In 2002, I was engaged by the Waipoua Forest Trust in Northland, New Zealand, to work as their assistant manager: designing, implementing and monitoring reforestation, environmental education and exotic species control, in co-ordination with the local Mauri tribe, national experts, local schools, international volunteers and the New Zealand Department of Conservation. In particular, this project involved: replanting a large area of native New Zealand Kauri forest (which can live for up to 3,000 years); eradicating possums, pines and other introduced species, and; educating local children and residents about their local environment and nature conservation.
This work required a lot of inter-cultural awareness, co-ordination between diverse actors and use of adaptive management. In addition, I developed and demonstrated skills in project design, fund-raising, effective communication, biodiversity monitoring and conservation management. Particular issues addressed included: improving animal welfare in exotic species control programmes; increasing the survivability of sapplings and replanted trees, and; facilitating the involvement of local people, to increase the long-term success of nature conservation.