The Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board has 12 members appointed by the Minister of Conservation. Find out more about the current members of the Board.

Dr Heather Purdie of Canterbury (Chairperson)

Appointment term: 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2024

Dr Purdie is an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, who specialises in Physical Geography and Glaciology.  Heather has 14 years’ experience in conducting research into New Zealand glaciers and their response to climate change, and the implications of environmental change to commercial tourism concessions and recreational activities on conservation land. She is also a scientific advisor for the DOC Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) programme at Aoraki Mount Cook.

Michael McMillan of North Temuka (Deputy Chairperson)

Appointment term: 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2026

Michael (Rapuwai, Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Ngāi Tahu) is a nominee by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and is the current Deputy Chair of the Board. Notable kaupapa he has led on the Board include the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park review/consultation; commercial eeling in the McKenzie county lakes through MPI quota; Rangitata conservation lands and encroachment on the river; and developments at Kura Tawhiti.

Courtney Bennett of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025

Courtney’s background is in environmental and strategic planning. She runs a planning consultancy that specialises in policy and plan-writing, community engagement, and research; and has previously worked on national park-related projects in a technical capacity. Courtney has also published several academic articles focusing on best practice mana whenua engagement methodologies, and incorporating Māori worldviews and mātauranga into planning processes.

Robert Brears of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2025

Robert has 12 years of experience in climate change and natural resources management, on topics including water resources management, climate change mitigation/adaptation, and nature-based solutions.

Rachael Evans of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Rachael (Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Pamoana) is a lecturer in law at Canterbury University.  She is a former practicing lawyer specialising in Treaty right and water resource management government law.  Ms Evans has considerable knowledge about Te Ao Māori and conservation, tikanga and the environment.

Joseph Hullen of Kaiapoi

Appointment term: 1 September 2007 to 30 June 2025

Joseph (Ngāi Tahu) was nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. He has skills in environmental management and advocacy, is a mahinga kai practitioner and provides strong cultural awareness. He is currently employed as a whakapapa researcher for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024

DP Hulme is an experienced biosecurity academic. He has served on Biosecurity Advisory Committees for the UK and New Zealand governments, as well as Environment Canterbury. He has an excellent understanding of data and statistics, the ability to make evidence-based decisions, knowledge of the research landscape that supports conservation activities in New Zealand, and a sound understanding of governance best practice.

Paul Milligan of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Paul has a background in marine tourism would provide insights in both marine issues (which is not currently represented on the Board membership) and the tourism industry.

Rachel Robilliard of Southbridge

Appointment term: 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2025

Rachel (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, and Te Taumutu Rūnanga) was nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She has a legal background with a focus on environmental, planning and natural resources law. She has experience advising on legal and compliance requirements for a range of environmental and resource management matters. She is also a member of the Kaitiakitanga Portfolio for Te Taumutu Rūnanga.

Richard Suggate of Diamond Harbour

Appointment term 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025

After a 30 year career working for Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation) across Canterbury and  other locations, Richard brings to the Board a wide understanding of biodiversity, recreation and conservation operations. During his career, he established relationships with Canterbury papatipu rūnanga and many local groups. Richard is currently a member of a number of conservation, recreation and community organisations including co-chairing the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust. 

Puawai Swindells-Wallace of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024

Puawai (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, and Ngāi Tahu) was nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She has experience in conservation operations, is an active advocate and member of her hapū and wider community, has a high level of cultural awareness, and is skilled in networking, advocacy, and bicultural communication.

Brenden Winder of Christchurch

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Brenden (Ngāi Irakehu, Tūwharetoa) has been identified by both the Board Chair and some Rūnanga Chairs for his varied background in maritime matters, land and vegetation fire management, and tourism.  He also provides an understanding of working within government and local government agencies.  Mr Winder Also strengthens the Māori representation on the Board.

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