New Zealand struggles to fill ‘spectacular’ wildlife job at Unesco World Heritage Site

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A job offering free accommodation, a daily commute that may involve a jet boat, and working in one of the Unesco World Heritage sites is struggling to find candidates.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) has been forced to widen its search for a new biodiversity manager in Haast, on the remote coast of the South Island, after receiving just three applications, according to information.

Based in Te Wahipounamu, the successful candidate will be responsible for the protection of endangered animals such as the Haast tokoeka kiwifruit, penguins and lizards at the 26,000 km2 site.

Filled with mountain ranges, beaches and forests, parts of the heritage site are only accessible by helicopter or jet boat and around 200 people live there.

“Haast is an extremely special place to live, surrounded by mountains and ocean, with endless activities for an outdoor enthusiast,” reads the job offer.

“The team recently discovered a new population of Haast tokoeka kiwi south of Haast, showing that this vast wilderness still holds some secrets yet to be discovered.”

DOC South Westland operations manager Wayne Costello told media outlet Stuff the job is “spectacular” but “not for everyone”.

With the nearest supermarket two hours away and the nearest hospital around four hours away, the role is quite isolated.

“You need to be self-sufficient and able to work outdoors. If you’re interested in opera and theater, this probably isn’t for you,” Costello said.

The salary offered is in the range of $72,610 to $92,780 (£36,546 to £46,699), but despite all this the job has not generated significant interest.

More than 20% increase in job offers

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne said the region was experiencing the same labor shortages as the rest of the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We currently have about 60% of pre-pandemic visitor numbers,” Milne said.

“Working holidaymakers are back home, but they’re still slow to find their way to the coast.”

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Earlier this month, the West Coast Regional Development Agency launched a new campaign seeking people to come and work for its local businesses.

“The Coast is a special place that attracts a special kind of people, and we’re looking for some more of them to fill great jobs,” Milne said in a statement.

“We’re looking for people who are tired of the crowds, cars and commercialism of the city, and who would prefer a little more space.”

Across New Zealand, many areas have reported labor and skills shortages, with jobs site SEEK reporting a 27% increase in vacancies on the west coast over the past of the past year.

Sky News

(c) Sky News 2022: New Zealand struggles to fill ‘spectacular’ wildlife job at UNESCO World Heritage Site

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