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Members of the Regional Forum

Mata Cherrington

Mata Cherrington

Mata is of Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine and Te Kapotai descent who was born and bred in Murihiku living with her partner and tamariki in Motupohue/Bluff. She has interests in a range of community, health, social and education areas. She has held many governance roles and is currently a trustee on the Sport Southland, Bluff School and Community Trust South boards. Raised in Te Ao Māori values, Mata believes wai and whenua are synonymous with her identity. She is particularly interested in how we can achieve a healthy and safe environment for our tamariki. She wants to ensure we use resources in a sustainable way, so that generations to come have the same enjoyment that she has had.

David Diprose

David Diprose

David, with wife Joanna, is a dairy farmer who farms in the Pourakino Valley, and at Wyndham. One of the founding members of the Pourakino Catchment Group (chair) and Three Rivers Catchment Group (trustee) David has been active in setting up the catchment groups here in Southland, and has travelled to different provinces discussing the catchment group concepts. David chaired the initial setting up of the Aparima Community Environment (ACE) project, and as an independent chair now carries on the project which involves six different catchment groups in the Aparima. David is an active fisherman and tramper. He has shared his skills and experience as part of the National Land and Water Science Challenge, has been involved with national dairy leaders, and sheep and beef national environment gatherings in Wellington. For Southland’s future, he wants to see the estuaries thriving, biodiversity maintained in landscapes and people connected to their natural environment.

Kelsi Hayes

Kelsi Hayes

Kelsi is a fifth generation Southlander who grew up on a sheep farm in the Progress Valley. She has a particular connection with the Fortrose Estuary and Waikawa River and harbour where she’s fishes regularly. Working on a farm alongside the Aparima River, Kelsi is an active member of her community in discussion groups and as a musician. She takes her role as a caretaker of the land seriously and hopes to see native bush protected, and for the water quality in Southland’s rivers and estuaries to be the envy of the rest of New Zealand.

Bernadette Hunt

Bernadette Hunt

Bernadette has a passion for Southland’s wide open spaces and enjoys the rural, rustic and sparse nature of the province. She’s a woman who’s used to juggling many hats: a founding Trustee of the Gore Kids Hub, previous President of Gore Parents Centre, a mum supporting many school activities, a farmer, member and vice president of Southland Federated Farmers and employee of Gore’s Community Networking Trust. Bernadette has broad connections with both rural and urban communities. She would like to see Southland as a place where rural and urban communities have a good understanding of each other’s values and these communities are thriving.

Joyce Kolk

Joyce Kolk

Joyce has been the driving force behind a large number of environmental projects. She’s particularly proud of the Coal Island project, which has seen the island cleared of pests, and endangered species re-introduced. She’s also taken the lead on the large scale coastal clean-ups that have happened regularly on Stewart Island and in Fiordland. Joyce is currently a trustee on the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust, and with her husband Johan, runs two jet boat operations on the Wairaurahiri and Waiau Rivers. Plus Lake Hauroko tours /Water Taxis on Lake Hauroko and the Good Mood Food a café food van at the Clifden historic suspension bridge

Joyce is also an active pest trapper, and has set around 300 traps along the south coast and Hump Ridge tracks and along the banks of the Wairaurahiri River. She wants Southland to be a great place for future generations, where the rivers are great for swimming and fishing.

Jade Maguire

Jade Maguire

Jade is a member of the Ōraka Aparima Runaka, leading a number of environmental and cultural revitalisation projects. He lead the Te Whakaoraka project at the Takutai o te Titi marae in 2018, which enabled him to work with schools, the Department of Corrections, Lions and other community groups to create an eco-learning space to teach people about restoring the health of our environment. Jade is currently a committee member of the Pourakino Catchment Group. The aim of this group resonates with Jade’s own vision for the future – which is for a vibrant and sustainable land in which we are able to thrive – socially, culturally, and economically. For Jade, the land and the water are our tipuna, it is for us to care for, and protect them. By looking after them – we are looking after our future generations.

Paul Marshall

Paul Marshall

Paul says his wife’s family has farmed the same bit of dirt in Western Southland for 53 years. The land, and their stewardship of it, is the thing that binds the generations together. He believes though, that it is the water that sustains their family on the land and enables the wider community to thrive. Paul is the co-chairman of the Waiau Rivercare Group Inc, which broadly represents the community downstream of the Mararoa Weir on the lower Waiau River. He feels great support from his community to improve the health of their awa, the Waiau River, and finds that support both empowering and humbling. In the future, Paul wants to see all rivers swimmable. He wants the provincial towns and Invercargill City to be servicing a vibrant and diverse agricultural sector. Paul hopes he will see an enhanced leadership role for iwi, and Southland’s young people wanting to return to the Region to drive our collective future forward.

Philip Morrison

Philip Morrison (deputy chair)

Phil believes the health of the community is very closely linked to the health of the environment. Raised in Eastern Southland in the farming community of Waikaka Valley, he is an active member of the community. Having spent 25 years in the New Zealand Army, Phil continues to serve as part of the Army Reserves. He’s the chairman of the Willowbank Windmill Committee, a group aiming to restore, preserve, and promote the category 1 heritage Willowbank railway windmill and water-tank at Waikaka Valley, near Gore. Phil acknowledges that Southland is somewhat unique with its heavy economic dependence upon primary industry, therefore has challenges when it comes to managing the tensions between a number of other industries and the environment. In the future, Phil wants to see a region that is prosperous, flourishing and considered an attractive region for families and progressive businesses to call their home.

