Meet the people behind TET

The Trustees 

Tasman Environmental Trust's Board of Trustees with Sky Davies, Trust manager, at the organisatiion's 20th anniversary gathering

Gavin O’Donnell – Dept. Chair, Marian Milne, Mirka Langford, Naomi Aporo, Christeen Mackenzie, Murray Poulter, Sky Davies – Trust Manager, Gillian Bishop – Chairperson, Tom Stein

Our Trustees

Gillian Bishop 
Chair

Gillian has chaired Tasman Environmental Trust since 2016. She lives beside the Waimea Inlet and has been involved in a wide range of work to protect and enhance the environment, through both practical work and as a trustee. Gillian’s background in contract development and management is invaluable as the Trust enters into an increasing number of arrangements with community groups, local councils and government organisations to deliver conservation projects.
Gillian is keen to see community groups supported by TET’s Community Conservation Hub services to enable them to focus on planting, weeding and pest control in their local areas. Her work in conservation was recognised in 2020 when she was awarded a QSM.

Gavin O’Donnell
Deputy Chairperson

Nelson Federated Farmers Trustee representative

Gavin is a rural land manager with over 50 years’ experience in the pastoral farming sector. He also has significant operational and project management experience within partnerships, NZ companies, with overseas owners of NZ land, and large volunteer organisations. He was awarded the 2018 Federated Farmers NZ Outstanding Advocacy Award.
Gavin is a FENZ volunteer firefighter, educating communities about fire risks, and a member of the local Emergency Management Team specialising in resources and logistics. He is repeatedly called upon by those who work in rural policy development, communications, community engagement and resource capability.

Murray Poulter

Nelson-Marlborough Department of Conservation Board Trustee representative

Dr Murray Poulter, originally from Motueka, is a former NIWA Chief Scientist who now resides on a small block in Tasman. His research career included work in the UK, Germany, US, Canada and Antarctica before he took on management roles in NIWA. This work has given him wide exposure to our terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments, their sensitivities, stresses and mitigation options. Murray is joint owner of a QE II covenanted plot of native bush. He has a keen interest in the local environment and an appreciation of the impact co-ordinated community efforts can bring.

Christeen Mackenzie

Tasman District Council representative

Christeen is the Tasman District Council representative on the Trust. She is a chartered accountant and had a career with the Department of Conservation, being the Deputy Director General for Corporate Services until her retirement from that role in 2018. In 2019 Christeen was elected to the TDC and is utilising her governance experience in that role. On her property at Foxhill, Christeen and her family are retiring grazing land and planting manuka.

Tom Stein

Brought up in the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, Tom moved to Marlborough in 1996. He lives with his wife, Liz, on a small block near Linkwater in the Marlborough Sounds. In Auckland, Tom worked for the Auckland Regional Council Parks Service. Previously in Marlborough, he has worked with the Department of Conservation, Marlborough District Council and private landowners in various roles, particularly weed and pest management. Currently Tom is the Regional Representative for Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough for the QEII National Trust. He has a wide range of practical skills and knowledge of the local environment.

Mirka Langford

Mirka joined the Trust in 2020 and is also currently vice-chair of Project Mōhua. Originally from Germany, Mirka lives in Nelson, has dairy farming interests in Golden Bay and has just started a new position as Senior Resource Scientist for Land Use and Soils at Tasman District Council. Prior to this Mirka worked for nine years as a Sustainable Dairying Advisor across the Top of the South Island. In her role Mirka enjoys working with individual landowners to tackle environmental issues by finding solutions, providing support and removing barriers to change. She sees organisations such as TET as key enablers for transformational, landscape-scale restoration, particularly across productive private land. Mirka has a science degree from the University of Canterbury and is also a Certified Nutrient Management and Agricultural Green House Gas Advisor.

Marian Milne

Marian has a background as a rural veterinarian and has farmed sheep, beef and forestry with partner Alec in Golden Bay and Tasman since 1990. Marian is extensively involved with many environmental projects, including her role as current secretary for Friends of Cobb and active memberships in the Onekaka Biodversity Group and Golden Bay Bird Rescue. Marian is currently employed part-time for the HealthPost Nature Trust as project co-ordinator, and also manages to fit in some DOC contract wildlife monitoring, volunteering, and a little bit of vet locum work. Marian is the current chair of Project Mōhua’s management committee, linking Golden Bay into the TET family.

