DOC director-general Lou Sanson will leave the role in September after eight years at the helm of the department.
In a statement, Sanson said: “It’s time for me to get back into the nature I love and grew up in.”
He said he plans to work in environmental and social governance and volunteer for the Predator Free 2050 movement and the Backcountry Trust, and maybe try his hand at hut-bagging.
“I would love to catch Brian Dobbie’s amazing record of backcountry huts he has been to across New Zealand,” he said. (Good luck Lou, Brian looks pretty unbeatable.)
Sanson started working in conservation in 1971, working as a track cutter in Copland Valley and then for the Forest Service. From 1987, he helped set up DOC as Invercargill’s first district conservator, and in 2002 headed Antarctica New Zealand, before being appointed DOC director-general in 2013.