Te Ara Kakariki is a charitable trust consisting of seven volunteer trustees who meet every six weeks to make decisions, with recommendations from the contractors. Each of the trustees also work with contractors on specific areas, such as greendot planning, plantout days, funding applications, media and information, and Kids Discovery Plantout field day planning.
Te Ara Kakariki Contractors include an overall TAK Coordinator, a Kids Discovery Plantout Coordinator, and a variety of Restoration Advisors / Ecologists.
Read about Te Ara Kākāriki’s history HERE
Our yearly financial statements can be seen at the Charities Commission
As a charitable trust we are dependant on the continued support of our dedicated funders. Please see a list of them here: Funders
Te Ara Kakariki Coordinator – Letitia Lum
I have been a Coordinator for Te Ara Kākāriki since the beginning of 2018. As the main contact for the trust, I work with landowners, funders, volunteers and our trustees to get more native seedlings planted in Canterbury.
I studied horticulture at Lincoln University and worked in several plant nurseries as well as alongside my husband in our family takeaway business. We have three teenage children who have become great supporters of our planting days.
Previously I have volunteered at the Trees for Canterbury nursery and over the years have participated in many volunteer planting events around Christchurch including Quail Island and Travis wetland. In 2017 I attended my first planting day with Te Ara Kākāriki and was excited to be among so many people working towards such a wonderful goal.
I am looking forward to assisting the Te Ara Kākāriki team to continue the great work already achieved and eventually seeing our native birds return and thrive in Canterbury.
You can contact me about planting your Greendot, seeking native restoration advice, or becoming a volunteer for our Spring planting days. Email: [email protected]
Kids Discovery Plantout Program Coordinator – Lou Drage
Kia Ora. I am super excited to be working with Selwyn schools on the Kids Discovery Plant-out project and helping students with ongoing monitoring of their native restoration sites. With coordinator Letitia, we will be organizing and leading all Canterbury plant out activities in the coming seasons.
Growing up on the West Coast my family introduced me to the beauty and importance of New Zealand’s natural habitats. I’ve enjoyed many outdoor adventures in our amazing natural environment. I have studied Parks and Recreation Management at Lincoln University and have taught at Castle Hill, the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Outward Bound. I then moved on to delivering Environmental Education programmes with primary schools in Canterbury.
Over the past ten years I have completed a native restoration project on our farm in Banks Peninsula. We have planted the waterways and created bird corridors for Tui, Bellbird and Kereru.
I am passionate about supporting Selwyn residents to maintain and establish more Green Dots across the Plains. Together we can create stronger, healthier communities for our native plants and the birds and invertebrates that they support.
Email: [email protected]
Greendot Coordinator – Su Langdon
I was enjoying my rural garden in West Melton on Show Day and was privileged to see a fantail with three fledglings flitting about in the trees. I was reminded of one of my key drivers for joining TAK, to help with planting of native habitat to encourage more birds and make their lives a little easier. As a born and bred Cantabrian I am passionate about Canterbury and ensuring we look for opportunities to increase biodiversity and encourage our native flora and fauna. Connecting with TAK is perfect way to do this, given their commitment to the Selwyn district, where I now live.
I first became involved with TAK as a volunteer planter in 2019 and loved the vision of the group. An opportunity to volunteer as co-ordinator support with TAK was one not to be missed. My key reflection from my first year in the role is that the work involved in co-ordination of public plant outs is richly rewarded by spending time with people who share a similar vision and it’s so satisfying to see what a group of like-minded people can achieve when they work together towards a shared goal. I look forward to ongoing work with TAK, volunteers, landowners and funders – a great group of people working together with a shared vision.
Restoration Ecologist – Colin Meurk
Dr Colin Meurk is a Landcare Research ecologist with 40 years experience throughout New Zealand and globally in the areas of biogeography, conservation biology, ecological restoration, landscape ecology and integration of biodiversity into cultural landscapes. He has worked extensively with local government, iwi and the wider community across the country in restoration design and on-the-ground projects.
