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.
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.’’