Graduate Profile

Brooke Hartigan - Biodiversity Advisor

Brooke Hartigan - Biodiversity Management

Biodiversity Advisor in Lakes

“I love the range of activity in this job and everything I did in my course is relevant.” 

Brooke is one of six in the Biodiversity team working for the Northland Regional Council and her job is Biodiversity Advisor in Lakes. “We have programmes in place to remove excess nutrients and plants from Northland’s outstanding lakes including our dune lakes, and my job is to monitor water quality, raise awareness of the issues and the value of the lakes and their environments, and to help upskill Kaimahi amongst our youth and local iwi.”

Brooke finished her degree in the middle of this year. “I did my course practicum with the Puketi Forest Trust, then last summer got 15 weeks doing monitoring work with the State of the Environment Team at the Northland Regional Council. That ended in March, then this job was advertised in April so I applied and got it. I was able to start working just two days a week until I finished my degree in June.”

“At the moment I’m working in the office planning our summer field work which will be doing lake surveys and ecological monitoring. I’m finding that the tutors gave us all the experience I need for this. I use the biology, ecology and conservation from my courses daily, as well as things like the research skills, report writing and presentation skills. I use 100 per cent of what I learned at NorthTec.”

“I have gained so much confidence since starting work here. I work with some very experienced people, and I realise now that I do have the knowledge to keep up, understand and participate in the team. I know what they’re talking about and I can offer my input with confidence, and I’m really enjoying making a difference in the environment.”

“I know that conservation is my passion and I’ve just started my career, so I’m really interested to see where this job takes me.”

Employer of Brooke Hartigan

Lisa Forester - Manager, Northland Regional Council

“Brooke’s job as Biodiversity Advisor for Lakes was a newly-created position that came about because of the Freshwater Improvement Fund (FIF) programme that is half-funded by the Ministry of Environment for the next five years. The programme has been approved as part of our long-term plan and Brooke applied for the position while she was still completing her degree.”

“She had worked as a summer student with the Pukenui Forest Trust so she had the capabilities. She is a very together young person who has the skills and is keen so we were happy for her to start with us just two days a week until she completed her studies. It suited us too because the FIF programme was still getting under way at that stage.”

“Brooke has been capable of everything we’ve thrown at her so far - from the physical field work, to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) skills, office and organisational skills and communication. She is hungry to learn about the lakes programme and it’s great to have someone self-motivated who has the ability to get on with the job and make decisions without being supervised. Brooke ticks all the boxes. While some of that is her personality, a lot of it is due to the comprehensive training she’s had in her NorthTec degree studies.”

“We’ve worked closely with NorthTec for years and often take on summer students including for our ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ summer programmes to protect our waterways. We’ll be looking for another student for our Coast Care and Wetland monitoring this summer, so any student from NorthTec or elsewhere is welcome to apply.”

“While Brooke’s job is linked with the five-year FIF programme, it is not dependent on that and her position will continue. Brooke has quite a career path ahead and will become indispensable if she continues the way she’s going. She will also be an expert in lakes and have a great range of skills so will be highly employable by any council in other departments too. We’re lucky to have her here.”

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