He has taught and supervised under-graduate and post-graduate students in these topics at Lincoln University over many years and through regular public lectures. His theoretical models for optimising landscape design for conservation have been adopted both in New Zealand and Australia. Examples of specific projects include the Christchurch Waterway Enhancement Programme, Travis Wetland protection and restoration, Design of Otukaikino wetland partnership, Sesquicentennial year and Millennium community projects in Christchurch, restoration field trials in Auckland, Ngati Whatua and Ngai Tahu projects, Greening Waipara and Te Ara Kakariki. His work has been recognised through a Civic Award, Old Blue Award, Loder Cup and Ecology in Action Award (NZ Ecological Society).
Restoration ecologist – Diana Robertson
Di Robertson has been providing ecological advice for Te Ara Kākāriki since 2016. Di enjoys the opportunity for mutual learning with landowners to get the right trees in the right place, and the best ways to take care of the future forests / plant communities.
Di has worked as an ecologist for 30 years, mainly in Canterbury and the South Island. She had a senior role at Boffa Miskell, an environmental consultancy, which she left in 2015 after 16 years, and now enjoys working predominantly in restoration ecology. With another hat, some of her work now also focuses on individual and community well-being. Di also loves being in the outdoors and sharing our wonderful natural environment
Craig Pauling (Co Chair)
Te Waihora te hapua
Te Ruahikihiki te tangata
Craig is a founding trustee of Te Ara Kākāriki and is currently Co Chair. He is passionate about the protection and restoration of native flora and fauna, particularly as it relates to Ngāi Tahu mahinga kai (traditional food) species and practices, and has been involved in a number of ecological restoration projects across Canterbury and the South Island. Craig worked for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for over 10 years as an Environmental Advisor and is also a member of the Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) Management Board representing Te Taumutu Rūnanga. Craig lives in Halswell with three tamariki, Mihiroa, Meihana and Tainui and partner Janyne. He currently works with Boffa Miskell and has significant experience in environmental management and policy, strategy and research which he is putting to good use in his current role as Environment CanterburyChristchurch West / Ōpuna Councilor.
Peter Joyce (Co Chair)
Peter joined the Trustees of Te Ara Kakariki in 2015 and took on the role of Co Chair in 2020.
Since retiring from the University of Otago, Christchurch Medical School in September 2016, he has been able to devote more time to protecting and enhancing native biodiversity in Canterbury. He now works voluntarily to assist local efforts to combat global challenges of climate change with the trust through the trust and through regular work at Hinewai Reserve. Peter enjoys the local bellbirds, fantails, kingfishers, grey warblers, native pigeons and other birds; nevertheless, is looking forward to welcoming a more native habitat onto his own land.
Peter and his wife Annabel are the owners/managers of Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden; whose mission is to support contemporary New Zealand sculptural practice and to enhance native biodiversity in Canterbury. The sculpture garden will not only try to re-establish a matai, totara and kahikatea dominated valley forest, but will also be a home for appropriate endangered and at risk Canterbury native trees and shrubs.
Peter recognizes that too much of Canterbury’s original native bush has been destroyed, and believes that the recreation of new areas of native bush from the Southern Alps to Banks Peninsula is vital to an appropriate future for Canterbury. Peter is also interested in adding to our understanding of why some planted native species thrive and others struggle in Canterbury, as well as the variations in survival within species.
Sue Cumberworth (Secretary)
Sue has been involved with Te Ara Kākāriki since 2008, initially on the then management committee, and later as a trustee. With her passions for both farming and NZs native flora, fauna and landscapes, the Te Ara Kakariki vision was an obvious choice for Sue to be involved in.
She works as an agricultural consultant and facilitator, which includes supporting farmers to achieve good environmental practice and outcomes on farm within strong and successful farming businesses.
Whether camping, walking, tramping, biking, skiing or kayaking, Sue loves being in NZ’s wonderful outdoor environments. She lives with her family on a small lifestyle block near Tai Tapu in Selwyn District, which she describes as a paradise now that they have a daily morning chorus of resident korimako-bellbirds. This she says is a wonderful consequence of the native plantings by her family, neighbours and local community over the last 15-20 years.
