Megan Dimozantos, the new president of FMC, is known to many in the outdoors community for her extensive work with FMC, Backcountry Trust, LandSAR, Rotorua Bike Festival and her regular written contributions to Backcountry Magazine.
I caught up with Megan online over a second-morning coffee to find out about some topics not covered in her election campaign. From her home office in Rotorua, which she shares with dogs Spud and Paddi, she talked about her favorite backcountry snacks, latest adventures and mostly about her vision for the future of FMC.
Most important – what’s your favorite outdoors snack?
Since it’s still morning – what’s the best way to start the day?
First thing I do, when I get out of bed, are a set of push-ups and a set of sit-ups. It’s nice to just do something that gets me moving.
If you could be a native bird for a day, which one would you be and why?
I am totally a kea. I’m a bit cheeky, I like to have fun in the bush and in the hills. I’m pretty noisy too. I’m definitely a kea.
As the North Island Project Manager for Backcountry Trust, Megan’s job is to support teams of volunteers maintaining huts and track on Public Conservation Land.
Which is the skill that you don’t have, but you most admire in others or wish you would have it?
The ability to just “let things be”.
Which is the skill that you have and is so good, you wish you could share it with others?
People have told me that I “just get things done”. I’m not exactly sure how I do that, so I guess it’s a bit of a superpower that would be good to share with other people!
There are many ways to protect and enable access to the public land. Clearing the windfall is only one of them. Kaweka Forest Park.
Which FMC related achievements are you most proud of?
Having Mokai station access reinstated. And the Te Urewera article in the Backcountry Magazine.
What are your future goals with FMC?
There are four main things that are important to me.
Firstly, we have seven new members on the Executive Board and I’m really keen to get them up and running so they can get cracking on some projects.
Our work needs to be relevant. I am keen to step back and see what’s most important to our members, produce beneficial outcomes for our members and do the most relevant work to support these outcomes. One of the most pertinent issues I see for our members right at this moment is the situation with our backcountry huts and tracks network and overdue maintenance.
We need to build trust with iwi and develop meaningful relationships with them. I would like to see our Executive Board to be culturally competent, for our team to get a good understanding of how these relationships work and how to build them. I’m keen to provide opportunities to learn and develop this awareness, each of us at our own speed. We also need to enhance the connections that we have with other NGOs and DOC.
We need to ensure we are flexible and nimble in our advocacy approaches. Every situation is different, some will require a firm hand, some legal action, others cups of tea. We need to use these tools selectively and with real purpose. We need to be agile to move with the changing landscape.
Megan below Arawhata saddle, Olivine Wilderness area.
What is your first memory of connecting with the outdoors?
It was probably quite late. I was around 17, when I started climbing. I guess it was my first lead climb outdoors in the Blue mountains. That would certainly be the memory of the outdoors that has had the most impact on me.
What is your most memorable adventure in the outdoors?
Last year in October, I did the first descent of the Gorge river on the West Coast, in pack rafts, with two of my mates. Snowballs glaciers in the Olivine Wilderness area with Pete was also a pretty special experience.
Tramping solo in Waioeka Conservation Area, Manganuku Stream.
When you’re not in the hills you are…?
It doesn’t happen often, but I’m working on my house at the moment, a bit of woodworking. I’m also transforming my garden, removing pest species and replacing them with natives. It’s nice to be grounded somewhere.
FMC thanks Megan for her commitment to outdoor recreation and protection of our backcountry for future generations. We look forward to her leading our team as the new 2023-2024 FMC President. To learn more about FMC’s mission, please visit our website.