Outdoors: Be alert to DoC changes

By Des Williams

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

If you've trekked the great outdoors in the past decade or so, chances are you've had a Department of Conservation brochure in your backpack.

That publication usually invited people to contact their nearest DoC office for further information.

From the 1990s until late last year, conservation land users probably knew the location of their nearest DoC office. The country contained 11 conservancies within the Herald's main circulation area including Northland, Auckland and Waikato.

These conservancies were managed by a conservator, while there were teams of area staff at smaller locations such as Te Kuiti, Thames, Warkworth and Whakatane.

At all of these places you could walk in off the street and expect to find someone to answer your queries.

The set-up changed last September, when DoC introduced a new structure. The 11 conservancies became incorporated within six regions, with the Upper North Island known as the Northern North Island Region.

For Herald readers wanting to identify their nearest DoC office, here's the slightly tricky bit: DoC now has two main streams of work - services and partnerships.

For those doing services work (pest control, track maintenance, on-ground services and so forth) Auckland City is considered part of the Northern North Island Region, with a services director based at Whangarei.

For DoC staff involved in partnerships (working with iwi, community groups, businesses and landowners) Auckland City is considered a separate region with its own partnerships director.

Services and partnerships office staff are co-located in some areas, but not in others, and some services offices aren't publicly accessible.

Just as DoC staff are taking time to adjust, so too the public may find things aren't quite the way they were.

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