Challenge Leadership Team (CLT)
The Challenge Leadership Team (CLT) is responsible for scoping, leading and developing of the Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate.
Our Kāhui Māori provides the Governing Group and Challenge Leadership Team with strategic advice and input into our science strategy and priorities, and helps with the assessment of science quality, performance and responsiveness to iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori business goals.
The Deep South Challenge aims to support decision makers at every level, by making sure you can use and apply our research. A team of wahine, Māori and tangata Tiriti, our engagement approach is to be open, transparent and always innovating. Reach out to the Engagement Team by email here.
Representative User Group (RUG)
Our Representative User Group (RUG) is comprised of key practitioners and knowledge holders from major across many of our social and economic sectors. The RUG provides the Challenge with an accessible and representative partners and stakeholders, enabling us to: identify the most relevant stakeholders for particular research within key sectors; ‘ground truth’ research recommendations and key messages; seek feedback on research prior to release; and collaborate on research promotion and engagement opportunities.
Independent Science Panel
The Independent Science Panel (ISP) provides our Governing Group with independent science advice and input into our science strategy and priorities. The panel also helps with assessments of science quality and performance.
Our independent Governance Group was appointed by the collaborative parties of the Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate.
Phil Wiles (Director)
Phil began his career as an oceanographic technician at NIWA. He took this strong foundation in research to American Samoa, where he spent three years with the local Environmental Protection Agency.
Phil returned to Aotearoa in 2014 taking up a position with the Ministry for the Environment including work on guiding New Zealand’s contribution to the Paris Agreement. In his most recent role at the Climate Change Commission, he’s continued his work in the mitigation space, where he leads the agriculture, forests and waste team.
Mark Webley (Manager)
Mark joins us from 14 years us at NIWA working in a variety of administrative roles. One of his main roles has been as project coordinator for the Deep South Challenge, so he is already well versed in the intricacies of our work. Outside of work he keeps busy managing football and spending time with his family in the eastern suburbs of Wellington.
Chris Kelly (Chair)
Chris has expertise in management and the primary production sector. He is a current director of the Crown Irrigation Investment Company, Pengxin NZ Farm Management Limited and FarmIQ. Chris is also the current Chair of AgriOne (a joint venture between Lincoln and Massey Universities) and Kahne Animal Health, as well as being a former Chief Executive of Landcorp Farming Limited.
Lesley Smith (Chair)
Lesley works at Water New Zealand, the industry association for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater professionals and organisations. With changes to the water cycle on the front line of climate change adaptation challenges, her role as the chair of the representative user group provides an ideal vehicle to assist in the urgent challenge of translating climate science into on the ground action. Lesley originally qualified and worked as an electrical engineer, but has now spent over a decade working in the water sector, where she feels grateful to be able to engage her passion for climate action and healthy waters on a daily basis.
David Wratt (Chair)
David is an Emeritus Researcher, Climate, with NIWA. He has a PhD in Atmospheric Physics and has worked in the USA, Australia and New Zealand on climate and meteorology. He is a Companion of the Royal Society, A member of the society's New Zealand Climate Expert Panel, and a member of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Sarah Anderson is Principal Specialist for Climate Resilience and Climate Action Plan Lead within Auckland Council’s Chief Sustainability Office. Sarah leads the development and implementation of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan, a regional plan with core goals to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Prior to moving to Aotearoa with her family in 2017, Sarah was Environment Strategy Manager and Flood Risk and Resilience Manager for Kent County Council in the UK, with a focus on developing partnerships and integrated approaches for resilience and adaptation, economy, health and environment. Through her roles she has developed several climate-related EU programmes and was part of the UK Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, advising the UK Government on their national Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Programme.
Shaun (Ngāti Porou) is a Senior Kairangahau at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and a Theme Leader with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. Shaun’s work involves improving the incorporation of Māori values into economic decision making for collective assets. Shaun has been active supporting Māori land manage collective assets in more sustainable ways, consistent with the kaupapa Māori principles of kaitiekitanga, manaakitanga and whakatipu rawa. He is currently engaged in research and policy to help prepare iwi and hapū Māori for climate change mitigation and adaptation planning.
