Principal Advisor, Ecology and Principal Science Advisor, Ecosystems, (2), Terrestrial Science Unit, Biodiversity Group, Hamilton | Hamilton

Posted on 10-May-2019
Application close date: 17-Jun-2019
Position type:
Job reference:
  • Key leadership roles in conservation science
  • Opportunity to influence and shape conservation outcomes and research


The Department of Conservation's (DOC) vision is for New Zealand to be the greatest living space on Earth. It is responsible for some of the most important issues facing New Zealand: how to look after our unique environment in a way that benefits current and future generations. It grapples with issues as challenging as maintaining our unique biodiversity and providing for the increasing number of tourists coming to visit our beautiful places.


In 2018 DOC received a significant funding boost in 2018 of $181.6 million over four years.   This is one of the biggest funding increases that DOC has ever received, and it will benefit New Zealand's native plants, wildlife and natural landscapes.  $76 million of this funding is for biodiversity initiatives across land, freshwater and marine ecosystems, which means that DOC's Biodiversity Group is expanding in order to deliver its ambitious new work programme.


Within the Terrestrial Science Unit, a new Principal Advisor role has been created and a second opportunity for a Principal Science Advisor has arisen due to the re-scoping of an existing role. These roles are excellent opportunities to provide strategic, science and technical thought leadership across some of the most complex and challenging conservation issues facing New Zealand.


Our Principal Advisors are expert practitioners and provide professional leadership to DOC staff on science support and technical guidance. They play a leadership role in supporting Directors, Managers, and Principal Advisors for Science Investment by lifting the capability and aspirations of Science and Technical Advisors in the Biodiversity Group, through coaching, mentoring and fostering culture of learning.


Both roles require candidates with expertise in applied science at PhD level and 10+ years of experience in the natural sciences.  Candidates must be experts in their fields, locally and ideally, internationally. Underpinning their professional credibility, candidates will be known as highly effective strategic leaders, influencers, networkers, collaborators and communicators.


Principal Science Advisor, Ecosystems

This role sits in the Science Team (Southern) and will provide leadership across DOC on science and research programmes related to threatened ecosystems. This position is pivotal in ensuring that a strategic approach for threatened ecosystems research provides the basis to inform work on the ground and there is a robust framework that prioritises and tracks this work.   Importantly, this role is expected to provide strategic and technical advice to DOC's leadership and the Minister of Conservation so that more threatened terrestrial ecosystems are protected.

Candidates must have expertise in threatened ecosystems, animal/plant interactions or community ecology and significant experience leading science and research programmes and projects on threatened ecosystems nationally and/or internationally.   An understanding of conservation legislation and environment resource management court processes is desirable.

This role can be Dunedin or Christchurch based. 


Principal Advisor, Ecology

This new role sits in the Strategy team within the Terrestrial Science Unit. The Principal Advisor, Ecology leads DOC's strategic approach to ensure that species, habitats and other resources of interest to DOC (including the national priorities for biodiversity) are recognised in the Resource Management Act (RMA) and other significant statutory decisions. This role is expected to provide authoritative evidence-based advice that ensures better conservation outcomes are achieved within statutory processes. Additionally, the role also expected to oversee and lead research programmes to address knowledge gaps that will help strengthen conservation outcomes within statutory processes.

 This role requires candidates with a deep knowledge of conservation legislation, local and regional consenting processes and resource management in a judicial context. (Equivalent experience in other international jurisdictions will also be considered.)  Experience as an expert witness in environment court settings is desirable. Candidates must have a PhD in terrestrial science, ecology or natural sciences, although other relevant disciplines may be considered.

This role can be based in Auckland, Hamilton or Wellington.


APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 5pm, Monday 17 June 2019
FURTHER ENQUIRIES:  Simon Urquhart-Hay or Annabel McCallum at JacksonStone on 04 550 8000


For the right candidates DOC is open to discussing the possibility of flexible working arrangements for these roles. Applicants can apply for one, or both, of these roles.  To apply, please provide a CV and cover letter and indicate which role(s) interest you and what your location preference(s) are.  We welcome applications from suitable candidates outside of New Zealand and Australia that meet the eligibility criteria to work in New Zealand. 



DOC is committed to a diverse workforce that represents the communities we serve, and to creating an inclusive workplace culture.

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