Environment Canterbury rivers officer learning the lay of the land


Environment Canterbury Kaikōura’s new rivers officer Mike Gilliver was born in Whakatāne but has called Kaikōura home since moving here with his family in 2000, at just five years old. He has been with Environment Canterbury since early March and although he’s still learning the ropes, he’s keen to build on the great work of Pete Adams, previous rivers officer for Kaikōura.

“What Pete did in the past is very effective and worked well. I’m always keen to hear new ideas and try new things, but it’s important to know, understand and respect the methods that work,” Mike says. “The rivers have been altered over the years so I’m keen to get stuck in and see how we can manage human impact, while protecting and enhancing our rivers. “Being so close to both the mountains and the sea makes Kaikōura’s rivers pretty unique, so it’s important we do what we can to let them flow how they’re meant to,” he says.

Previous roles prove useful

Mike previously worked in earth works, pest control and weed control in Kaikōura, so had an idea what the role would entail. “What I was doing before and what I’m doing now has a fair bit of crossover. Being into hunting and the outdoors, I already had a fair idea about Kaikōura’s river network, so thought the job sounded like a good fit. “I’m not really nautical, so staying on land was a preference,” he laughs.

Standard river maintenance plays a large part in what Mike does, including cleaning gravel traps in river systems and weed control. During weather events, Mike plays a key role in monitoring river levels and coordinating contractors should immediate works be needed in the rivers.  

Rivers role connects with community

Mike’s favourite part of the role is connecting with people. “Meeting landowners and hearing the history of all the waterways and river schemes is definitely the most interesting part of my role,” he says. “There’s some pretty good stories and experiences that are important to know and understand.” When asked what he has found the hardest, he says his previous experience in earthworks has helped and that nothing has come as a surprise, yet.

Mike is based in the Kaikōura Environment Canterbury office. To get in touch, you can call the Kaikōura office on (03) 319 5781.

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10 August 2021