12–13 August 2019

Our Land and Water Symposium 2019


12–13 August 2019

Hosted by:

Our Land and Water


The Our Land and Water Symposium is now over. Find videos of the presentations here.  

How do we restore the most fundamental treasures of our country – our land and water – while also producing value from those same treasures? Be part of the solution at the third annual symposium of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai.

The Our Land and Water Symposium (Te Papa, 12–13 August 2019) will feature dynamic panel discussions, live Q&As, inspiring speakers, and quick-fire updates on the science and research being done by Our Land and Water’s partner organisations.

Join an audience of researchers, regional council members, industry bodies, agribusiness, Māori land owners, food and fibre producers, banks, farm consultants and NGOs, and participate in live Q&As with people at the forefront of transforming primary production in Aotearoa.


Download the programme here (7 August 2019). Topics to be covered include:

How can scientists help land owners diversify farming systems to better suit their land? Can we pick Aotearoa’s next billion-dollar food and fibre industries? What’s next for the New Zealand food story? How can individuals transform deeply rooted systems? How do we harness the power of collaboration to build trust and make better decisions?


Lain JagerLain Jager

Chair of the Primary Sector Council

Lain Jager was chief executive of Zespri for nine years, from 2008 to 2017, during which time grower returns doubled and the share price grew from $1 to $8. He is now chair of the Primary Sector Council, providing independent strategic advice and fresh thinking to government, and setting a vision to help navigate the primary sector through unprecedented changes.


Miriana StephensMiriana Stephens

Director of Wakatū

Miriana Stephens is a director for Wakatū Incorporation, which is guided by Te Pae Tawhiti, a 500-year intergenerational plan, and has approximately 4000 shareholders who descend from Te Tauihu. Miriana coordinates Wakatū's innovation and research programme, guiding their business to the leading edge in a way that integrates customary knowledge and practices. Miriana is from Motueka and is of Ngāti Rārua, Ngāiterangi and Ngāti Ranginui descent.

Melissa Clark ReynoldsMelissa Clark Reynolds

Futurist and company director

Melissa Clark Reynolds is a serial technology entrepreneur, digital strategist and company director. Melissa was a member of MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Investment Advisory Panel, is Beef & Lamb NZ's first independent director. She also chairs the LINZ Risk & Audit Committee. Backed by training in foresight methodologies and disruptive innovation, Melissa loves to think creatively about how to find new solutions to old problems.


David DownsDavid Downs

Agritech Taskforce lead

Author of No.8 Re-Wired, No.8 Re-Charged and Stuff column ‘A Mild Touch of the Cancer', David Downs is a self-described ‘genetically modified organism', having successfully undergone cell therapy. After 20 years' in the tech sector, with time working for Microsoft in Asia, he now works to grow innovative Kiwi businesses internationally at NZTE. He was recently seconded to lead a cross-government taskforce to grow the agritech sector.


Rebecca SmithRebecca Smith

Director, New Zealand Story

Rebecca is an experienced marketer leading the New Zealand Story Group, an initiative that defines the distinctly Kiwi attributes that make New Zealand unique and provides a framework to help us better communicate our value to the world. Rebecca has a unique view of how consumers and buyers offshore see New Zealand and can share insights into what we need to do, say and show to shift perceptions and drive success and prosperity. She is on a mission to make New Zealand famous for more good things.

Mike TaitokoMike Taitoko

CEO of Takiwā, Director of Toha

Mike Taitoko is an advocate for Māori economic development and the use of digital technologies to drive transformational change. Mike’s tech company has been visualizing land-use and freshwater impacts alongside cultural data to work out how water quality can be improved through land practice and collaboration. His work aims to improve outcomes for Māori in health, education, culture, identity, social and environmental wellbeing. Mike is of Maniapoto descent and is an Edmund Hillary Fellow.

David ParkerDavid Parker

Minister for the Environment, Trade and Export Growth

David Parker has been a lawyer and worked in several biotech export start-ups, before being appointed to Cabinet in 2005. In the current government he serves as Minister for the Environment, Trade and Export Growth, Economic Development and Attorney-General, and Associate Minister of Finance. His focus is on delivering prosperity and fairer outcomes for all New Zealanders.


Mandy BellMandy Bell

Deer Farmer, Vet

Mandy Bell farms Criffel Station in Wanaka, a deer breeding and finishing farm and an agritourism destination. She is a company founder, investor and director, and has been in veterinary practice for 25 years. Her focus is integrating science and technology into farm management practices and creating roadmaps to deliver on visions. She is chair of the Upper Clutha Lakes Trust Freshwater Improvement Fund programme, and chair of Passion to Profit, the deer industry productivity improvement programme.

Bruce ThorroldBruce Thorrold

Dairy Farmer

Bruce Thorrold is the ‘end user' theme leader for research in Our Land and Water's Future Landscapes research theme. He has been a strategy and investment leader at DairyNZ since 2001, and before that he worked in soil science and catchment management.



Rod OramRod Oram

Journalist and event MC

MC of the Our Land and Water Symposium, Rod Oram has 40 years' experience as an international business journalist. He is a regular columnist, broadcaster and public speaker on sustainability, business, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Rod is adjunct professor in the business school at AUT University, and the author of Reinventing Paradise and Three Cities: Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene.



Our Land and Water welcomes interest from potential event partners. Please get in touch today for a chat about the options.
AgResearchParties Logos Manaakawhenua

Scroll to Top