Spotlight on Rotoroa ranger Maud Tissink
28th January 2014
Maud Tissink is Rotoroa's summer ranger. It's her role to
help inform visitors about the importance of biosecurity on
Maud is a tertiary student working towards a BSc in Ecology from
The University of Auckland, but this summer, she's getting some
practical experience of conservation; talking to boaties about
biosecurity, tracking birds, assisting with volunteer days and
lending the island's conservation team a hand wherever needed.
"A large proportion of my work around the island consists of
biosecurity," says Maud. "It's essential to preserve the longer
term success of the island's pest eradication from last
For Maud, this involves checking the bags and gear of ferry
passengers, informing boaties about biosecurity risks and
maintaining the island's traps and bait stations.
"People are generally under the impression that we look for just
rodents, but it's also the discrete stowaways that we worry about -
things like exotic ants and skinks."
For Maud, who came to New Zealand with her family from the
Netherlands seven years ago, conservation and wildlife are passions
she formed as a child.
"I've been interested in conservation since I watched a
documentary about the reintroduction of the grey wolf into
Yellowstone National Park when I was about seven years old.
The way in which this simple reintroduction led to drastic
changes in the park's landscape made a lasting positive impression
New Zealand is quite a contrast to her European home. "My family
moved here for the sake of the lifestyle when I was 11 years old,"
says Maud. "It's much more spacious here; in the Netherlands, 16
million people inhabit an area slightly smaller than Canterbury.
Unlike what a Kiwi might imagine, this number of people does fit
into such an area quite comfortably, but there is no space to spare
for nature. Even as a child I was bothered by the absence of a
Maud's time on the island is serving her well for her studies
and future in conservation. "Assisting the island's ecologist Jo
Ritchie, contributes greatly to my own learning. It's fantastic to
be involved with such an amazing project."
"Maud has been great to have on the island over summer," says
Jo. "She is genuinely interested in what we are doing, has
attention to detail which is really important when you are
examining monitoring devices to look for what are often small and
subtle signs of whether pest animals are present or not.
"Young people with enquiring and objective minds who have a
passion for the environment are the future of conservation in New
Zealand - Go Maud!"
On the island and have a question? Look out for Maud; she'll be
happy to stop and chat.