New Zealand Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague has spent the day touring Rotorua, seeing several of the organisation's projects and the people behind them.
He also spoke at the Rotorua Forest and Bird annual meeting last night, urging locals to think carefully about who to vote for on conservation issues this election.
Mr Hague spent the morning with Jaap and Sue van Dorsser at the Awahou Stream restoration project north of Ngongotaha.
"Back in the 1960s their farmland had eroded into the stream and now it is an amazing forest regenerated through a huge amount of work."
Mr Hague, having been through a walk through the nine-hectare forest, said the native trees were amazing.
"It's so inspiring . . . they have proved you can bring back nature. I'm blown away by what they've achieved."
He also went to the Violet Bonnington Reserve in Ngongotaha. "It's a small but important reserve, effectively providing better access to nature and providing access to the forest on the mountain."
The last stop of the day was Tikitapu Reserve, at Lake Okareka, where he looked at work protecting rare native plants such as mistletoe from possums and rats.
"This work is so important. Ecology is all connected to everything else."
The co-ordinator for Forest and Bird's Tikitapu pest control project, Frankie Blakely, said it was good to have Mr Hague see what they had been doing.
"And it was good to hear what's going on in other places."
Mr Hague said his day was extremely interesting.
"The Rotorua branch are doing some great work. There is always a need for more volunteers to help with the planting and trapping days."
His trip to Rotorua was part of visiting Forest and Bird branches around the country.
"There are 50 branches . . . I'm trying to get around them all and see the projects and the people involved in them."
Until his appointment to Forest and Bird six months ago, Mr Hague was a Green Party MP.
"Having come from Parliament, it's good to be back in the community sector. Forest and Bird is a great organisation which is what attracted me to the organisation. So far I've been getting to know the staff, our branches and organisations that we work with."
Mr Hague said the public thought nature was being looked after in New Zealand, but the reality was "absolutely different".
"Nature is in deep trouble. We want to say to people, we know you care about nature, you need to know it is in crisis, cast your vote on who is going to start getting proper resources back to DoC and into conservation."
The next stop on his tour is the Eastern Bay of Plenty branch of Forest and Bird.