I have been working as a ranger with the kākāpō team for about a year now, but my background is in much smaller species. At university, I focused on small songbirds like dunnocks and blackbirds, and recently I completed my Masters working with South Island robins. Shifting from working with birds that fit in one hand, to working with the largest parrot in the world has been a bit of an adjustment, to say the least! But now I am completely hooked.
As island rangers, we live and breathe the job. Everyday, we wake up and go to work in some of the most beautiful, remote, and untouched corners of this country! I mostly work on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island – a short 20 minute flight from Invercargill. Our commute to work has to be one of the best out there – the small fixed wing plane skirts alongside Rakiura/Stewart Island and then comes in to land on the Whenua Hou runway: Sealer’s Bay beach!
The location is just half the treat – we also have the privilege of monitoring and caring for a taonga species of New Zealand. Our work is very varied. On one day, we might be running the supplementary feedout programme, or radio tracking kākāpō and carrying out important health checks, whilst on another, we could be in the hut doing data entry, organising island supplies and flights, or maintaining the facilities. It can be tough going, but it’s totally worth it when you see eggs being laid, chicks growing into strong adults, and the kākāpō population growing.