Department of Conservation's Coastal Otago area manager
Robin Thomas speaks at his farewell marking the end of 43
years on the job yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Tributes flowed yesterday as the conservation community
farewelled the Department of Conservation's Coastal Otago area
manager Robin Thomas.
After a 43-year career in Doc and its precursor
organisations, Mr Thomas' role was disestablished in the
department's latest restructure.
Representatives of Otago's many conservation organisations
gathered at Doc's offices in Dunedin yesterday to pay tribute
to the wealth of knowledge and leadership Mr Thomas had
brought to the organisation.
''It is incredibly humbling,'' Mr Thomas said.
Otago acting conservator Ken Stewart said Mr Thomas started
work as a clerical cadet in 1970 before becoming a reserves
ranger in Rotorua, then spending 10 years on Stewart Island
from 1977 as a senior ranger, and in 1987 when Doc was
formed, becoming Otago Southland district conservator.
His role changed in a successive reorganisation to become
operations manager and then in 1997 he was appointed the
Coastal Otago area manager, based in Dunedin.
Highlights of his career included a leading role in the
development of the Otago Central Rail Trail and later the Far
North cycle trail, the Nugget Point redevelopment and
championing the cause of the jewelled gecko.
Doc deputy director-general Sue Cosford said Mr Thomas had
made a huge contribution to Otago and not just in the
projects he had been involved in but in the support he
offered people and the encouragement he gave.
''It's been a tough change process ... you have a huge amount
to look back on with pride.''
His work for Doc with boating and four-wheel-drive training
was also recognised.
Representatives from groups and organisations around Otago
thanked him for his work, including that on the rail trail,
the development of Nugget Point, in the Clutha District, with
Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Ngai Tahu, search and rescue, parks
and reserves, Forest and Bird and the Otago Peninsula Trust.