A few years ago, Rod Smillie found himself sharing a hut deep in Whanganui National Park with a couple of Israeli secret service officers who had come to New Zealand for a holiday.
The men talked about the situation in Israel. One of the officers had a PhD in nuclear physics. “When you’re stuck in a hut in the middle of nowhere, the only thing you can do is talk. You meet some amazing people,” Rod says.
A lifelong passion for the outdoors, coupled with his interest in people prompted Rod to take on the role of regional field advisor for the New Zealand Walking Access Commission, for the Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu regions. Rod, an ex-farmer, brings plenty of experience to the role, having worked 14 years for the Department of Conservation (DOC) and 25 years in search and rescue operations.