September 23, 2022

Our People: Dani McBride (Rural Design)

Since her from Auckland to Northland five years ago, Dani McBride’s career has flourished.

But working alongside the team at the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme throughout 2022 has given her even more drive to make a positive contribution to the environment.

While Rural Design provides ecological consultancy and wholesale native plant supply, it is the native revegetation planting services to KMR that she is especially looking forward to ramping up – especially since she is in charge of overseeing delivery of plants from the nursery to planting jobs.

For someone who grew up in urban London before moving to Auckland to finishing her schooling, Dani’s career has progressed remarkably well after leaving school in 2014 to complete her Primary ITO Level 3 Certificate in Horticulture.

In early 2022, Dani was announced as runner up in the 2021 Young Horticulturist (Kaiahuone rangatahi o te tau) of the Year competition. As well as being the NZ Plant Producers Industry Young Achiever representative. She also won the Countdown Innovation Project valued at $5000 and Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award in the competition, a $2500 Massey University study scholarship, $750 ICL Specialty Fertilisers, plus membership to the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science.

The judges’ comments on Dani’s innovation concept were as follows:

“Dani presented a ready-to-go innovation, showing the judges her high level of attention to detail, due diligence and business forecasting. Dani has business acumen to turn her concept into a successful business venture.”

Now four and a half years into her work with Kaiwaka-based Rural Design, Dani says her journey has been filled with surprises and plenty of personal and professional growth. And she would love to see more people involved in the sector given how many career opportunities there are to care for the environment.

In describing her role with KMR, Dani says it is diverse.

“I make plant lists and provide plant supply quotes for landowners via KMR. It is important work as we need to get as many plants in the ground as quickly possible and improve the harbours water quality and habitats of the land in and around the Kaipara Harbour. And it’s a bonus for landowners that KMR will cover half of the cost with them,” she says.

Dani believes the KMR programme will allow future generations to see the Kaipara catchment in a healthy and fruitful state.

“It will also teach them an appreciation of the journey undergone for many years to restore the Kaipara Harbour and its inhabitants through a combined effort various people and organisations.

“Over the next few years I am really hopeful that KMR will continue to provide lots of work and lots of restoration opportunities. And I am also hopeful that many species of flora and fauna that are struggling or in decline in this catchment can re-populate and thrive in an improved environment through the regenerative work we are all doing.”

Dani says key areas to help the programme succeed in restoring the health and mauri of the Kaipara Moana include clear communication and foresight between all those involved.

“If we start the conversations now for restoration for the Kaipara we can plan and ensure that over the next however many years, we are prepared and can provide what this project requires. An all hands-on-deck approach by landowners who realise the potential of the land and the potential for betterment is really important. So is the fact KMR will continue to provide those funding opportunities to those who can use them.

“By pushing the KMR story out there for all to see and by having multiple nurseries to grow and nurture millions of native amount of plants in years to come year – to be used specifically for the KMRS purpose – well it can only be a good for us all.”

Dani is not shy in sharing the kaupapa with friends, family and industry colleagues. She is vocal about the nature of the work within the community, especially through social media channels.

“This is an opportunity to restore the health and quality of the Kaipara Harbour to ensure its survival for years to come, and again, enable the flora and fauna of the catchment to thrive,” says Dani.

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