Wed, Feb 22, 2023 5:00 AM

Former Golden Bay DoC Ranger wins prestigious award



Minister of Conservation Poto Williams presented the Loder Cup to Simon Walls for his significant contribution to native plant conservation, at a ceremony at Onetahua Marae in Golden Bay at the end of 2022.

Simon Walls says, he’s proud of his work as a DoC ranger but wants to acknowledge the many colleagues and rangers who, day in and day out are out in the field doing the work too.  Simon also credits his parents for instilling in him and his siblings a love of all things natural from a young age.  

It was their encouragement which gave him a real appreciation of plant life and set him on the conservation path.   He also acknowledges his partner Kathy Hindmarsh who has always been there beside him involved in conservation work.   One of his treasured work-related experiences was the role he had working with private landowners in Golden Bay and the trusted relationships that evolved when allowed to identify plant species on their land.  As a young man Simon worked in the Primary sector on a sheep and Beef farm, then in commercial plant nursery, kiwifruit pruner, fencing contractor and as a landscaper, his interest in plants was a spare time hobby.  He first worked for DoC, as an archaeologist and summer holiday programme guide in 1989 in Golden Bay.

A position as a biodiversity ranger evolved from this and he eventually became a threatened plant conservation specialist. This work took Simon to many parts of two national parks, a nature reserve, a farm park, many scenic reserves, covenants, and private land, in fact wherever threatened plants grow. Growing endangered plants in a nursery and planting them out to boost populations in the wild is one species recovery method he has often adopted.

After over thirty years of public service, Simon retired in 2021.  He continues to care for two family owned QE11 Covenants and assists with Manawhenua Ki Mohua kaitiaki projects. Simon says throughout his Conservation career he’s enjoyed helping to preserve and share knowledge about the unique plants of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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