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Dream job . . . Department of Conservation ranger Tom Waterhouse loves working with the people and wildlife in and around the Waitaki district. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

There is a new ranger in town. Tom Waterhouse has joined the Department of Conservation as its Oamaru field ranger. Tyson Young talks to him.

Q: What made you want to work with Doc?
It’s a dream job for me. I’m originally from the UK. I’ve always had an interest in the countryside and the outdoors. This is a good job because you get a mix of that sort of work and being in some cool places. You’re also mixing with some interesting people.

Q: Is there anything you enjoy most about the job?
You get to work in some amazing places. Every day is different – there is a real variety in what you do. Last week we were working with penguins for a bit, then I was fixing a water leak at a campsite. You never really know how the day is going to end up.

Q: Were you working in any other environmental positions before joining Doc?
I worked for a couple of years at the Christchurch City Council, working with them as a field ranger at the Port Hills. That was more to do with mountain bike and walking-track building.

Q: What type of work do you do as a ranger?
We’ve got a couple of local campsites that we maintain and look after on conservation land. We are responsible for protecting the local wildlife as well. We quite often get calls about injured birds or penguins. Obviously, we’ve got Bushy Beach with yellow-eyed penguins and the blue penguins in Oamaru.

Q: What would be the toughest part of the job?
Sometimes you have to deal with people that maybe don’t respect the environment and the wildlife as much as they should. That can be hard, dealing with those people.

Q: How big is the Doc team in the Waitaki district?
There are three of us based in Oamaru. Our main office is in Geraldine. We work around Waimate and south, towards Shag Point. Our location means we are spread out quite nicely between the two main offices.

Q: Are there any memorable moments you’ve had while out on the job?
I actually got a couple of weeks down on Codfish Island, working with the kakapo team, and that was just incredible. We also had a few trips up to Rangitata to work on huts in the Southern Alps. Travelling down to Trotters Gorge would also be a memorable moment for me.

Q: Are you happy you get to work in the field of work you love?
I’m happy at the moment, very happy.