Alison Anitawaru Cole
With her hapū, Alison (Ngāti Ruanui (Ngāti Tupaea), Ngāruahine (Ngāti Tū, Ōkahu Inuawai me ētahi atu) and Taranaki Whānui) helps coordinate takutai moana and awa monitoring within her rohe. She is a resource consent environment Commissioner and RMA lawyer, and is completing her PhD in climate change and indigenous rights at Victoria University Wellington. She recently attended COP26 as an Iwi Chairs Forum representative on the MFAT delegation to Glasgow. She received her BA in Law with first class honours from Cambridge University and received her LLM from Harvard Law School, and began her career in war crimes investigations with the United Nations.
Nathan is Professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of Tasmania in Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies. He has a background in Earth Sciences (PhD in Earth Sciences, Australian National University). He is also a physical oceanographer, specialising in ocean climate and the earth’s climate system, with a focus on understanding the causes of change in the oceans. He was the coordinating lead author for the ocean chapter in the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report and Fifth Assessment reports. His most recent work is on documenting the decline in oxygen content of the oceans and dynamics of the Southern Ocean.
Max is a Professor in the Environmental Studies department (where he now serves as Chair) at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a Fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Max is a co-author and editor of seven books and edited volumes, along with over 200 articles, reports and book chapters. Among Max's other activities, he is a Contributing Author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment ‘Mitigation and Policy’ Report, he is Deputy Editor for the social sciences/history team for the Journal of Climatic Change and he has been an advisor on the Netflix 'Don't Look Up' film platform. Max also leads the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO) while he leads Colorado Local Science Engagement Network and co-Directs Inside the Greenhouse. Max earned a PhD in Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, and a BS in Psychology from The Ohio State University.
Christopher is a member of the Strategy and Influence team at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Part of his role for the past two years has been assisting with the development of a tribal climate change response strategy for Ngāi Tahu. Christopher was raised in rural Canterbury and has a keen interest in the outdoors. His Ngāi Tahu whakapapa leads to Murihiku, and he tries to go south as often as possible.
Blair has been involved in climate change issues for over 20 years. He originally worked as a scientist before retraining in public policy and has a special interest in finding successful solutions to climate change issues, particularly the links between water management, renewable energy and climate change. Blair is currently employed to provide resource management advice to Waikato Regional Council helping Waikato communities to reduce their impacts on the climate and sustainably adapt to the opportunities and constraints of an increasingly climate-influenced environment. He also chairs the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance, Climate Change Officers Group and is the Resource Management Law Association’s Climate Change Knowledge Hub Leader.
Roger is a Civil Engineer and Chartered Member of Engineering New Zealand. His career spans government, State Owned Enterprises and the private sector, including concept development, design, construction, and government policy. Roger is an internationally recognised expert on infrastructure resilience and currently leads the Strategic Resilience Project across all central government transport agencies. Roger is Chair of the New Zealand Lifelines (Utilities) Council and was a key contributor to the “Built Environment Leaders Forum Summary of Findings” publication. He is an independent consultant with Neo Leaf Global Ltd.
Tasman Turoa Gillies
Tasman (Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga) is the Programme Director for Takiwā NZ Ltd. Tasman has a focus on how to restore, maintain and enhance the relationships between people and the environment. He works with iwi and hapū to develop data strategies that support their aspirations to do with te taiao. He strives to build trustworthy data infrastructure for iwi and hapū that works in their context. Through this work Tasman sees a real need to scale the flow of data and information to the frontline to urgently drive climate action.
Tim became Chief Executive of the Insurance Council in November 2012. Our inaugural Representative User Group Chair, Tim has extensive experience in providing strategic, policy and communications advice to public and private sector leaders. He was an executive director of a leading market research company prior to taking up his position with ICNZ. Tim has a strong understanding of the machinery of government, having been an adviser to former Prime Ministers and Ministers of Finance as well as leading private companies. He has extensive knowledge of post-disaster recovery issues and insurance regulation.
Erica Finnie is Co-Director of 350 Aotearoa, a climate-change campaigning organisation with the aim to strengthen and grow climate action in communities across Aotearoa. 350 Aotearoa coordinates local campaigns by providing education, practical tools, and support for community leadership. Erica believes that grassroots movements and the power of everyday people are vital to overthrowing systems of oppression and creating a fairer, and safer future for people and planet. She has an MSc in Geography and is based in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Ruia (Ngāti Pikiahu, Ngāti Waewae, Ngāti Tūtemohuta, Tūrangitūkua, Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Whātua) is an award-winning singer, songwriter and illustrator, respected for his knowledge of tikanga and te reo Māori. He has a Diploma in Japanese Studies, and with Māori as his first language, he has taught in total immersion kura. Ruia is studying towards his Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Māori Development) at the University of Auckland Business School. He is an associate researcher with the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development, University of Auckland Business School.
