Exciting time to be in charge of Fish and Game

Corina Jordan
Corina Jordan
It's what Corina Jordan describes as her dream position.Ms Jordan is leaving her role as North Island general manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand to become the new chief executive of Fish and Game New Zealand, starting on August 1.

She is the first permanent appointment in the role since it was vacated in 2020.

It is an exciting opportunity to be a woman leading an organisation like Fish and Game, as it went through a period of significant change — both for it and the country, she said.

Ms Jordan mostly grew up in Taranaki and both her parents came from farming backgrounds.

With a love of animals, particularly horses, and the outdoors, most of her time was spent ‘‘hanging out on farms’’ — whether that was milking cows or helping with shearing — ‘‘and getting in the way’’, she laughed.

After leaving school, she worked in the veterinary industry and ended up managing a veterinary specialist hospital in Sydney.

Eventually, she tired of seeing ‘‘a lot of death’’ — something that came with the territory, but it could also be a little soul-destroying, she said.

So she retrained at Massey University, studying genetics, ecology, natural resource management and a smattering of economics.

After doing some contract work for the Department of Conservation, she picked up a role at Fish and Game and ended up heading its natural resources arm.

The portfolio was diverse; one day she could be on a river counting trout, the next in an aeroplane counting the bird population, and the next in the Environment Court.

It was a nice mix of practical, on-the-ground experience working with people and communities and also being in a key role to help shape the future of the country’s natural resource management.

From there, she was ‘‘super lucky’’ to get a job at Beef + Lamb New Zealand, initially as North Island policy manager, then environmental strategy manager, and then finally her current role as North Island general manager

It was a key role to be at the heart of an organisation as it was building its profile around sustainable land use and natural resource management and championing the future of farming in New Zealand, in relation to what that future looked like, she said.

When she first moved from Fish and Game to Beef + Lamb, the comment was made asking whether she was the ‘‘gamekeeper-turned-poacher’’.

But farmers wanted a healthy environment; it was all about ensuring there was a healthy environment for humans to enjoy now and into the future.

That was something that resounded with farmers, who had the land in their blood — it was their livelihood and they wanted to pass it forward to following generations — so she believed the ethos and values were ‘‘really well aligned’’.

Fish and Game wanted to continue building relationships with landowners and take a collaborative approach to problem solving. The best outcomes were those built by communities, she said.

Asked what her priorities would be when she started, Ms Jordan said she liked an empowering-type management strategy in relation to teams.

She would be asking many questions and doing a lot of listening; understanding both where the organisation, and its people, were at.

Then it was about building relationships with regional councils and communities.

She believed there was a huge opportunity to empower community and farmer-led catchment groups.

She was keen to do more work in that space and, already, tangible impacts were being made, she said.

While ‘‘super excited’’ about the move, it was also one of the hardest decisions she had ever had to make due to the ‘‘incredible’’ team of people she worked with at Beef + Lamb.

New Zealand Fish and Game Council chair Ray Grubb was delighted to see Ms Jordan appointed from a strong field of applicants ‘‘at a pivotal time in the organisation’s history’’.

‘‘The timing of this appointment is important as Fish & Game evolves following the recommendations of the Ministerial Review,’’ he said.





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