Spotlight on Phil Salisbury

Island manager Phil Salisbury was eight years' old when he first moved to Rotoroa. His father was a Salvation Army house manager, caring for the welfare of male patients.

"I loved my time on the island, even the rainy days were good!" says Phil, who spent three formative and idyllic years enjoying the freedom Rotoroa had to offer.

"After school work was done, I spent my time exploring the island with other island kids - at the beach and in the trees building huts. The whole time we were interacting with the environment - the farm animals, penguins, sea birds, orca and dolphins, watching big storms and enjoying the freedom we had to roam the island - all the things you don't get to do in the city."

Phil and his wife Ginnene moved back to Rotoroa in 2006 when the island's restoration began. Their twin boys Aaron and Cody, now aged nine, have lived on the island since the age of two.

"I wanted my boys and Ginnene to experience Rotoroa as I had - that sense of freedom - to have nature on your doorstep and learn about the importance of looking after our native plants and animals.

"In the future, I would like Rotoroa to become a special place for everyone, especially children interested in conservation. Rotoroa shaped me as a person. I met some really neat people, both patients and staff, and I'd like to think it will help shape the way people think about conservation in the future."

Posted by Angela Bishop on November 13, 2013