Campbell Leckie may be a South Islander by birth, but he spent most of his teen and adult life in the North Island. When he took on the role as Project Director for the Predator Free Rakiura project, he was thrilled to finally visit the special island Predator Free Rakiura is aiming to restore. Campbell’s first impressions of Rakiura are captured below.
I was blessed with the perfect ferry crossing over the infamous Foveaux Strait – the sea was almost like glass it was so calm.
One of the things I’d heard about Rakiura in particular was the amount of rain it got, but as we pulled into Oban, I can remember the skipper saying, “Oh by the way, those of you who are staying over the next few nights, you might want to keep in mind that we’ve just about got a drought here so please conserve your water.” So that was quite ironic and funny.
Another enduring memory occurred at my next stop, when I reached my accommodation and immediately saw a kaka having a feed - which I thought was quite an unusual sight. Locals probably take this sort of sighting as fairly commonplace, but there's an awful lot of people who wouldn’t expect to see a kaka feeding so close by. I was completely struck by how special the place was in that moment.
My next stop was Observation Rock for a really quite spectacular view over Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera. As I took in the sweeping views from Paterson Inlet back to Oban township in Halfmoon Bay, I understood why people say there is a special character to the island.
I'm not much of a vegetable eater - my family give me a hard time about it, I'll make that clear - but when it was time for a meal I went into the pub and ordered the salmon salad. I've got to say it's an absolutely amazing salad! It was so delicious, I ordered it again the next night as well. This got some amusing comments from my family too!
I met a lot of people in my first few days on the island and they were really open and frank with me, which I appreciated. For me, the Predator Free Rakiura project is all about people, and I intend to make sure that when I'm regularly out on the island people can connect with me if they want to.
When I’m not on the island, please contact any member of the Predator Free Rakiura Engagement and Advisory Group to get in touch with me and talk about the project. I am really excited about what we can potentially achieve together.