Tyra Begbie is a descendant of Raukawa, and before him, a descendant of Māhinaarangi and Tūrongo. Tyra is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Environmental Planning in Te Ara Taiao at the University of Waikato. From her whānau, she has gained a rich understanding of the importance of being a kaitiaki and has a deep passion for protecting te taiao. Tyra has recently completed an internship with the Ministry for the Environment, in the Māori Climate Action team.
Angela hails from the Deep South itself, having grown up on a sheep farm near Edendale. Angela has been the Natural Resources and Environment Manager for Horticulture New Zealand, an industry organisation representing fruit and vegetable growers. She focused on resource management issues at a regional and national level and represented Horticulture as a member of our Representative User Group.
James has a 20-year career in the infrastructure and environmental sectors, including work within infrastructure planning, natural hazard risk and resilience, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. He leads T+Ts climate and resilience practice and has been involved in a range of significant projects over recent years. These include the recent National Climate Change Risk Assessment, Deep South Challenge research, NZTA’s Resilience Programme Business Case, LGNZ’s Sea Level Rise Exposure Survey and he was a member of MfE’s Climate Adaptation Technical Working Group.
Nadine Anne Hura
Nadine (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) is a writer, kaupapa Māori researcher and engagement specialist with experience in a range of advocacy, networking and policy roles. Nadine is an active member of the Toi Māori community, particularly through her positions on the committees of Te Hā Kaituhi Māori and Te Pou Muramura/Read NZ. She values partnership, in particular in support of indigenous sovereignty, and understands the value of genuine relationships in determining the success of any Kaupapa.
Kathy Jacobs is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and Director
of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) within the Arizona
Institute for Resilience (AIR). CCASS builds capacity on campus and off to accelerate
adaptation and on-the-ground solutions to climate issues. From 2010–13, Jacobs worked in
the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. She was director of the Third
National Climate Assessment, and the lead advisor on water science, water policy, and climate
adaptation. From 2006-09, Jacobs was Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a
consortium of Arizona’s three universities focused on water sustainability. She worked 23 years
for the Arizona Department of Water Resources, including 15 as the director of the Tucson
Active Management Area. She was engaged in multiple aspects of implementing Arizona’s
Groundwater Management Act, including development of water conservation programs and the
Assured Water Supply Rules.
Aimee (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa, Ngā Puhi) resides in Motupōhue, Bluff, and is a strong advocate for intergenerational well-being and for regional development. Aimee is very aware of the climate impacts on livelihoods, mahinga kai, resources and our people – ki uta ki tai. She currently works for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as Regional Investment – Rūnanga Engagement Manager, and is a director and governor on a number of entities, across a range of national and regional sectors. She has a particular interest in the role science and mātauranga Māori plays in whānau and hapū well-being and their planning for their futures.
Engagement Team Co-Lead
Alex supports our Engagement Team to plan and create meaningful, whānau-friendly communications and engagement projects. Her approach to communicating about climate change and climate adaptation is informed both by research and by many years trialling tools and tactics at the flaxroots.
Max (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Awa) works to create events that weave together people, land, and research into te ao hurihuri - the ever changing world. He is committed to creating spaces that enable effective conversations and collective empowerment, with an emphasis on upholding mana and rangatiratanga in every room.
Max lives in Titahi Bay with his growing family and fills his free time with music, art and exploring Te Taiao.
Karen is the Acting Manager - Adaptation at the Climate Commission. She previously worked as a policy analyst at the Climate Commission.
Bryan is the UK University of Reading's Professor of Weather and Climate Computing. He holds a three-way joint position between the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the University Departments of Meteorology and Computer Science. Bryan was born in New Zealand, and studied physics at the University of Canterbury before specialising in climate science. After roles leading the British Atmospheric Data Centre, the UK Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, and the Models and Data division at NCAS, he returned to a more typical academic role. He is now intimately involved in a range of climate science projects as well as continuing to provide European leadership on environmental e-infrastructure (the people, software, and hardware for large-scale simulation and data services).
