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Mike Weir

Apron and Wildlife Manager

5 August 2022

Meet Mike, our Apron and Wildlife Manager who splits his time between the airfield, the 10 acres where he breeds and trains dogs and the South Island high country. Find out more about the airfield’s special visitor, a New Zealand Falcon and other wildlife projects Mike works on. 

What do you love most about your job? Variety! Looking after both the apron (tarmac) and wildlife teams provides great variety, from liaising with airports across New Zealand and Australia, to working with worldwide wildlife groups, to driving down the runway on our checks, no two days are the same. I don’t just work with the immediate team but all the stakeholders and external companies also.

What’s been one of your favourite projects so far at Christchurch Airport? It has to be working in the wildlife area and helping our airport have an input into the ecological space around the airport.

We help manage and control high risk species to give native species in the area a better chance. An example of this is working with Environment Canterbury on the Waimakariri River to help keep southern black-backed gull (SBBG) numbers down. SBBGs predate on the other native species that inhabit the braided river beds, so we are helping to give them a chance to survive and recover.

What has led you to this career? I actually started by gaining a trade in cabinet making but had a number of friends growing up that worked at Auckland Airport. One day, a good friend’s father asked me if I wanted to try something new as there was a role going at Auckland Airport, I stayed there 11 years! I then moved down south for my wife Robyn and have been with Christchurch Airport for 8 years. It has been great to be able to turn one of my passions, wildlife management, into a career.

Favourite airport initiative? The Ronald McDonald House dinners that we do as a team. It’s so great to see the children and families’ faces when we cook them dinner and it’s really humbling to be part of. Christchurch Airport support some special charities but this one particularly resonates with me as my friend’s son was there during his treatment and the way they looked after him was incredible. It’s amazing to see the families so positive with everything they are going through and definitely puts your own problems into perspective.

Most exciting moment on the job? Once a year we get a New Zealand falcon turn up at the airport for a month or two. It is exciting to witness and special to see as they are normally found in more remote places. We like to have them around and don’t disturb their habits whilst they are visiting.

Most memorable Christchurch Airport experience? Assisting with repatriation flights during the COVID-19 pandemic will be a memory etched in my mind for the rest of my time here.

Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you? In 1991 I packed my bag and purchased a one-way ticket to the UK for my OE. On one adventure I spent two months backpacking throughout Egypt and Israel. There were so many incredible places I visited but the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings were special to witness given the rich history over thousands of years.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? I’m happy at home on our 10 acres, training and working with canine companions. We are down to four Labradors (Eden, Luna, Ted and Ivy), after recently losing our 14½ year old matriarch Nyah. We also breed Labradors and train other people’s dogs.  

If I’m not at home, you’ll find me in the South Island high country (usually with a dog by my side) hunting and getting away from all technology.

Biggest life accomplishment, thus far? That’s an easy one, my daughter Mikayla.

Where is your home town, and what’s its best-kept secret? I’m born and raised in Māngere, South Auckland. Having the harbour on each side and all the walking tracks felt like we could get out in nature, even though it’s a big city.

Where is your favourite winter escape? Anywhere Central Otago. I love the scenery and outlook down there and it’s stunning in the winter with snow on the surrounding mountains. It’s close to nature and there’s always something to do.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their career at the airport? If you like the idea of the aviation environment, just get your foot in the door and then the aviation industry and airport environment can take you into so many different areas and career paths.