28 Mar 2017

Working bee on Raoul underlines Kermadecs' importance

7:05 pm on 28 March 2017

The New Zealand Department of Conservation's outgoing senior ranger for Raoul Island says the Kermadecs remains an outpost of great importance to the country.

Raoul Island

Raoul Island Photo: Supplied

After six years in the role, Paul Rennie is being replaced by Irene Middleton who travelled up to the Kermadecs last week with a major multi-agency work mission.

Transported by the HMNZS Canterbury naval ship last week, dozens of DOC staff, as well as personnel from MetService and GNS Science agencies, are conducting work in the Kermadecs until later this week.

Regular rotation of DOC staff on Raoul island is also taking place, with induction components, and a range of maintenance.

"We have taken the opportunity with the capability of the Canterbury to get up a lot of roofing, timber and building materials to be able to do some maintenance on the buildings that are up there," said Mr Rennie.

"There's a roofing team progressing that work, and a paint team also finishing off some of the exterior work."

Hostel Complex on Raoul Island

Hostel Complex on Raoul Island Photo: Nathan Lightbourne

Mr Rennie said the Kermadecs was a jewel in the country's conservation network, but added that it was also a critical asset for the Metservice and GNS Science.

"Obviously we're in a South Pacific area where we're getting tsunamis not a regular basis, but they're a happening thing," Mr Rennie said.

"So being able to warn people I think is critical. And the same goes for the weather up there, with cyclones."

DOC has seven staff on the island at any one time. Four of them are on for 12 months and the other three rotate out on a three monthly basis.

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Photo: wikicommons