Mike has worked in the entomology field at Lincoln University for 30 years on a range of topics including habitat manipulation, nature conservation and ecological restoration. He has been involved in many ecological restoration and invertebrate conservation programmes and published several scientific papers on these subjects. Since 1998 Mike has been involved with the Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust advisory group and a Trustee. He has coordinated successful predator eradications of hedgehogs and rats on Quail Island and undertaken several invertebrate reintroductions. Closer to home, Mike has been involved in Mahoe Reserve restoration at Lincoln. His current research focus is on invertebrate indicators of restoration.
Mike lives at Lincoln with wife Sue and they have three boys: Matt, Simon and Ben.
Hi, my name is Johannes Welsch, I have been involved with the Trust as a volunteer and acting coordinator for the Canterbury plant out days for the past 4 years.
I am originally from Germany with a background in forest science and ecology. After having spent almost 2 years in South America working on social, agricultural and reforestation project throughout the continent I decided to study some more and New Zealand was my first choice to do that. Both my Master’s degree and current PhD topic focuses on native vegetation on Canterbury farms. And that passion for native vegetation got me involved with TAK. So my current focus at Lincoln University lays in the field of agro-ecology, looking again at native vegetation on farms but from a sustainability, soil health and carbon point of view. That keeps me pretty busy right now. To add to this passion, I love cross-country running (i.e., Luxmore grunt (part of the Kepler) or Routeburne challenge). All these things together made me love the wild native bush and the high-country of New Zealand. Therefore, it is an obvious choice to try and bring back a bit of native vegetation into the Canterbury Plains and be actively involved.
Pam Aldersley – Treasurer
Pam moved to Springfield with her husband Pete and young family in 2009. Inspired by tramping trips over the years, their goal with the property was to create the effect of a tramping hut, where the house was set nestled in amongst native vegetation.
Having had no experience with planting, they planted a few hundred native plants around their house. There was a fairly steep learning curve but they soon discovered that planting is addictive!
Pam and Pete’s first contact with Te Ara Kakariki was in 2014 when they applied for assistance as landowners. In 2016, Te Ara Kakariki put a call out for trustees. Pam felt like it would be a good opportunity to give back to TAK in acknowledgement for their help and support, and so she has been a trustee since this time.
Pam and Pete are continuing to plant on their property, with over 12,000 plants planted since their arrival. The family are loving seeing Piwakawaka and Korimako return to the property.
Professor Ian Spellerberg
Ian Spellerberg is passionate about New Zealand’s native plants and for the last 15 years has worked hard to raise the profile of New Zealand’s native flora. He has edited three books about New Zealand native plants and has written many articles for newspapers and magazines. He believes that local government should have a policy for using native plants only on public land. He was President of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network from 2005 to 2009 and was a founding member of the Te Ara Kakariki Greenway Canterbury Trust and the Lincoln Envirotown Trust.
Ian is Professor of Nature Conservation at Lincoln University and Director of the Isaac Centre for Nature Conservation. His main research and teaching interests include the ecological basis of nature conservation and education for sustainable development. Previously he was Director of Environmental Sciences at the University of Southampton, England. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Fellow of the World Wildlife Fund (U.K.), and has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ).
Ian lives with his Wife in a 100 year old farmhouse in central Canterbury. He has an ecological footprint of 3.2 ha. He is a very keen gardener and spends much of his ‘spare’ time either planting native trees or training people to train dogs to be Canine Good Citizens. Photo provided by John Maillard.
Past Trustees and Coordinators
Greendot Coordinator – Elizabeth Guthrey (2015 – 2020)
I am working behind the scenes for TAK restoration activities as an organizer, communicator, and contact for TAK.
In this role, I aim to involve more people in restoration, and provide opportunities for expanding native greenways across the Selwyn District.
I am from Christchurch, yet spent most of my tertiary education in Southern California; this is where I grew a passion for native plant restoration. I was involved with transitioning non-native habitat on our university campus into native species. After graduating from my environmental studies / economics major, I took on an internship with ‘Back to Native Restoration’ in the same area for a year part time. There I took the certificate course in restoration, propagated lots of seeds, planted, removed invasive species in the regional parks, and did some office work. Whilst doing this, I taught school children in the regional parks.
Since then I have recently completed an MBA with a focus for designers (my other passion). The business management part is helping me a lot in this role as TAK Coordinator, and is of great use in my other part time work with WikiHouseNZ, a collaborative global network for bringing people better housing solutions. I provide advice for environmentally responsible materials among other things.
