Park ranger jug­gles many dif­fer­ent jobs

DAILY GRIND Be­ing a ranger is no walk in the park. It takes pa­tience, diplo­macy and good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to be an Auck­land Coun­cil park ranger, as deputy edi­tor Jenny Ling finds out.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Con­flict res­o­lu­tion may not seem an es­sen­tial skill for a park ranger.

But with Auck­land’s 1.4 mil­lion people vy­ing for space to walk, run, pic­nic, ex­er­cise their dogs and play sport, it’s a big part of the job, Auck­land Coun­cil sports park ranger Chris Fel­ton says.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to see both sides of the story and work with both sec­tors and come up with an agree­ment,’’ he says.

‘‘There’s al­ways a way some­thing can be re­solved.’’

Fel­ton says you also need good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, an open mind and the abil­ity to think out­side the square to be a good park ranger.

‘‘As well as deal­ing with the pub­lic I’m deal­ing with con­trac­tors and make sure all con­tracts are kept up to stan­dard,’’ he says.

Fel­ton’s of­fice is in the CBD but his work cov­ers the whole of cen­tral Auck­land and in­cludes over­see­ing the main­te­nance of 60 parks which have 180 sports fields. These are lo­cated in Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki, Orakei, Puke­ta­papa, Waitem­ata, Al­bert-Eden and the gulf is­lands in­clud­ing Wai­heke.

He also works with lo­cal boards, com­mu­nity groups, sports clubs and res­i­dents pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice. ‘‘I love it,’’ Fel­ton says. ‘‘It’s an ex­cel­lent chance to get out and meet people and help ap­pease people’s ex­pec­ta­tions as much as we can . . . mak­ing beau­ti­ful parks ba­si­cally.’’

Auck­land has more than 4000 lo­cal and sports parks which are looked af­ter by about 80 rangers in­clud­ing part-time and ca­sual staff.

Three-quar­ters of them work in Auck­land’s 26 re­gional parks.

The 39-year-old Sil­verdale res­i­dent has qual­i­fi­ca­tions in turf man­age­ment and green keep­ing.

He man­ages field book­ings for weekend sport and works with con­trac­tors to make sure fields are in tip-top shape.

‘‘You get to go out into the park and meet the pub­lic and find out what people want and need.

‘‘And try and work that in with ev­ery­body’s ex­pec­ta­tions in the park.

‘‘It’s a very ful­fill­ing job.’’

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