Principal Advisory Scientist, Department of Conservation
Graeme started his academic career studying wetland birds (fernbirds and banded rails). Since the early 1980s he has been working on forest bird conservation starting with mohua (yellowheads) which he studied for his PhD. He moved onto kea and parakeets then got his first “proper” job with the Department of Conservation in 1995 as the scientist attached to the National Kakapo Team. After 10 years working on kakapo Graeme returned to his roots and again undertook research aimed at protecting a suite of forest birds, including mohua. This work was part of the Department of Conservation’s Operation Ark programme, which eventually morphed into the Department’s current “Battle for our Birds” which focusses on large scale pest control in native forests mostly using 1080 applied from the air. Graeme is now part of a team undertaking research to improve the efficacy of the current large-scale pest control tools and to quantify their costs and benefits. Since 1989 Graeme and his partner Kath Walker have made annual trips in their holidays to either the Auckland Islands or Antipodes Islands to carry out research on wandering albatrosses.