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Meet Fraser Maddigan


Ecologist – plant & animal ecologist.

Job description: 

Ecology - Undertaking work with plants and animals for conservation management, pest control and scientific purposes.

Work background: 

Conservation Forestry degree at the School of Forestry, Canterbury University - followed by ecology work for DOC / Department of Conservation for about 20 years and also ecological consulting projects for various other Government agencies and private companies around NZ since leaving University.

Favourite part of job: 

Racing around in the mountains and helping the plants and animals that we share our Earth with. Another really cool job task was undertaking aerial surveys of sharks and then tagging Great White sharks off Stewart Island – yes there are lots down there!

Least favourite part of job: 

We used to clean toilets for DOC when I was young. Cutting open wild cats and ferrets and stoats and hedgehogs to study what they had been eating was not that nice either!

What I am working on now: 

At present I am undertaking lots of monitoring of animal pests in Canterbury, as well as surveying for rare lizards and protecting their populations from habitat loss and pressure from introduced predators……and trying to learn more about our smallest alpine bird the rock wren that lives in the Southern Alps so we can help maintain its presence in the alps.

A quick story about a job well done: 

Involved in a cool project intensively trapping stoats in Fiordland and helping protect tiny little kiwi chicks that had just hatched. Also I suppose I have been lucky enough and am proud to have spent many years helping to study and protect the habitats of a wide range of our NZ native plants and animals.

A (humorous) story about a job that went badly and what you learned: 

I had a possum bite my arm and hold it for about 5 minutes while I was trying to catch it live for research – it deserved to be grumpy. Lesson - important to hold possums by their tails with their mouths as far away from your body as possible!


Bachelor or Forestry Science – Major in Conservation Management, University of Canterbury.

Interests outside work: 

I like mountain biking and skiing as well as natural history. I have a 7-month old baby girl who is a wee devil but a nice devil!

Fraser Maddigan is a plant and animal ecologist. Image: Supplied.