Originally off a farm in the Gibbston Valley, Nita has lived in many parts of NZ, before returning to Central Otago to start a family in 2017. Nita has a background in Environmental Science and has worked in remote parts of the West Coast as well as spending a number of seasons working in Antarctica. Since 2016, she has worked in native reforestation in the Whakatipu basin and is currently a volunteer Trustee of Cromwell's Mōkihi Reforestation Trust.
“Nita’s background and experience make her the perfect candidate to push our restoration project in the right direction. The state of the current soil and wildlife from Deadmans Bridge to Lowburn Bridge is unprecedented and the correct management is critical. Her relationship with Mokihi Reforestation Trust and Wakatipu Reforestation Trusts means we can collaborate to repair our native ecosystems across the wider region to ensure the most successful outcome”, says Duncan Faulkner. “ After 6 months of policy and procedure writing, I will now return to my role as Chairperson and continue to advocate and work with stakeholders to improve the monitoring and management of our amazing lake and waterways.”
Nita’s main motivation to join the trust was knowing that Central Otago has lost so much of its indigenous cover, and without easily accessible forest or pockets of forest, the community has lost and forgotten what was here. “I think it is so important for the community to be able to see and connect with pockets of reforestation, that will, in turn, allow them to value our wildlife and get out to plant more. With Climate Change becoming such a pressing issue, having healthy ecosystems is key to our resilience (both the environment and our community) in adapting to a changing world,” says Nita.
“The Bridge to Bridge project is ambitious but will have a real impact on our community and I am excited to be the Project Manager for this Jobs for Nature funded project. It is not going to be without hard work and good planning as it has been heavily modified by human and pest activity since humans arrived 800 years ago. The trust is determined to make their first project a triumph and to give the community a valuable blueprint for future reforestation projects throughout our basin and along the rest of Lake Dunstan.”
While not at work, Nita is out exploring with her young family, biking, running or skiing. At home, the work doesn’t stop and she is tackling her own native reforestation and food-forest projects on her property near Bannockburn. Be sure to keep an eye out for Nita in the community and she looks forward to working with local groups, schools and volunteers to create a shoreline that promotes wildlife, adventure and relaxation.