Congratulations to Mike Gillies, who has been selected as the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s 2018/2019 season Conservation Ambassador.
A keen heritage carpentry hobbyist, Mike is a Recreation/Historic Ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) and resides in Murchison, where he regularly works in remote locations in the Nelson Lakes National Park.The Conservation Ambassador initiative offers conservators or other heritage experts in the early stages of their career the opportunity to work on the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project in Antarctica, the world’s largest cold-climate heritage conservation project. This year AHT partnered with DOC to find a Conservation Ambassador to work alongside our experts, and develop their skills in a unique and challenging environment.
With a Bachelor of Recreation Management (Parks) from Lincoln University and nine years working as a Ranger for DOC, heritage conservation is both a profession and passion for Mike, who has a fascination for traditional building techniques, particularly historic hut building in New Zealand.
As Conservation Ambassador, Mike will support AHT to implement the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of Hillary’s, Shackleton’s and Scott’s Huts on Ross Island.
Along with his backcountry skills, Mike’s expertise includes hewing and dressing timber using axe and adze, making wooden roofing shingles, and traditional timber joinery. He is an avid collector of historic wood working hand tools, as well as traditional carpentry and woodworking publications.
Mike says he couldn’t believe his luck when the Conservation Ambassador role came up, as although he’d long been captivated by stories and images of Antarctica, he’d never foreseen an opportunity to actually get there.
“I am incredibly keen to participate in this programme and view heritage conservation in the toughest climate in the world.”
Welcome to the team Mike!