Zoe is a researcher into science communication, with a specific focus on climate change. Alongside working as part of the engagement team, she is undertaking a PhD on storytelling and climate change at the Centre for Science in Society at Victoria University. Previously our communications advisor, Zoe has taken over the role of Partnerships Director from Angela Halliday.
Susan is the Climate Adviser at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Susan was also our very first Partnerships Director, holding that role from the Challenge's inception till 2017.
Belinda is a senior analyst, Climate Adaptation at the Ministry for the Environment. Belinda has twenty years in the environmental governance field, specialising the last few years in climate adaptation. She has a PhD in public policy analysis and published on the use of policy experimentation in climate adaptation and water management in the Netherlands.
Hone (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Ātiawa, Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungunu/Ngāti Kere, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Rārua, Rangitāne, Ngāti Kuia) is a board member of the Wakatū Incorporation. He is a Kono Director, and also sits on the Audit & Risk Committee and Chairs the Human Resource Committee. Hone has extensive experience in senior leadership roles across Aotearoa. He serves on a number of boards and expert advisory groups, and is an Executive Member on the Federation of Māori Authorities. Hone lives in Wellington and is of Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Rārua descent.
Rebecca is a director, strategist and entrepreneur. She has designed and launched several systems-level change initiatives both in Aotearoa and around the world. Rebecca holds qualifications in Impact Management and Measurement from Oxford Saïd Business School and a Masters in Environmental Science from Waikato University. She is founder and director of The Lever Room, which helps iwi, local and international clients make more measurable impact through their investments. Rebecca was selected as New Zealand’s first Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2013 and she played a central role in helping to establish Sir Richard Branson’s B Team.
John has been Chief Executive of NIWA since April 2007. He is a graduate of Macquarie University’s Strategic Marketing Programme and the Executive Leadership Programme from INSEAD, France. He has extensive senior executive and governance experience in public and private sector organisations covering a range of markets and activities including business, science, education and sport. John is passionate about the role science can play in transforming New Zealand's economy, environment, society and global reputation.
Olaf holds a PhD in meteorology and has worked in the UK and Germany on the development of atmospheric chemistry and chemistry-climate models. He has led chemistry-climate modelling at NIWA since 2009 and has been a Programme Leader since 2012. In addition, Olaf is a Principal Investigator of the Challenge's Capability projects, which make available, support, and coordinate the development of the New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM).
Sandy is tribally grounded, globally informed and whānau tested against the everyday realities in which whānau exist. From 2004-08, Sandy served as President of the Asia South Pacific Association for Adult and Basic Education (ASPBAE), the largest non-government organisation on adult education in the world. She is Assistant Dean (Academic) for the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, which allows her to challenge the thinkers of tomorrow and concentrate on her research interests around Treaties, Adult Education and Indigenous Development. Sandy led the Te Tai Uka a Pia (Iwi relationships with the Southern and Antarctic Oceans) project in the Vision Mātauranga programme, and was also part of the Culture and Climate Change project.
Tina is a strong advocate for Maori in business and Maori in Agribusiness. At a Governance level she has been involved in Onuku Maori Land Trust (Farming and Honey production); Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust (Commercial, Tourism and Thermal Spa & Hot springs; Pukaingataru B12 Trust (Kiwifruit) and she is Chair of Manaaki Ora Trust. Tina is also a member of Toi EDA for the Eastern Bay of Plenty and on the Bay of Plenty Leadership Group for the BOP region.
David is a natural scientist whose specialty is in understanding relationships between atmospheric wind patterns, the water cycle and climate. David is the Buckley-Glavish Professor of Climate Physics at Auckland University and also serves as Director of the Climate Systems Laboratory and Director of Strategic Engagement for Nga Ara Whetu. David is well-known for his expertise in modeling, observing and explaining composition and water in the atmosphere and on the landscape.
Darren Ngaru King
Darren is a research scientist with experience spanning the earth and human-system sciences. He received his PhD from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia. Darren leads NIWA’s Māori Environmental Research Programme ‘Hazards, Climate and Māori Society’ and holds a joint-position on the Kāhui Māori for the Deep South Challenge and the Antarctic Science Platform.
