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Department of Conservation 30th Year Celebrations – Wanaka

This year marks the 30th birthday of the creation of the Department of Conservation, previously operating under three entities, the Department of Lands and Survey, Forest Service and Wildlife Service.

To mark this milestone, DoC are holding functions at various locations to thank and acknowledge  present and past staff and NGO’s about achievements and goals reached during this time.

One such function was hosted by Mike Tubbs, Central Otago operations manager, in the Wanaka area office. A short speech on film from Director-General, Lou Sanson was played to the assembled crowd. Chas Tanner represented the NZAC at this event.

Mike spoke of the great relationships forged over the years between staff and organisations involved with conservation and recreation and eluded to partnerships set up over this time. Mention was made of the New Zealand Alpine Club in this regard.

Chas responded to Mike’s comments by saying that for the life of the 125 year old NZAC, which originated in Dunedin, the Otago Alps have been the holy grail for climbers in the south. In 1947 the Otago Section built Aspiring Hut lasting well until 1987 when a massive slip almost engulfed the hut. Faced with a management dilemma, the Club entered into an agreement in 1989 where DoC managed the hut and ownership was retained by the Club.

Chas thought this must almost be the first of many ‘partnership’ agreements now eagerly sought by DoC to assist in managing the conservation estate.

Since the inception of the agreement, the teams from DoC and NZAC have replaced Colin Todd and French Ridge huts and improved the facilities at Aspiring Hut in addition to other smaller projects completed.

Past and present DoC staff at the function, who have been directly involved over the duration of the agreement, included Stu Thorne, Paul Hellebrekers, Al Fastier and Dave Grieve. Chas thanked the Department for their years of enthusiastic involvement with the agreement.

A celebratory cake was cut by former DoC staffer Stu Thorne and the assembled gathering chatted long about their experiences over the past years.

Chas Tanner
Representing NZAC

Posted: 06/04/17

Posted By: Margaret McMahon