Built To Give Back

5-mins with Sir Rob Fenwick

5mins with_Rob Fenwick

What keeps you awake at night?

Something that really troubles me is a disconnection growing urban populations have with nature. City people, specially kids, are becoming more remote from understanding where food comes from and having experiences with nature: the forest and the beach. There are some impressive organisations trying to manage this: Enviro Schools, Kids Restore NZ, Kiwis for Kiwi, Peter Blake Trust, Garden to Table – are a few.Time with nature is hugely important; I wish it was compulsory in schools.

What gets you up in the morning?

I have discovered that I can’t help being busy – I need a plan and I can’t imagine waking up with nothing to do. I’ve got to have a project.

What’s your signature meal?

Oysters. Raw and fresh – just out of the ocean is the best way to enjoy them. In fact, I love all seafood and we’re so lucky in New Zealand.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You need to fall in love with an idea, rather than the naked quest for wealth. A great idea you’re passionate about will fulfil you – whether it’s your own business or a job; being passionate helps define purpose.

Tell us your favourite place in New Zealand

Te Matuku Bay at the bottom end of Waiheke Island has become our retreat. It’s a forest restoration project we have been working on for 30 years and is the place I go to feed my soul.  I feel we should try to see as much of our own country first – adventures in New Zealand open your eyes to new landscapes and experiences.

What challenges do you think NZ is facing?

The two shadows over our land are : destruction by predators of our wondrous native bird life and the accelerating threat of climate change. 

Find out more about how Kiwibank and kiwi communities are stepping up to the conservation challenge in their own backyard in The Conservation Conversation.