Introducing Pete Armstrong

24th March 2021

Pete Armstrong, our new ARANZ trustee kicks off our new series on A Rocha Kiwis #ARochaKiwis – featuring people of ARANZ across the country. Our series will also contribute to A Rocha International Humans of A Rocha series.

What do you do with A Rocha and how did you start getting involved?

I’m Pete Armstrong, at work I’m an electrical engineer and a senior manager at an electricity distribution network.  I’m married to Carolyn and have three children aged 16, 14 and 12, and we live in Hamilton. I have just joined as a A Rocha Trustee and I’m looking forward to learning more about all that the organisation does. I’ve also been volunteering for the Karioi Project, tending a predator trapline to protect the ōi and other birdlife on the mountain. I was introduced to A Rocha through friend and former flatmate Andrew Shepherd.

When and why did you become interested in conservation / caring for creation?

I grew up on a lifestyle block in Northland with a stand of native bush and a creek running through it, watching the kererū and tūī flying around. I learnt to love outdoor creation through day walking and later tramping in our national parks and snorkelling at the Goat Island marine reserve. Contrasting these pristine iconic experiences of Aotearoa NZ with when we’ve got things wrong, like air pollution in Christchurch and the lower Waikato water quality has been sobering.

How does your faith impact your work?

In the electrical supply industry, we are preparing to support the large-scale de-carbonisation of transport and process heat, in order for New Zealand to meet our climate change targets. That is going to be a significant challenge, as more renewable generation, transmission and distribution capacity will have to be built to enable electric vehicles and process heat conversion to proceed. I’m excited that my work in industry can contribute towards this effort, and that the intended outcome, a more sustainable climate and preservation of our environment, lines up with my faith.

Tell us about one of your favourite A Rocha memories.

I’ve managed to convince my 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son to come with me on the 2.5 hour walk to check the predator trapline on Mt Karioi that I’ve been tending. It’s a steep climb in places, initially with the sound of the sea in your ears then fading to just be the sound of your puffing and occasionally a kererū powerfully wafting through the bush. I hear tūī several times each trip, and once a bell bird was singing right overhead. At different times of year there are native blossom like rewarewa on the ground, or berries of various types. Every trip is rewarding – if you caught nothing then maybe we’re winning and there aren’t many pests out there. Or if you did trap some rats, you’ve struck a blow for the native birds that belong to this beautiful mountain.

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