From pest control to financial management, Westpac’s Barry Hyde uses his annual Volunteer Day to help both people and planet.


Are you from Auckland? I live in Tauranga and commute up here for work a few days a week. I live in a mate’s garage that we’ve repurposed into a flat. Fully insulated. But my home is in Tauranga.

How do you get to Britomart? I walk from Grey Lynn. I love to walk along the waterfront, through the Viaduct. That’s my happy place on the way back home.

What do you do here? I am a part of the technology risk team. Looking at risks and issues with technology platforms.

What do you like about working here? Culture. Everyone’s here for a good time as well as working hard, so there’s a lot of banter and joviality to counterbalance the pressure. The culture within the wider organisation too.  Everybody smiles and says hello and wants to talk to you. It’s very different to a lot of places I’ve come to work.

What’s your idea of fun? I volunteer for a group called the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust and I do stoat trapping and pest control down there. That’s the best place in the world. That’s where you can forget everything. I had an opportunity last year, with my volunteer day here at Westpac, to take the team that I was working with down there, and they spent a day out on the trap lines with me, learning about the trapping and being out in that environment. In 500 or 600-year-old bush, and it’s all native. It’s just beautiful. I spend about a day a fortnight out there doing that. It’s an excuse for me to spend an entire day out in the bush. Sometimes I take my girls, go out to some remote waterfalls.

Who did you volunteer for your volunteer day this year? I did the Managing Your Money facilitating. It’s this really cool programme that they offer to anyone and everyone from 5-6 years old, to 11-12 year olds, to senior groups, people that work in corporate environments. It’s about sound financial advice. There’s a range of topics that we cover. Budgeting, savings, understanding spending habits, saving habits. It’s delivered on sound principles. It’s making people aware of what tools are out there to help them make them more financially secure, and make smarter decisions with their money.

What’s your favourite thing to spend money on? Well, I’m fortunate enough to have I have someone who reminds me about how much I am and aren’t allowed to spend. I really enjoy mountain biking, and it’s amazing how  quickly your money can disappear when you start buying a new bike, or a new helmet, or new pedals. Because there’s the cheap versions, and then there’s the really cool expensive versions. Your $15,000 carbon fibre bike takes a lot of justification, but there is a lot of daydreaming that goes on. There is a bike I will buy before the end of the year, it won’t be that bike, but it’s still a very good one. It’s a couple of steps up from the bike I’m on now. I’ll do a 100k race event with it. Just for fun.

If you could do any job in the world what would you do? I enjoy what I do, but part of my previous job history, I was a military dog handler, which is the most incredible job I’ve ever had. So any job working with dogs would be great. If I were a few years younger, I would love to be a dog handler out there doing the pest control with dogs.

You volunteer a lot, don’t you? My philosophy at the moment is all around doing what I can. What I want is for when my kids think of me after I’ve disappeared is to go: “Dad made this change in other people’s lives.” But It’s just a few days a month. Some people would rather donate money. I’ll donate my time. So long as people do something, then it’s all for the greater good.

Photo and interview by Florence Noble