The Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand board comprises up to 15 trustees from a wide range of backgrounds, organisations and locations around the country. The trustees have long term experience in a wide range of fields, such as botany, dune morphology, raranga, governance and community restoration projects.
Laura Shaft - Chair (Northland)
Laura is Coast Care Coordinator for Northland Regional Council and has extensive practical experience working with community-based coast care groups.
Greg Bennett (North Canterbury)
Greg was Chair of the Amberley Beach Coast Care from 2002 to 2014 where he and other locals have been actively involved in the restoration of coastal wetlands. He has been involved with several working groups and committees regarding coastal issues along Pegasus Bay including vehicle management on beaches and restoring dunes. In 2006 he received a resource management award from Environment Canterbury for services to coast care. He is currently employed as a stormwater engineer at the Waimakariri District Council. Greg was Chair of the Trust for 8 years.
David Bergin (Rotorua)
David is a restoration ecologist covering a range of ecosystems including coastal sand dunes, riparian areas, shrublands and forests focusing on the planting and management of native plants. He is Senior Scientist and Director of Environmental Restoration Ltd and has over 40 years of experience in restoration to meet multiple purposes from enhancing indigenous biodiversity and management of cultural resources, to sustainable production potential of planted native forests. He is founding trustee of both the Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand and Tane’s Tree Trust, and is Science and Technical Advisor for Trees That Count of The Project Crimson Trust.
Graeme La Cock (Wellington)
Technical Advisor Ecology working for the Department of Conservation. South African dunes, research, management, botany, ecosystems, processes, impact assessments, 30 years experience. Extensive experience with coastal flora in South Africa. A senior coastal botanist specialising in rare and endangered plants in New Zealand for two decades; a member of the Threatened Species Unit in DOC.
Jo Bonner (Whakatāne)
Jo has 27 years experience in the Nursery Production and Amenity Horticulture industry and carries a Diploma in Horticulture. She owns Coastlands Plant Nursery, which specialises in coastal plants and currently provides the largest volume of spinifex and pingao in the country. Jo is also involved as a volunteer with Forest and Bird, DOC, local coast care groups and other organisations, in growing and planting rare and endangered coastal species.
Moniqua Nelson-Tunley (Waikato)
Moniqua works for Waikato Regional Council as their Biodiversity Management Advisor. She is a qualified ecologist with expertise in ecosystem restoration, conservation biology and herpetology (reptiles and amphibians). Her work includes developing a list of the Waikato Regions’ highest priority sites for biodiversity protection and restoration, including a range of coastal ecosystems. She also works with landowners, iwi, community groups and other stakeholders to facilitate restoration projects. Before this role, she managed the Waikato Coastcare Programme for five years.
Tim Park (Wellington)
Manager at Ōtari Native Botanic Garden and Wiltons Bush Reserve. An avid plant ecologist dedicated to the protection and restoration of the ecosystems found throughout New Zealand. Tim assists with the Coastal Restoration Trust Facebook page and web development work and is interested in maximising the use of technology to help us restore our ecosystems.
Lyle Mason (Southland)
NZ’s second most southern coastal sheep and beef farmer. An experienced cropping and land development contractor who understands the critical need to preserve the fragile fringe of coastal sand dunes that are the first (and most effective) buffer against storms and erosion to protect valuable farm and forestry land. A strong advocate of native vegetation restoration and appropriate methods for control of coastal exotics.
Betsy Young (Far North)
Betsy is a trustee for both the Coastal Restoration Trust and Te Roopu Whakaoranga a Te Taha Moana. She is a master weaver and works closely with Northland communities and schools to restore, preserve and sustainably use pingao and toheroa along local beaches.
Alison Waru (Uawa - Tolaga Bay, Tairāwhiti)
My whakapapa is deeply embedded in Uawa – Tolaga Bay so the work I do for the whenua and Iwi go hand in hand.
I’m focusing on my beach area here at Kaiaua. Since our flooding event in March 2022, we have lost some areas of dune. I have been canvassing for many years to have the freedom camping eliminated, as well as the beach races, which were cancelled last year due to our road being too unstable to have hundreds of cars, horses and people travel on it.
Kaiaua residents and I are serious about working on the problems caused by global warming.
The Council have officially closed our road at the northern end much to my delight.
I am a strong advocate for dune restoration at a local level and I’m concerned about the impact that camping, horses and other livestock have on our water ways, dunes and beaches.
Jason Maguiness (North Auckland)
Jason is Principal Ranger for the Northern Regional Parks of Auckland. His role leads the direction, planning and delivery of outcomes of these parks. Jason works closely with Park Rangers, volunteers and community groups that are helping to restore and protect coastal areas and the flora and fauna associated with these. Jason has experience in developing and delivering coastal restoration projects and supporting threatened species work in coastal locations. He is keen to share this knowledge to support communities and projects around New Zealand.
Graeme Atkins (East Coast)
Graeme is known on the East Coast Coast as the “Māori plant David Attenborough”. He won the Loder Cup in 2020 after a nomination from The East Coast Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board with extensive support from iwi and plant conservation networks.
Graeme contributes to flora conservation with iwi groups, landowners, scientists and schoolchildren, and has made an outstanding contribution to Aotearoa’s native plants, particularly on the East Coast, a region which is relatively under-studied. The Tairāwhiti Ngutukākā (kākābeak) project is one that he has been closely involved with.
He grew up in Ruatorea, on Aotearoa’s East Coast. He was taught rongoā by his iwi tohunga, and grew up always knowing he was going to work with plants. Graeme has dedicated his life to Aotearoa’s most threatened species.
Graeme is involved in a lot of coastal restoration mahi too, working with the communities of the East Coast