Long-serving fishery officer seizes new opportunities
Thursday 30 March 2006
Fishery patrols, undercover operations, 4WD adventures – he’s been there, done that, and after 32 years of service fishery officer Warren Brown is hanging up his paua measurer and heading for the hills.
Warren, the Ministry’s longest-serving fishery officer, joined the [then] Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in 1974. He was initially based in Auckland but has spent his career in a number of different regions - Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Whangarei, Gisborne, and the Bay of Islands, to name a few.
Warren has seen many changes during his time at MFish, particularly in terms of how honorary fishery officers are managed. Having spent a number of years as co-ordinator for the northern region’s HFOs, he has been instrumental in the improvement of the HFO programme. “In the old days, the HFOs weren’t very well trained or coordinated. The ad-hoc management style wasn’t very conducive to presenting a professional fishery officer to the community. However, there’s been a huge improvement in the last few years. HFO’s may be difficult to recruit, but the ones we do have are better trained, better equipped and more effective in assisting us with fisheries management”.
Having been based in Kaitaia for the last two and a half years, Warren is a well-known local figure and can often be found checking recreational catches at the beach. He is highly skilled in a variety of areas – such as diving, four-wheel driving, vessel handling, and field surveillance – and is always happy to pass these skills on to others.
Fishery officer Harvey Fergusson says Warren will be missed. “Warren has been involved in a number of fishery operations and is skilled in all aspects of fishery surveillance. He is a great mentor for new staff learning the ropes. And he’s a legend at four-wheel driving who can get vehicles into, and sometimes out of, places you wouldn’t believe.”
Warren has fond memories of his years both at MAF and then the Ministry of Fisheries. “One particular highlight in my career was being the first fishery officer to man the Fishery Control Centre and receiving the first message from the Navy and Defence Department while on the first watch. I have also had the opportunity to work with some of the most skilled fishery officers in the country. It has always felt like a happy working family where everyone was willing to help out and share their skills.
“The Ministry I feel is a world leader in terms of fisheries management and if they continue to focus on sustainability I know that my grandchildren will have the same pleasures I had in what was given to us all by Tangaroa.”
Warren is leaving the Ministry to move back to his Türangawaewae in Te Hapua, the northernmost town in New Zealand. After a four-month break to focus on his bach renovation, he will be seeking to have an input into helping to protect the flora and fauna in the far North.