Staff Profile

Ben Barr NorthTec Tutor

Ben Barr

Conservation Tutor

I was lucky enough to grow up in New Zealand dividing my time between exploring the bush reserve in my Auckland backyard, and fossicking around the family farm at Kaukapakapa. From an early age I was intrigued with wildlife and I had a misspent youth watching David Attenborough’s “Our World”. I formed a gecko club at the age of 7, and although we never found an actual gecko, my fascination with New Zealand reptiles was born.

I never considered it possible to have a career doing what you love, but doing a Science degree has made that a reality for me. I completed my BSc in Australia and then returned home where I worked for DOC around New Zealand.

Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful places with our most special animals, including monitoring kiwi and takahe in the Fiordland mountains, managing stitchbird on Kapiti Island, determining nesting success of fantails in the shadow of Mt Cook, protecting kiwi in the Volcanic Plateau and wrangling giant weta and tuatara on the Poor Knight’s Islands.

I returned to study in 2007 to do an MSc researching the impacts of rats on one of NZ’s most rare and special lizards (the chevron skink on Great Barrier Island).

I moved back to Northland in 2009 and have been working as an ecologist for DOC, and then as the ranger on Matakohe-Limestone Island - a kiwi crèche and fantastic restoration project right here in Whangarei.

I began tutoring at NorthTec in 2013, where I hope to inspire a new wave of passionate conservation managers and ecologists.