Kaupapa
About

Meet The Team

The Steering Group in late 2019 at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa

Our Steering Group, chaired by Richard Hursthouse, helps to drive the Restore Hibiscus & Bays initiative, providing expert guidance, feedback and advice to our staff team. We are fortunate to have on our Steering Group highly experienced representatives from Friends of Okura Bush, the Forest and Bird Pest Free Hibiscus Coast project, Centennial Park Bush Society, Friends of Long Bay, Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Incorporated, Pest Free Okura, the East Coast Bays Community Project, Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation. They meet monthly and contribute an immense number of hours to the initiative.

Our backbone staff team (below) is currently funded partly through a grant from the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and partly through the Auckland Council Community Coordination and Facilitation grant.

Mel Whaanga is the Manager for Restore Hibiscus and Bays. He is a direct descendant of Kahumatamomoe who bestowed the name Kaipara and many other place names across Tāmaki Makaurau in the 15th Century. Mel is a trustee for the Mahurangi West Pest Incorporated Society and involved in the Mahurangi East Land Restoration and Rodney Healthy Harbour projects. He wrote the cultural framework for the eradication of feral cats and rats on Aotea. Mel is Six Sigma certified, a Fulbright Scholar and has a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of Waikato.

Kane Kvasnicka, Ecological restoration advisor, has over 7 years’ experience in ecological restoration, working for both a volunteer community organisation within our rohe as well as for a professional eco-contractor. He also has started his own specialist contracting company. Kane provides expert field-based guidance and planning support to established and new volunteer groups, eco contractors and other local organisations. Outside of field work, he enjoys visiting remnant forest types and predator free areas, as well as supporting underground music scenes.

Deborah Colson,  Advisor – Ecological Restoration, Communications & Community Engagement has been working in ecological restoration for the past 3 years in a variety of roles. She is absolutely passionate about restoration,  communications and community engagement. Previously, Deborah was a practising nutritionist and tertiary education teacher in London, before moving back to her native Aotearoa where she lives on the spectacular Hibiscus Coast. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time in the bush, hiking and gardening.

Julia Clavel, Restoration Advisor (Schools and Community Training), is an Auckland Geography graduate with a strong passion for protecting and enhancing our natural environment by engaging with the wider community. Originally from Germany, she has lived in Red Beach for 8 years with her family of four. Julia’s hobbies include international cuisine, hiking, yoga, travelling, weeding & conservation events such as beach clean ups and tree planting, Escape Room & strategic board games.

Jocelyn Sanders, Catchment Community Activator (Taiaotea-Rothesay Bay Catchment Project) has lived with her husband and family in Rothesay Bay for many years.  She is a relief teacher at an enviro-school, and is the secretary of the North Shore Branch of Forest and Bird Protection Society, as well as secretary of her local Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association.  Jocelyn’s interests include walking (especially in our bush and beach areas), gardening and kayaking.

Simon van den Berg, Catchment Community Activator (Waiwera Catchment Project) has a BSc in Biological Science and Marine Science and is currently working towards an MSc in Marine Science at the University of Auckland. He has been a volunteer lifeguard for 5 years and enjoys spending his free time surfing or just enjoying the beach.

Network members at the strategic planning hui in 2018. Photo by Geoff Reid.

The Restore Hibiscus & Bays vision can only be achieved through the incredible number of volunteer hours put in by our expanding network of groups, projects, neighbourhoods, individuals, schools, businesses and other organisations. The network meets bimonthly to connect and share ideas, plans and success stories.