Growing up on the eastern edge of Scotland’s Glasgow, Jim Livingstone realised early on he had two choices in life. “It was either, go west to the city and experience the rough and tumble or go east to the fields and forests for more wholesome activities. In the end, I enjoyed the best of both.”
In the end, living and working close to nature won out. “In mid-70s Britain, the Forestry Commission presented by far the best opportunity to achieve that, and so I was the token Scotsman on the 1985 intake to England’s National School of Forestry,” he recalls.
He worked in Grizedale Forest in the Lake District, Wester Ross in north-west Scotland, and the Isle of Skye. On a trip to Australia, he become involved in native forest harvesting in the Otway Ranges in Victoria, a mortal sin he says he’s still repenting. “Fortunately I later found myself living in Zurich where I studied and worked in forestry and landscape architecture. This was a period of cultural enlightenment.”
Jim came to New Zealand in late 2002, attracted by the “best quality of life on offer anywhere”. And, he says, “almost 15 years ago, I was Johnny on the spot, talking to the right person at the right time to secure a short contract on Mangere Island in the Chatham archipelago a few days after arriving. In the ensuing years, I’ve enjoyed tremendously fulfilling roles in scenic and remote locations, from Mana Island, Pureora Forest, Raoul Island in the Kermadecs, Franz Josef and now Motueka.”
Primarily involved in protecting and recovering endangered native ecosystems and bird species, Livingstone contributes to animal ethics and kiwi recovery. “I’m proud to be part of a committed team improving biodiversity in Abel Tasman National Park, working with great people to achieve magnificent things in the best places.”