Love of the outdoors lands Inger Perkins walking access role
A lifelong love of the outdoors and a passion for the natural environment made Inger Perkins jump at the chance to work for the New Zealand Walking Access Commission as a regional field advisor with responsibility for the West Coast.
“The Commission was seeking someone passionate about New Zealand’s lakes, beaches, rivers and mountains. I saw the ad and immediately thought, ‘that’s me’,” said Ms Perkins.
“I am passionate about the outdoors, partly from a conservation point of view and partly from a simple, enjoyment perspective. I’m thrilled to be taking on this role, which I see as being about encouraging people to get out and explore, and encouraging them to understand their responsibilities.”
She attributes her love of nature to her upbringing in the picturesque English county of Kent, and family holidays in Scotland and the Lake District where she was always encouraged to roam and explore.
In her new role, Ms Perkins will be working alongside newly-appointed Penny Wardle (Marlborough) to champion public access at the top of the South Island. The two replace former regional field advisor Chris Tonkin.
Ms Perkins’ previous job was with the Department of Conservation (DOC), where she spent 11 years. She initially worked in DOC’s corporate area before taking a more hands-on role as a community relations ranger.
“Generally speaking, what interests me is the idea of helping people become more attuned to nature, more aware of their surroundings and their natural heritage,” she said.
Ms Perkins also manages the West Coast Penguin Trust, a community conservation trust working to conserve penguins, seabirds and the coastal environment in this region.
She joins the Commission’s team of 12 regional field advisors across the country, charged with negotiating access, helping to resolve disputes and raising awareness of responsible behaviour and New Zealand’s outdoor heritage.
The Commission’s chief executive Mark Neeson said Ms Perkins’ background and positive approach will be invaluable to the Commission’s work in the West Coast.
“We’re privileged to have someone like Inger on board, who is both very experienced and deeply passionate about the outdoors,” Mr Neeson said.
Ms Perkins joined the Commission on January 18 and has already begun receiving access-related queries from landowners.