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Our Land and Water has established a sound governance and management structure that supports collaborative ways of working at all levels

This includes a network of external advisory groups that include industry stakeholders, independent national and international science advisors, and parties to the collaboration agreement.


Ken Taylor

Director, Our Land and Water

Professor Rich McDowell

Chief Scientist, Our Land and Water

Katrina Hall

Operations Manager, Our Land and Water

Annabel McAleer

Senior Communications Advisor, Our Land and Water

Rachel Caldwell

Programme Coordinator, Our Land and Water

Rachael Gallaher

Project Accountant, Our Land and Water

Sarah Parish

Personal Assistant to the Director of Our Land and Water

Science Leadership Team

The Science Leadership Team is responsible for overseeing the quality and impact of science undertaken by the Challenge. They work with the Directorate and research leaders, and contribute to the ongoing development of research priorities and strategy.

Dr David Houlbrooke

Science Theme Leader, Future Landscapes

Expertise: Science Team Leader, Environmental Research, AgResearch

Professor Caroline Saunders

Science Theme Leader, Incentives for Change

Expertise: Professor of Trade and Economics, Lincoln University

Dr James Turner

Science Theme Leader, Capacity for Transition

Expertise: Senior Scientist (Resource Economics), AgResearch

Dr Selai Letica

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Tagata Pasifika
Vision Mātauranga Leader, Our Land and Water

Expertise: Kaiarataki, Research Priority Area Leader, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Dr Bruce Thorrold

End-user Lead, Future Landscapes

Expertise: Strategy and Investment Leader for Productivity, Dairy NZ

Alistair Mowat

End-user Lead, Incentives for Change

Expertise: Director, Thought Strategy Limited

Dr Lian Butcher

Expertise: ‎Director Aquatics, ‎Biodiversity Group, Department of Conservation

Governance Group

Dr Paul Reynolds QSO


Paul’s governance roles include Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (Deputy Chair), AgResearch (Acting Chair, Director), Sir Peter Blake Trust (Chair) and Eastland Community Trust (Chair). Paul also served as Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment (2008–2015). He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Otago. Paul was made Companion of the Queen's Service Order in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2018.


Bruce Wills

Deputy Chair

Bruce has a sheep and beef farming background. He is a past National President of Federated Farmers (2011–2014). Bruce has a number of off-farm governance roles: Motu (Chair), ApicultureNZ (Independent Chair), Deer Industry PGP (Chair), NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust (Chair), Ravensdown (Board member), HortNZ (Board member), QEII National Trust (Board member) and Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge (Trustee).

Hilton Collier

Hilton (Ngati Porou) is a farm management consultant with more than 35 years of experience, particularly in the Hawkes Bay and East Coast areas, where he has strong links to Māori agribusiness. Founding shareholder of Agfirst, Hilton is a Trustee for Tarawhiti Land Development Trust and is involved with Firstlight (Wagyu beef) and The New Zealand Merino Company. Hilton has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University.

Dr Ian Ferguson MNZM

Ian is the Departmental Science Advisor for the Ministry of Primary Industries. Prior to that, he was the Chief Scientist at Plant and Food Research (2003–2013). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Fellow of the International Society for Horticultural Science. Ian was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to horticultural science in the New Year's Honours 2010.

Michael McCartney

Michael is the Chief Executive of Horizons Regional Council. He chairs the NZ Regional Council Chief Executive Group and is the key link from that group to the Regional Sector Group (a collective of all the regional and unitary council mayors and chairs). Michael is chair of Manawatu-Wanganui Local Authority Shared Services, and is the regional sector representative on the Land and Water Forum.

Hōne McGregor

Hōne is the former Chief Executive of the Royal Forest & Bird Society (2013–2016). He is currently a director for two leading Māori businesses, Wakatū Incorporation and Kono NZ, and is Chair of the Manawatū Kukutauaki Trust and Volunteer Service Abroad. He also serves on the Government's Trade for All Advisory Board and the Federation of Māori Authorities Executive, representing Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui members. Hōne is currently undertaking a PhD in Māori enterprise and cultural capital.

Gillian Wratt MNZM

Gillian is a former Chief Executive of Cawthron Institute (2006–2012), Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand (1996–2002), and Director of the New Zealand Antarctic Programme (1992–1996). Gillian has also been an environment negotiator for New Zealand free trade agreements, and was the Establishment Unit Convenor for the Crop and Food Research Institute. Gillian is a current Board member of the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority and chairs the Steering Group for the Antarctic Science Platform, and has several not-for-profit Board roles.

Kāhui Māori

Our Kāhui members have a broad range of expertise from various industries throughout Aotearoa. This knowledge helps the Challenge continually improve its implementation of Vision Mātauranga and responsiveness to iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori business goals, and ensures our research is underpinned by te āo Māori.

Traci Houpapa MNZM JP CFInstD


Traci is an award-winning company director and a recognised industry leader. She was named as one of the top 10 most influential women in New Zealand agribusiness, the Listener’s top 10 influencers in New Zealand and among Westpac’s New Zealand Women Powerbrokers list. Traci is a Distinguished Alumni from Massey University, and named amongst the BBC's 100 Most Influential Women in the World. Traci has an MBA (Massey) and is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, a Justice of the Peace and a marriage celebrant.

Naomi Aporo

Naomi is the Group Program Manager at Wakatū Incorporation. She has expertise in programme and leadership development, and Māori development.

Jim Peters MNZM

Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, Ngā Puhi

Jim is the former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at the University of Auckland. He has extensive knowledge of Māori development, particularly in Northland, and strong linkages with Taitokerau iwi and regional government. He was a Member of Parliament (2002–2005), and was Chair of the Northland Regional Council (1995–2001).

Dr Erica Williams

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Whānau ā Apanui

Erica is a scientist in Te Kūwaha, NIWA's National Centre of Māori Environmental Research, which assists Māori communities throughout New Zealand by providing the latest scientific knowledge, tools and resources to assist in their management of natural resources. Her expertise is in freshwater environments.

Science Advisory Panel

Our Science Advisory Panel is made up of local and international experts. They ensure Our Land and Water research is of high scientific quality, of international relevance and has the potential to be innovative and of high impact, through robust review of research plans and science strategy.

Professor Maggie Gill


Maggie is Chair of the Independent Science and Partnership Council of the CGIAR, a global partnership of agricultural research centres. She is a Professor of Integrated Land Use at the University of Aberdeen. Maggie was formerly the Chief Scientific Advisor, Rural Affairs and the Environment, to the Scottish Government. She has expertise in global foresight and international sustainable systems.

Dr David Wratt QSO

Deputy Chair

David is Emeritus Scientist (Climate) at NIWA and an Adjunct Professor in the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University. He was a Vice Chair of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2002–2015), and was Chief Scientist (Climate) at NIWA (retired September 2014) and Director of the New Zealand Climate Change Centre.

Professor Ruth Beilin

Ruth is a Professor at the University of Melbourne School of Land and Environment. Her expertise is in developing the field of landscape sociology within environmental sociology, as a platform for integrating biophysical and social sciences.

Professor Ray Collins

Ray is Emeritus Professor in the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, at the University of Queensland. He has expertise in value chains, agribusiness, and supply chain management.

Dr Tony Petch

Tony is an honorary lecturer in environmental science at the university of Waikato. He is an independent consultant (‎Tony Petch Consulting Ltd), and was formerly with Environment Waikato. He has expertise in environment and catchment science.

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