principled and well rounded individuals that are a pleasure to work with.
The strangest DOC moment I’ve had so far is… on the airfield at Pitt island (off Chatham Island) with the skulls of the saxon sheep littered around, facing the howling wind and watching roaring whitecaps offshore roll in. Possibly the strangest I’ve ever felt, it was like at the opening scene of a Peter Jackson Horror movie.
The previous DOC employee that inspired me most is… John Cumberpatch – his focus was definitely working on the business.
On a personal note
I am not a Cantabrian; I am an Oamaruvian and still support the Highlanders and the Volts. As it happens, I love neo-gothic stone buildings, particularly if they have Oamaru stone in them. We are losing a lot of amazing buildings at the moment here in Christchurch. Going through town, it’s a bit hard to know where you are sometimes as they have all disappeared! However, things are on the up now in terms of the rebuild, and I’m looking forward to the new improved energy efficient buildings and bikeways over the place.
I was taught History and English by Owen Jones (Marshall) the noted short story writer. The Waitaki Valley and Central Otago are my stomping grounds… the way the light falls and the shadows on the hills at Omarama (the centre of the known gliding universe) in the late evening is just magical (best with a Otago pinot methinks!). The Hopkins and Huxley Valleys are places I’ll always come back to visit.
I live in a renovated 100 year old villa with Donna who is a nurse and with sons Hamish and Alex. We have upgraded this to a pretty good sustainability rating with a worm farm, retrofitted double glazing, heat pump, wall/ceiling/floor insulation, heat pump clothes drier, high efficiency dishwasher, CFL and LED lighting, and evacuated tube powered solar hot water and shower hot water heat exchange over the years. Did you know you can get candle shaped LED bayonet bulbs for Donna’s lovely chandeliers? The plan is solar PV when I retire maybe…
Most people don’t know that I… think that LINUX operating systems are absolutely brilliant, reliable and cost nothing. Perhaps this reflects my Presbyterian upbringing! Fellow DOC shared services staffer Steve Sharman made me a computer in 2005 and its still going strong on Ubuntu LINUX.
The song that always cheers me up… is Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and any guitar solo by son Alex singing Bruno Mars.
My greatest sporting moment was… definitely leading the South Island Open Class Gliding championship in the mid 1990s for several days (until we missed a thermal and landed in a paddock at Irishman’s Creek one day!)
Deep and meaningful
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… ‘Be true to yourself’ by my Dad. This dawned on me in an epiphany when Nigel Latta the psychologist talked about his Dad in the same way.
My favourite quote is… “If you are going to achieve in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception: it is a prevailing attitude”by Colin Powell, closely followed by “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” by Eleanor Roosevelt.
In work and life I am motivated by… living life by my expectations, the occasional hurry ups from Donna, giving Hamish and Alex the opportunities to become fine young men, and knowing with clear certainty that I have been a positive force in society over a range of endeavours. Ken and Anna as case managers also give me the hurry up as required!
My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… in the towns and cities: walk, bike, or take public transport to work, get into solar HW and PV, insulate and double glaze your homes, renovate your Edwardian villas rather than flattening them as they are big enough, use a heat pump or low emission log burner and compost or worm farm your organic waste.
In the country, take inspiration from our wonderful backcountry and coast, remember to appreciate the special places you value when you visit with family and friends, and give your support to the organisations, groups, or individuals that value them as you are able. We may not have visited for a while, but knowing they are there sometimes is solace enough… toitu te whenua.
Question of the week
If you could be a character in any TV show, who would you be and why?
Lisa Simpson from the Simpsons as she plays the alto saxophone of course!