Post sponsored by

Source: Department of Conservation

This month Dion Patterson, Living Water site lead for the Waikato Peat Lakes, celebrates 30 years at DOC. Dion tells us about the little spark that lit the way to a career of purpose and passion. 

Dion Patterson was 13 years old when he went on a family tramp to the Ruapane Lookout on Mount Pirongia, Waikato.

“While up there my father told me about cullers – professional hunters paid to hunt goats and deer,” says Dion. “So set a little flicker of light in the back of my mind.  My father did a little bit of hunting, but this only resulted in two or three hunting opportunities for me in my early teens. So I didn’t give it too much thought.”

Dion left school at age 16 and started an engineering apprenticeship.

But still, the flicker. The collection of moments making up our lives mostly pass without us giving them much thought, and pivotal moments may unfold undetected until decades later, when we look back in search of the initial spark, the tiny flash of light that set a fire blazing for a lifelong pursuit of purpose.

“I wasn’t too long into the workforce before a couple of mates and I decided hunting would be a good recreational pursuit,” says Dion. “So it was into the local Police station for a permit to buy a rifle and then straight down to the local gun shop.”