The Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board has 9 members appointed by the Minister of Conservation. The Board is currently carrying 1 vacancy. Find out more about the current members of the Board.

Drew Castle of Inglewood (Chairperson)

Appointment term: 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2025

Drew (Ngāi Tahu) is a self-employed IT professional with 20 years’ experience in the IT industry. He has more recently been involved in other governance activities in the wider Taranaki community. He is strongly involved in local conservation efforts, and brings an IT solutions focus to how this can support and enhance conservation initiatives. Drew has always had a keen interest in outdoor activities, and is an advocate of habitat protection, repopulation efforts of native birdlife, and the recognition of the uniqueness of local ecologies.

Christopher (Chris) Smith (Deputy Chairperson)

Appointment term: 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024

Chris (Ngāti Apakura) is educated in Enviromental Science and Geography, and has experience in search and rescue. He also has an interest in a the combination of indigenous knowledge systems and science, to address conservation issues.  

Dr Bruce Clarkson of Hamilton

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025

Bruce is a scientist, researcher, educator, and ecologist who has 50+ years’ experience working to recognise and restore native plant communities. He is internationally renowned in his field of botany and is currently a Professor at the University of Waikato, and the Programme Leader for Peoples, Cities and Nature. He offers valuable expertise and knowledge of the biodiversity and ecology of the Board’s area. 

Te Aorangi Dillon of Hāwera

Appointment term: 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024

Aorangi (Ngāruahine, Ngāti Hāua, Okahu, Inuawai, Kanihi, Umutahi, Mōkai Pātea Nui Tona, Te Arawa, and Ngāti Rangitihi) is a social worker and a member of a number of Māori organisations, including iwi and hapū governance bodies, and the South Taranaki District Council Iwi Liaison Committee. She is actively involved in her community and has excellent relationship and interpersonal skills.

Claire Dowsett of Whanganui

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026

Clair (Ngāti Raukawa ki Waikato) lives with her whānau in Whanganui. She is a current PhD student studying community values for introduced species and the relationships between people and nature. Claire has previously worked for the Department as a Biodiversity Ranger and a Biodiversity Planner, and will bring to the Board experience in hands-on conservation practice and the inner operational workings of the Department.​

Nicholas Plimmer of New Plymouth

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Nicholas has a strong legal background with a focus on environmental, resource management, and climate change law, alongside knowledge of issues facing the marine environment.    

Liana Poutu of New Plymouth

Appointment term: 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2025

Liana (Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Whanganui and Maniapoto) is the statutory nominee of the Taranaki Māori Trust Board. She has a legal background with a strong focus on Māori land, Treaty of Waitangi, governance and public law. Liana has extensive governance experience (including prior conservation board experience) with strong iwi, hapū and marae networks across Taranaki and Whanganui. She also serves as a negotiator for Te Ruruku Pūtakerongo - the Taranaki Maunga collective redress deed.

Jill Sheehy of Whanganui

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025

Ko Ngaapaerangi te Iwi o Paerangi o te Maungaroa, o te Kāhui Maunga ki Tangaroa.

Ko Te Aatihaunui a Paapaarangi te Iwi o Hinengākau, Tamaūpoko, Tūpoho.

Jill has strong community engagement, governance, planning and nature conservation skills. This, coupled with her cultural affiliations, makes her an asset to the Board. Her expertise in RMA/planning matters will be very useful to the Board’s ongoing and future review work.


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