Hugh is an active climber and ski mountaineer. Previously he has headed the New Zealand Antarctic programme, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry for the Environment. He currently chairs a body known as the Land and Water Forum, a peak body advising the New Zealand government on freshwater management policy. In his student days Hugh worked at Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park as a park assistant. He has climbed and played through the mountain lands of New Zealand and is a advocate of handing them on to future generations preserved in their natural state so that, in the words of the New Zealand National Parks Act, “the public shall have freedom of entry and access to the parks, so that they may receive in full measure the inspiration, enjoyment, recreation, and other benefits”.