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Meet Clare St Pierre

Job: 

Chair of the community group returning kōkako to Mt Pirongia: Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society.

Job description: 

I keep all the different parts of our group running smoothly, so I lead our meetings, liaise with others about what we are doing, apply for funding, keep our facebook page alive with posts and promote what we are doing to media channels and other organisations, as well as help out with our volunteer fieldwork like pest control and kōkako monitoring.

Work background: 

I worked in a bank and had a lot to do with supporting our branch network so understood co-ordination, communication and processes used by a large organisation. Then I left to raise my children and got involved with PlayCentre, my church and other voluntary groups which developed further my organisational, networking and online skills.

Favourite part of job: 

Holding a newly banded kōkako chick. Close second is getting a helicopter ride to the summit because I am head of the society.

Least favourite part of job: 

Writing the accountability reports for how we have spent the grants we have received.

What I am working on now: 

Researching information about kōkako on Mt Pirongia back to the 1960s, preparing accountability reports for more of our grants, finalising a new logo and a promotional brochure about our kōkako project to raise more funding, putting out feelers for a new treasurer for our group, attending a local iwi meeting to do with our dactylanthus work (a pretty amazing and rare native plant still present on Mt Pirongia), and co-ordinating volunteer work on our envirocentre building.

A quick story about a job well done: 

Our efforts to protect wild kōkako populations at Northern Pureora Forest by attracting 90 new volunteers to help with pest control there meant kōkako numbers increased and the population was classified as the strongest in the country. Our group ended up winning the national Green Ribbon Award for biodiversity protection as a result.

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

In the early days of our group we held an open day to promote and celebrate Mt Pirongia at Pirongia Forest Park Lodge. The idea was to launch our society and what we were hoping to achieve. We had a great number of people come along but as the organiser I got in trouble with the Lodge because they had expected a $10 charge per person to use the Lodge facilities (not a one-off fee) and we had let people come along for free. There was no way we could pay what they wanted so I learned that all the extra details of hiring a venue need to be gone over really carefully beforehand. In the end we talked over what could be done and they agreed that we could put out a donations bucket for the use of the lodge because they could see that they also benefited from the event through the large number of visitors using their facility.

Qualifications: 

Bachelor of Business Studies (Management major) First Class Honours.

Interests outside work: 

Gardening and sustainability – so growing lots of different types of food and then finding cool things to do with it, sewing my own clothes, helping my family.


Clare St Pierre is the chair person of the Mount Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society. Image: C. St Pierre collection.