News | 14 April 2020
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Arborist saves the day for two nurses

Removing a tree that had fallen on the cars of two nurses so they could get to work at the hospital was all in a day’s work for Senior Arborist Ryan Hopps.

Senior Arborist Ryan Hopps has spent the last two years working at Wellington City Council.
Senior Arborist Ryan Hopps has spent the last two years working at Wellington City Council.

Ryan has been working as an arborist for about 15 years and has spent his last two with Wellington City Council.

During the Covid-19 lockdown he has been responding to emergency call-outs and says it was during the first weekend of the shutdown that stormy weather got the best of a tree in Hataitai and it crashed down onto two parked cars.

“The people who owned those cars were both nurses. One of them had work that day so we had to get there quick smart so she could get to the hospital. The windy weather caused a number of small trees to fall over that day and unfortunately this one hit their cars.” 

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As well as helping the two essential workers, Ryan has been to call-outs to clear busy tracks blocked by fallen trees, and to trim broken branches threatening to fall on pathways.

“We make it safe for the public.”

Ryan works as part of WCC’s Parks, Sport & Recreation team. He spent the first few days of the lockdown putting up signs at Wellington’s 110 public playgrounds advising people not to use the equipment, to keep children safe and reduce potential community spread of the virus during the pandemic.

Most emergency call-outs the tree team respond to are weather related, arising from high winds or heavy rainfall causing slips. Ryan says he really enjoys working in Wellington, but the colourful climate did take a bit of getting used to, having moved here from Australia’s Newcastle.

“You know what Wellington is like – we have a lot of rain and a lot of wind – and if you didn’t work in the wind and the rain, you wouldn’t get much done.”

Ryan says the Capital’s weather has certainly made him more resilient, and he wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else.

“I enjoy my job and working for the council is great. I love being outdoors and being in nature. Some days we’ll be walking through Otari-Wilton Bush or the Botanical Gardens, and other times we’ll be up at the Town Belt.

“We might be in the bush one day and the next we’ll be driving along the water and doing work on trees at Scorching Bay. You get to see all the different places in Wellington.”

As well as attending emergency call-outs, Ryan’s job includes taking part in revegetation days, street planting new subdivisions, and pruning the city's 14,000 street trees.