Hans Stoffregen, Senior Ranger
Born and bred near Hamburg in northern Germany, Hans Stoffregen has been a fan of the great outdoors for as long as he can remember. “Very early on, I was a nature-focused boy and, as I grew up, I also wanted to go travelling, so when I was 22 I bought a motorcycle and went travelling through Asia, Australia and New Zealand.”
A shipbuilder by trade, Stoffregen worked in shipyards in Germany and Perth, in the mines in Australia and as a boilermaker in Wellington. “But I didn’t want to stay in that industry so in 1990 I enrolled at [Wellington’s] Victoria University and did a Masters in Conservation Studies, and part of it included a placement with the DoC [Department of Conservation].”
That placement turned into a full-time job, and today Stoffregen is a senior manager for biodiversity, based in Takaka in the north of the South Island.
“I love the diversity of the work,” he says. “Every day is something different. You never know what’s going to come at you. We’re always improvising, make things up as we go along. There is no recipe.”
He’s lucky enough to work in a field where he can make a difference. “Ten or 20 years ago I planted trees, now they’re a forest. And we’re lucky in Golden Bay; we have some awesome programmes coming up. We’re engaged in all sorts of projects to control major pests and bring missing bits of flora and fauna back into the park. We’re even looking at bringing the endangered takahe into the area.”