Dan Steele - Conservation and tourism with farming
Dan Steele is the main driving force behind Blue Duck Station, central North Island, with the Retaruke River close by and Whanganui National Park on the boundary, it is the ideal place for a conservation minded man and his family.
The 1440ha station the cattle and sheep are important, but looking after the environment is always foremost in the running of the property. As a committed conservationist and a committed Ducks Unlimited member birds, particularly Whio (Blue Ducks), receive special care.
By allowing 800ha of land to regenerate, the bird life is returning along with the regeneration of the bush. There are 450 predator traps in use, water quality in streams and rivers has improved, and bird numbers continue to increase. Kereru and tui in particular, plus there are brown kiwi, native bats, and native fish.
Dan and his family, and his parents living next door, are all keen on seeing the conservation side increase. Young visitors from around the world are welcome at Blue Duck Station, where they are known as Eco Warriors, helping with the conservation programme jobs that take time and they get educated along the way.
But it is not only the backpackers who head for Blue Duck Station, Dan has built accommodation, and tourists are welcome. Hunting, horse-trekking, kayaking, hiking and even bush safaris are offered.
Dan has been a director of DUNZ for some time now, and has recently taken over the important role of auctioneer for fund raising at the annual DU AGM.