Tāmaki Innovation Campus


A LIFE OF CONSERVATION SCIENCE


Mick Clout
Emeritus Professor Mick Clout

Emeritus Professor Mick Clout has had a long and interesting career at Tāmaki Campus, having been based here since joining the University of Auckland academic staff in 1993. He describes himself as vertebrate ecologist with longstanding interests in the ecology and conservation of native birds and the behaviour and management of invasive mammals.

His lifelong interest in bird conservation has led to him chairing the Kakapo Recovery Group for more than two decades and his work on mammalian pests has contributed to international efforts to control invasive species and the push for a predator-free New Zealand.

His conservation work and ecological research led to him being awarded the Charles Fleming Medal in 2007, the Sir Peter Scott Medal in 2008, Fellowship of the Royal Society of NZ in 2010, and the Marsden Medal (by the New Zealand Association of Scientists) in 2014. Mick is a current member of the NZ Conservation Authority, a statutory body on which he represents the Royal Society of NZ.

His background reflects his longstanding conservation interests, including working for the Department of Conservation as Science Manager, and in the far-off days of DSIR as a scientist in Nelson.

He recalls his early days at Tāmaki with affection. “Shortly after arriving at Tāmaki, I was invited by IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) to establish and lead the IUCN/SSC (Species Survival Commission) Invasive Species Specialist Group: an international group of experts on invasive species and conservation.

“Tāmaki became the world HQ of the ISSG from 1995 and several ISSG staff were based here over the years. It was a great team, some of whom are still based here.

 “Over the years at Tāmaki I’ve had the privilege of supervising many wonderful postgraduate students, studying the ecology and behaviour of introduced mammals (possums, rats, mice, stoats) and native birds (including the beautiful kereru). Several of these postgraduates have gone on to make great contributions to science and conservation.

“A research-related development at Tāmaki that I was involved in from the start was the establishment of the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity: a joint research centre between the university and Manaaki Whenua/Landcare Research. This followed Landcare Research moving their Auckland staff to a specially-designed new building on the Tāmaki Campus. MPI staff are also based in this building,” he says.

“Several Landcare staff have been jointly appointed to the Joint Graduate School (JGS) for Biodiversity & Biosecurity, which was established under the auspices of the CBB. Many postgraduate students have since been jointly supervised by university and Landcare staff.”

Although now officially retired, as an ‘emeritus professor’ Mick Clout still has an office at Tāmaki and is on campus most weeks. He believes the Tamaki Campus has been a great place to work and has made many good friends here.

“It is a sociable and pleasant environment and I will miss it greatly when the Campus finally closes later this year.”