DOC’s (Department of Conservation) vision is for New Zealand to be the greatest living space on Earth – Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao. This vision means ensuring that New Zealanders gain a wide range of benefits from healthy functioning ecosystems, recreation opportunities, and through living DOC’s history.
To do this, DOC organise their work around five outcomes:
- the diversity of our natural heritage is maintained and restored
- our history is protected and brought to life
- more people participate in recreation
- more people engage with conservation and value its benefits
- conservation gains from more business partnerships
The BLAKE DOC Ambassador programme started in January 2015 and provides an annual opportunity for young scientists and conservationists to work on conservation projects in New Zealand.
DOC partners with other organisations to manage New Zealand’s conservation through habitat protection and restoration programmes, biodiversity inventory and monitoring research projects.
The 2020 programme allows four young New Zealanders to be part of two BLAKE DOC Ambassador conservation programmes: The Takahē Feedout Project in Burwood, and the Marine Species Management and Protection Programme.
Further information about the 2020 programmes are oulined below.
BLAKE DOC Ambassador Programmes – 2020
BLAKE DOC Ambassador – Takahē feed out programme, Burwood
March 2021 (and/or June 2021)
The Burwood Takahē Breeding Centre was purpose built in 1985 as an incubation and hand rearing facility and is famous for historically using puppets and models to rear takahē chicks. An 80-hectare predator-free enclosure was built in the adjacent Burwood Bush (Red Tussock) Scientific Reserve to house juvenile birds as well as a few resident breeding pairs.
In the wild takahē territories can vary from 5 to 60 hectares dependent on the quality of the habitat and the time of year. To protect the vegetation in the pens and to ensure sufficient nutritious food is available, takahē are fed special takahē pellets.
Two BLAKE Ambassadors will spend one week focused on assisting DOC’s supplementary feeding programme, rebaiting traps, and infrastructure work such as track cutting or marking.
Watch a video of 2019 BLAKE NIWA Ambassadors, Lachie Scarsbrook and Anna Clark HERE.
BLAKE DOC Ambassador – Hoiho/Rāpoka, Dunedin and the Catlins (Southland Coast)
18 January – 5 February 2021 (1 week in Dunedin; 2 weeks in Catlins)
Two BLAKE Ambassadors will participate in a diverse range of activities led by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust working with marine species management and protection. The role has a focus on hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins and rāpoka/New Zealand sea lions and requires a strong, hands-on practical component. The successful BLAKE Ambassadors will have opportunities to:
- Assist with hoiho monitoring and management:
- Hoiho chick health checks
- Hoiho chick marking
- Recovering injured or underweight hoiho
- Assist with rāpoka monitoring
- Searching for and tagging/microchipping sea lion pups
- Engaging with the public for the protection of sea lions
- Predator control
- Public advocacy at wildlife hotspots
Applicants should be physically fit to work in rough coastal terrain in all weather conditions and be able to work long days in the field while carrying a pack. The individuals will be based in both the Dunedin office and in the Catlins on the Southland coast. Accommodation will be provided at both locations.