Wim Nijhof (2017-2019)
Wim works for the Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and he has a keen interest in conservation and biodiversity. He enjoys the New Zealand’s nature and has a special interest in birds. In 2012 he moved to a lifestyle block near Lincoln and started the transformation from an ex-dairy farm to an environment that can support native wildlife again by planting native plants. In 2017 he joined Te Ara Kakariki’s green dot programme. His was the 49th Green dot the trust has established.
Cr Malcolm Lyall (Chair 2012 to 2015)
Malcolm has been actively involved in community and environmental organizations for many years and is in his third term as a councilor on the Selwyn District Council.
Malcolm holds the portfolios of tourism, economic development, heritage and the arts; he is a hearings commissioner and a member of the greater Christchurch urban development strategy implementation committee.He has a strong interest in environmental issues and the education and promotion of increasing environmental biodiversity and sustainability.
Mark Sanders became a Trustee of Te Ara Kakariki in 2015. Mark started his ecological career in the early 1990s studying freshwater ecology, which led him into research on foraging ecology of water birds, then on to broader research on and management of flora and fauna of rivers and wetlands. He has worked on a range of conservation management and research projects in New Zealand and Australia. Since 2006, Mark has worked as an ecological consultant which has seen him involved in a variety of projects throughout New Zealand. He gets great satisfaction from applying ecological knowledge to project design and implementation, and firmly believes in preserving the biodiversity that we already have as a priority, supported by restoration and enhancement. Mark likes tramping, surfing, mountain biking and anything that gets him out and about amongst our unique flora and fauna and outdoor environment. He lives on a small holding near Lincoln where, since 2006, he and his wife Kate have been planting, watering and weeding native plants – and enjoying an associated proliferation of birds, lizards and invertebrates.
Frances Schmechel (2006 – 2014)
Frances has always been interested in nature conservation and ecology. Her interest and knowledge of Canterbury native plants grew during her years as coordinator for the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust and when working on a project to assist Selwyn landowners learn about their local native vegetation. Together, with other like-minded people who were excited about supporting the idea of a network of native vegetation as stepping stones of habitat linking the mountains to the sea, she formed Te Ara Kakariki / Greenway Canterbury to support landowners and community groups to conserve and restore native vegetation and wildlife on the Canterbury Plains.
She currently works as a Biodiversity Advisor for Environment Canterbury working with the newly established biodiversity team to implement the Immediate Steps Biodiversity Programme (part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy) and Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy. Originally from the States she came to New Zealand in 1992 as a Rotary Scholar to study Resource Management at Lincoln University. She continued with further studies on conservation of a threatened bird species (Chatham Island oystercatcher). She enjoys most anything to do with the outdoors and native plants and animals. She also volunteers to help with other conservation projects, mainly to do with birds and offshore islands, when she can.
Jason Arnold (2006 – 2013)
Born and bred in the local area Jason’s involvement over the past 17 years in community, sustainable business and environmental issues continues through his commitment to Te Ara Kākāriki. His own native restoration on a small slice of the whenua adds another Greendot to the growing number of stepping stones across the Canterbury Plains.
Debbie Craddock (financial administration)
Debbie moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2006 with her family and currently lives in Prebbleton. With a strong interest in all things natural, she currently splits her time between working in the complementary health field and caring for preschool children at home. Debbie is a keen home gardener and enjoys an active lifestyle in and around Selwyn. Being part of a community and giving back more than you take are important values to her and so she has always been keen to get involved starting with kindy and sporting associations, school as well as community and scouting organisations. She has always had a strong interest in finance and paperwork, and has been involved as either a secretary or a treasurer in many of the groups.
Helen Chambers (2011 – 2013)
I came to NZ in 1967. After bringing up a family I did a degree and then started dealing with NZ weeds! Did a lot of raising plants for DOC both in the Marlborough Sounds and on the West Coast before returning to Christchurch. I have been involved with community groups all my life first with Womens Health and then with the environment. We started the West Coast Blue Penguin Trust because penguins were dying around us from Dogs and traffic in 2006 and that is still going strong. I now weed and plant round the Foreshore in Governors Bay and up the Hurunui.