Lisa Pearson

Lisa Pearson

Since moving to Southland for a great work opportunity in 2014, Lisa has made it her home and continues to take advantage of everything the region has to offer. She says the lifestyle available in Southland is its greatest asset, and a big part of what makes that so attractive is the environment – the lakes, rivers, coast, and mountains, especially Fiordland and the Mavora Lakes where she likes to go hiking. Lisa has over 10 years’ experience in land and freshwater research and management, and is currently employed as an Earth and Environmental Scientist at Land and Water Science, based in Invercargill. She has a Doctorate in Philosophy (her thesis studies were on lake nutrient dynamics and sediment geochemistry) and a Masters in Science in geochemistry. She is also a member of the NZ Freshwater Sciences Society and NZ Soil Science Society. In the future, Lisa would love to see thriving communities where there are diverse opportunities for all generations to live, work, and play.

Estelle Pera-Leask

Estelle Pera-Leask

Awarua is Estelle’s turangawaewae and her whakapapa links to Rakiura/Stewart Island. She was born and raised in Bluff and is now a passionate and dedicated member of the community. Estelle has been the chairperson for the Bluff Hill Motupōhue Environment Trust for 7 years, and an active volunteer for the past 10 years. In this role she supports volunteers to undertake pest control, habitat restoration, education and advocacy. She also volunteers annually for the Kakapo Recovery Programme, and represents Te Runanga o Awarua on the Whenua Hou Komiti (statutory appointment). Estelle is a Ngai Tahu representative on the Southland Conservation Board and works as a Senior Environmental Advisor at Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu in Christchurch. She is dedicated to kaitiakitanga. In the future, Estelle wants indigenous biodiversity, and the habitats that sustain them, to thrive. She would like our precious taonga species to become more resilient to the threats from climate change.

Ewen Pirie

Ewen Pirie

Ewen is a fifth generation Southlander who lives and works on the family farm in the Waituna catchment. He is a strong advocate for the Waituna community, and is currently the chairman on the Lake Waituna Control Association and Waituna Catchment Liaison Committee. Ewen has previously held roles as a Southland District councillor, on the Southland Harbour Board and as a director of the Invercargill Airport. He has a vast knowledge of Southland’s history and is widely respected in his community. Ewen is passionate about Southland, its communities and their long-term social, economic and environmental futures.

Michelle Roberts

Michelle Roberts

Michelle has spent her adult life getting involved in her community and being part of different farming types (dairy, beef and deer). This experience has given her a broad knowledge of farming practices and how they may be impacting on our land and water. She has been part of many local groups and committees including the Board of Trustees, West Otago Netball Centre, the Lions Club, Pomahaka Water Care Group and an Environment Advance Party for Deer. At home on the deer and beef farm just inside the Southland border near Gore, the family have implemented a number of environmental initiatives and are currently undertaking a wetland project. In the future, Michelle wants to see thriving waterways that remain the envy of many, providing fishing and recreation opportunities; land that is productive, and marginal land (wetlands, swamps, sensitive grassland or coastal areas) valued for what it provides to the landscape and waterways.

Hayden Slee

Hayden Slee

Hayden farms Mararoa Downs, a 1900 hectare flat to rolling hill country property in the Te Anau Basin. The farm is long and narrow, running for 17km along the banks of the Mararoa River. Hayden is a member of the Beef and Lamb Southern South Island Farmer Council, the Te Anau Liaison Committee and the former Hill Country Development Board. He co-chairs the Te Anau Farm Discussion Group with his wife Kate. Hayden says he wants to ensure farms can be profitable but also environmentally sustainable in the future.

Fiona Smith

Fiona Smith (chair)

Fiona moved with her family to Southland 11 years ago, but their family links to Southland go back many generations. She has been the head of various committees including the school Board of Trustees and the local athletics club. Fiona says her family has enjoyed the lakes, coasts and rivers of Southland and it is important that this continues for her children and grandchildren. Fiona has an environmental scientist degree with a focus on freshwater and groundwater hydrology and a Master’s in soil chemistry. She currently works as an environment and compliance manager at AB Lime. She has also worked as a university tutor and has been involved in developing the Waterwatch education programme for schools. She is a member of the New Zealand Freshwater Society and New Zealand Soil Science Society. In the future, Fiona wants to see more thriving wetlands, better management of contaminants before they enter the water, an increased focus on ecological health for determining the health of water, and upgrades in technology for waste water treatment.

Vaughan Templeton

Vaughan Templeton

Vaughan is a sixth generation western Southlander, and the fourth generation to live on the flax mill farm at Otaitai Bush. His family has been part of the development of Southland since 1838 when the first whalers settled to live with the local Maori at Riverton. Vaughan has been an active part of his community for many years including as a leader of the Boys’ Brigade in Riverton, as a member of Federated Farmers and the Meat and Wool Board Electoral Committee, as a trustee of the Southland Electric Power Supply Consumer Trust, and as a shareholder councillor for Fonterra. He is also the chairman of the Templeton Flax Milling Heritage Trust and curator of its museum which hosts between 600 and 1000 guests each year. In 2006 Vaughan completed at Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship on nutrient losses from intensive agriculture visiting Britain, France, Holland, Canada and the United States. In 2009 their farm was the supreme winner of the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. For Vaughan, it’s important that Southland continues to be a prosperous place that our children and grandchildren can chose to work, live, and enjoy healthy land and water.