QEII's man on the spot

QEII National Trust regional representative Rob Wardle: ''I know the area well.'' Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
QEII National Trust regional representative Rob Wardle: ''I know the area well.'' Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
QEII National Trust regional representative Rob Wardle might have been in the job less than a year, but his bosses have just given him a bigger office - 53,000ha of space, in fact.

Mr Wardle's role involves working with landowners and parties with an interest in a covenanted area.

Significantly, his job includes monitoring key sites to ensure the terms and conditions of the covenant agreement are fulfilled.

''I only started in October and this has been my first covenant inquiry,'' Mr Wardle says.

''Traditionally, there hadn't been a QEII representative in Central Otago; it was recently served from Christchurch.''

Having lived in Central Otago since 1992, during which time he has worked for Landcare Research, Landcorp Property Ltd and the Department of Conservation, Mr Wardle has an extensive knowledge of high-country vegetation and land use.

''I know the area well.''

The QEII National Trust's primary point of contact with Soho Properties Ltd manager Russell Hamilton, Mr Wardle will also deal with surveyors, solicitors and a range of interested parties, including the New Zealand Walking Access Commission and Department of Conservation.

''When you look at the motivations of Soho, I don't expect any problems,'' Mr Wardle says.

''I haven't dealt with Mutt Lange directly but, through Russell Hamilton, I have got a feeling for Mutt's motivations - and that is to make a difference.

''He purchased the properties in his name and obviously gets some satisfaction from having that environment around him.''

Also a keen tramper, skier, kayaker and mountain biker, Mr Wardle knows full well the recreational potential of Motatapu, Mount Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations.

''The fact a lot of that country will be available to the public gives it similar attributes to a national park.''