Carolyn O'Brien is the administrator of the Deep South Challenge. She has worked at NIWA in various roles since 1996. Prior to NIWA, Carolyn worked in a variety of roles both here and in Australia, and on returning to New Zealand raised her family. Carolyn has been with the Challenge since 2017 and enjoys the diversity and content the Challenge provides, while working alongside a creative and talented team.
Born and raised in Hawke’s Bay, James Palmer has been Chief Executive of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council since June 2017, having previously served as the Council’s Group Manager Strategic Development. He is currently on the national Forestry Ministerial Advisory Committee and is also a Director of Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. Prior to working at Council, James was Deputy Secretary Sector Strategy at the Ministry for the Environment and Director Strategy at both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry before that.
Sam is a former public sector and agency communicator who has worked in his own consultancy practice since 2017. An adept writer and strategic thinker, who places high value on relationships, Sam has worked on high-profile crisis management programmes in the public sector, and in recent years has specialised in communications for NGOs and other groups who focus on conservation and ecological restoration.
Sam is a huge advocate for the "context is king" model of communications. One of his favourite quotes is, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble; it's what you know for sure, that just ain't so," (Mark Twain, allegedly). Sam is a father of two, lives in Wellington, is a keen if sometimes overly experimental cook and in a previous life wrote about videogames for a range of local and international publications. He is a descendent of Te Atiawa in Taranaki.
Engagement Co-Lead & Kaitakawaenga
Naomi is a researcher and environmental specialist whose background is geography, environmental planning and kaupapa Māori. A member of both our Kāhui Māori and our Engagement Team, Naomi is also a co-director of Tūānuku Ltd. Naomi’s research interests include Māori and Indigenous geographies, freshwater and iwi and hapū resource management, Māori maternities, whānau wellbeing and Indigenous methodologies.
Sir Mark Solomon
Sir Mark is a professional director and Māori tribal leader of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kurī descent. He is the former Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, director of Te Ohu Kaimoana (Māori Fisheries Trust), Chair of the New Zealand China Council, and a former director Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Keri Topperwien (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou) is a highly skilled and experienced environmental advisor, researcher and facilitator, and co-director of Tūānuku Ltd. Tūānuku is a kaupapa Māori environmental consultancy that supports iwi, hapū and marae kaitiaki aspirations by centring environmental, social, health and cultural wellbeing.
Sharon has been immersed in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, working in civic & social organisations. With an MNZM for services to the community, her expertise is in the contribution of the non-profit sector to community preparation for and response to emergencies and disasters.
Climate Change Knowledge Broker
Kate’s role, as the Challenge’s Climate Change Knowledge Broker, is to support researchers and stakeholders to navigate the often disaggregated world of climate change data, information and people. Kate is a Fulbright scholar from Ōtepoti (Dunedin) with a background in sea ice physics, and has spent time working with local knowledge holders on the ice in Alaska, investigating the extreme changes underway in their sea ice environment. She is motivated by science as a service to our communities and society, and how scientific tools and information can be mobilised for change.
Tania Te Rangingangana Simpson
Tania is a professional director with expertise across social policy, the environment, economic development and Treaty-related matters. Tania is of Tainui, Ngāi Tahu and Nga Puhi descent. She is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, and a director of Auckland Airport, Tainui Group Holdings and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Tania is also a Trustee of the Waitangi National Trust and Chair of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.
Linda Tuhiwai Smith
Linda Tuhiwai Smith is Professor of Education and Māori Development, Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and is Chairperson of NPM's International Research Advisory Board. She has worked in the field of Māori education and health for many years as an educator and researcher and is well known for her work in Kaupapa Māori research. Professor Smith has published widely in journals and books. Her book Decolonising Methodologies Research and Indigenous Peoples has been an international best seller in the indigenous world since its publication in 1998.
Dr. Francis Zwiers is director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at the University of Victoria. His former roles include chief of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis and director of the Climate Research Division, both at Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a research scientist, his expertise is in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of observed and simulated climate variability and change. Dr. Zwiers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, a recipient of the Patterson Medal and President’s Prize, has served as an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report and as an elected member of the IPCC Bureau for the Fifth Assessment Report.
Anita Wreford is an economist and leader of our Impacts & Implications programme. She currently works at Lincoln University. She's experienced across many areas of climate change, including economic evaluations of adaptation and applying robust methods to deal with climate uncertainty; identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation options across sectors; mitigation options and costs in agriculture; community resilience to extreme weather events; and adaptation decision-making among various stakeholders.