Naomi Aporo

Naomi believes any relationship with the natural world should be underpinned by reciprocity. Combining her passion for New Zealand business with a talent for managing complex issues, she has specialised in enhancing organisational capacity. Extensive experience with project management, performance improvement and post-settlement iwi restructuring has facilitated her successes in the public, private and community sectors. Naomi is currently a fellow with the NEXT foundation, co-ordinating work on freshwater management in the Motueka catchment. Among many attributes, she brings her abilities to quickly understand complex stakeholder interests and risk management to the TET board.

 The Hub team 

Sky Davies

Trust manager

Sky grew up in the Motueka Valley and, after adventuring in and working around the world, has returned home with her family. Some of her adventures included working as a white-water raft guide in the United States, a three-year stint in Bolivia working in community development, and living on a canal boat in the UK. Prior to her role at Tasman Environmental Trust, Sky worked for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, where she focused on conservation-related issues. Sky holds a Bachelor of Resource Studies degree from Lincoln University, and a Master of Science degree from Oxford University.

Abby Boffa

Operations manager

Abby grew up on the Kapiti Coast and moved to Mapua in 2001. She has an Arts degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Canterbury University, which enabled her to work as a business analyst and project manager in the fields of health, forestry and photography. Abby joined the Trust in April 2017 as coordinator of the Mapua Dawn Chorus and project manager for Neimann Creek. Now, as operations manager, Abby supports TET’s conservation projects with the administration and compliance workload so that they are able to spend more time achieving conservation outcomes.

Kathryn Brownlie

Treasurer

Originally from the lower North Island, Richmond has been home for Kathryn, her husband and their family since 2001. They love living in the Tasman region with all the outdoor opportunities it offers for recreation, sport and leisure. Alongside her work on the operations side of TET, Kathryn is also project manager for Battle for the Banded Rail. She enjoys working with the enthusiastic volunteers and is proud of the project’s achievements. Kathryn has a background in Management Accounting, a BSc (Operations Research) from Victoria University, and has been Tasman Environmental Trust’s treasurer since 2015.

Anna Reynolds

Project Mōhua administrator (Golden Bay)

Anna has a background in environmental management and ecological restoration, having worked on projects for DOC, local government, and environmental consultancies. She brings skills in field and office-based conservation management work and community liaison. Anna has a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, University of East Anglia. In the past, Anna has volunteered on many conservation projects and presently, within Mōhua, volunteers at tree planting working bees and shorebird counts for Birds New Zealand. Anna is excited to be part of Project Mōhua and keen to hear of any ideas on how the project can help support local conservation projects and further the native biodiversity of Mōhua.

Elaine Asquith

Regional predator control coordinator

Elaine is a geographer with an MSc in Environmental Science, born and trained in Ireland. Her first foray into predator control was working on the Southland Regional Pest Management Strategy Review in 2007. Elaine also worked at NZDF, where she managed large-scale projects for didymo biosecurity, sustainability and culture change. She knows the power of community collaborative decision-making from work as science coordinator for Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Whaitua process. In 2014 Nelson become home to Elaine and her young family. Always on the edge of the socio-enviro interface, she is passionate about creating social and environmental wellbeing by reconnecting people with nature.

Marios Gavalas

Admin and management Support

Since migrating to Aotearoa/New Zealand over 20 years ago, Marios has not stopped exploring. Thousands of days in the backcountry working as an author, photographer and guide developed a love for the unique ecosystems that make these islands special. Researching and interpreting these outstandingly beautiful areas led naturally to volunteer work in conservation projects.
Since its inception, Marios has been associated with the Otuwhero Trust, helping to restore this threatened wetland gem. Experience in conservation governance, health and safety systems, and planting in gumboot country has nurtured his belief that habitat restoration is the key to a healthy planet and human wellbeing.