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Protecting our precious places

Board member profiles

Chairperson, James Guild

Appointed 1 July 2011 by the Minister of Conservation. James is a high country farmer and has a diverse background in agri-business, game animal management and conservation. He was the inaugural chair of the Canterbury/Aoraki Conservation Board and Pohatu Marine Reserve; past chair of NZ Deer Farmers Association; past Director of the Deer Industry New Zealand and the President of the NZ Association of Game Estates.

The Guild family have two QEII covenant on their High Peak Station property located near Darfield in Canterbury, protecting braided shingle riverbed, sedgeland, tussockland and shrubland.

Director, Donna Field

Elected by members in the 2016 member elections. Donna has a background in resource management and is a Director of Cleardale Station, a 1400ha sheep and beef property in the Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury. She has governance experience and is interested in plant, ecosystem, and landscape conservation. Donna is Chair of the Ashburton Water Zone Committee and the Whitcombe Landcare Group, and worked with DOC and Solid Energy on the Stockton plateau to establish the Millerton Plateau Protection Society. She is a financial member of the National Trust and is currently (March 2016) in the process of covenanting a 37ha forest remnant on her property.

Director, Michael Legge

Elected by members in the 2016 member elections. Michael is a retired Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Pathology at Otago University. He has knowledge and skills in conservation and environmental planning and has been involved with a number of environmental organisations and initiatives including the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, the National Plan of Action for Sea Birds, and the Dunedin City Council's waste water committee and solid waste planning group. He currently chairs the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board. Michael and his wife, Kathleen, have established two covenants (49ha and 7.3ha) protecting coastal forest bordering the Paparoa National Park on the West Coast where they live. The covenants are managed using sustainable 'organic' principles.

Director, Gina Solomon

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation after consultation with the Minister of Maori Development. Of Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kuri descent, Gina was raised in Oaro and now lives in Peketa, south of Kaikoura. She has extensive community and iwi involvement and is a committed conservationist. She sits on a number of boards and trusts including the Kaikoura zone committee for the Canterbury water management strategy, Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board, the Kaikoura Marine Guardians Te Korowai o Te Tai o Karokura, and the Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust.

Director, Bruce Wills

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation. Bruce Wills and his family farm sheep and cattle on the hills north of Napier. He completed a B.Com (Ag) at Lincoln and subsequently qualified as a Registered Valuer and an Investment Adviser. He has been farming for 12 years having previously spent 20 years in Banking and Investment, most of this time being in Hamilton with time also in Wellington and Auckland.

The Wills family has a strong interest in the environment. In 2008 they won the Hawke's Bay Farm Environmental Award. Around 15% of the family farm has areas protected with QEII National Trust covenants. Bruce is Chair of the NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust, the Deer industry PGP and Apiculture NZ, a Director of Ravensdown and Trustee of two of the National Science Challenges as well as Motu Research, Cape to City and the Todd Foundation. He has recently stepped down from 6 years on the Board of Federated Farmers NZ and from 2011 to 2014 was its National President.

Bruce says his greatest joy and accomplishment is being the proud father of four wonderful children. In 2004 he took two of them to 20,000ft on Everest just to enjoy the view!

Director, Susan (Sue) Yerex

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation. Sue Yerex has farmed sheep and beef with her husband in the Lake Taupo catchment for the past 20 years. She started her governance and environmental protection career with the Lake Taupo Protection project in 2000, and is a foundation Trustee and deputy chair of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust – an independent Trust formed to purchase and retire 20% of the manageable Nitrogen from the catchment to protect Lake Water quality. Her work in this project has involved intensive stakeholder collaboration, including local Iwi and multiple levels of government.

Sue is a second term director of the Queen Elizabeth the second National Trust and chairs their investment committee. She also chairs the Lake Taupo Catchment (zone) committee, a stakeholder group formed by the Waikato Regional Council to allow better information flow and input into local and regional catchment management, and she is a committee member of BMAC (Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee).

Sue had a 16 year career as a rural bank manager during the 80’s and 90’s for the Rural Bank and ASB Bank before going farming. She is a registered valuer and certified hearings commissioner, a Lincoln graduate and Kellogg scholar.

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