Members of the Regional Forum
In Sean’s role as a Geospatial Analyst for Ngāi Tahu Holdings, he works alongside all sorts of people, from grassroots marae / rūnanga level, iwi-wide based projects, Ngāi Tahu commercial entities and a variety of external entities. As part of his job, he is closely involved with Murihiku-based projects, in particular working with Awarua Rūnanga in establishing a mahinga kai pā out at Waituna lagoon.
Bluff-born Sean recently returned from living and working in Christchurch and has continued throughout to be actively involved at Te Rau Aroha marae. He enjoys having local access to the sea, the many walking tracks and he particularly loves Rakiura where he spent a lot of time growing up.
Sean sees the tight sense of community, and people’s pride and passion for Southland as a real asset that needs to be maintained.
He firmly believes decision making for freshwater management needs to be backed up with robust and accurate science / data, and that tangata whenua can offer support to urban and rural communities when it comes to managing freshwater, especially in the context of Te Mana o te Wai.
David, with wife Joanna, is a Riverton-based dairy farmer who farms in the Pourakino Valley, and at Wyndham. One of the founding members of the Pourakino Catchment Group and Three Rivers Catchment Group, 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 is the Riverton Boys Brigade Captain, and 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.
Cain works with Southland's rural community regularly as part of his day job, and as an Invercargill resident he also has a keen interest in the heritage and vibrancy of the city. He was born in Lumsden and grew up on a small sheep farm at Rimu. Nine years ago Cain returned to Southland after working in London. He has a young family who enjoy the outdoors and he wants to ensure our natural environment is a place they (and future generations) can enjoy and continue to fish, swim and catch tuna (eels) in the local creek.
Cain has experience in town planning, urban stormwater and industrial discharges, as well as expert knowledge of good farming practices. He brings a strong understanding of environmental policy and how these are applied at a regional level.
In 20 years, Cain wants to see vibrant and prosperous communities (both rural and urban) that have successfully adapted their land management practices and wastewater systems to protect the Mauri of freshwater, making it available for a wide range of sustainable uses.
Kelsi’s family has been in Southland for many generations, and she’s the fifth generation to grow 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.
Kelsi is studying environmental management at SIT and 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 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.
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.
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 (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.
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 15 years’ experience in land and freshwater research and management, and is currently working as an Earth and Environmental Scientist based in Invercargill.
Lisa has led the national application of physiographic science for Our Land and Water National Science Challenge. 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.
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 10 years, and an active volunteer for the past 14 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 Director on the board of PF2050 Ltd, Ngai Tahu representative on the Southland Conservation Board and is 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 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.
Darren is a born and bred Southlander with extensive business and governance experience in a range of sectors including health and safety, audit, risk and employment. He has a passion to use pūrākau (legends/old stories) in inspiring tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) to dare to imagine a better world. He wants to see Southland’s land and waterways are protected and cherished for future generations.
Darren is keen to contribute to Southland’s future by offering sustainable solutions, and ensuring that the relationships manawhenua have with the whenua (land) and wai (water) are understood and valued. As a key measure of success in improving water quality, Darren wants to see that Southland’s taonga species are thriving.
Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi - with your basket and my basket the people will live.
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 have established a wetland on their farm. 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 farms Mararoa Downs, a 1900 hectare flat to rolling hill country sheep and beef property in the Te Anau Basin. The farm is long and narrow, running for 17km along the banks of the Mararoa River.
Hayden says he wants to ensure farms can be profitable but also environmentally sustainable in the future.
Fiona Smith (chair)
Fiona moved with her family to Southland 14 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 the Environment 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 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 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.