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2024 braided rivers seminar1


Nick Ledgard (Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group and BRaid) is a retired forestry researcher (Scion/NZFRI) returning to ornithological roots put out as a youngster. He is a long-time OSNZ member. Currently, he spends most of his time trying to improve the lot of native birds on braided rivers (particularly on the Ashley-Rakahuri River) and pursuing his interests in farm forestry and wilding trees. He is the chairman of the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group and BRaid.

Gabrielle Huria (MNZM) Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri is the Chief Executive of Te Kura Taka Pini – the Ngāi Tahu company set up to work strategically with freshwater in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā/ tribal area. Mahinga Kai (mutton birding, whitebaiting, eeling) is integral to Gabrielle’s world view, driving a commitment to improving water quality and quantity. She has an extensive background in governance and tribal development.

In addition to her role as Chief Executive, Gabrielle is the Chair of the University Digital Screen Advisory Board and a member of the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre Advisory Board. Prior to her current role, Gabrielle was Principal Advisor for Christchurch City Council and the inaugural Chair of Emerge Aotearoa. In 2018 she received her MNZM for services to Māori and governance.

Wendy Fox (Lincoln University) is a PhD student whose research is centred around karoro/SBBG in Canterbury, analysing breeding success and their local movements.

Biz Bell Managing Director (Wildlife Management International Ltd: WMIL) is a seabird and island restoration specialist working a range of ecological and conservation projects throughout New Zealand and around the world. As Managing Director of WMIL, Biz directs a team of passionate ecologists completing a variety of seabird and shorebird conservation projects for government and non-government agencies across New Zealand. Biz has undertaken long-term seabird and shorebird research projects over the past 30 years. She has banded tarapirohe adults and chicks as well as directing the kāhu banding project to determine impacts this species may have on tarapirohe. Biz is an invasive species eradication and control expert, having eradicated pest species from over a dozen islands around the world, and undertaken and directed long-term predator control operations in New Zealand. Biz provides technical advice to a number of Predator Free NZ projects across the country, and see the involvement of communities as vital for the long-term legacy of these, and other, conservation projects.

Keegan Miskimmin, Ecologist (Wildlife Management International Ltd: WMIL) As part of his ecologist role, during summer Keegan focuses on monitoring tarapirohe breeding along the Hurunui and Waiau-Uwha rivers. Keegan has monitored these colonies, as well as assisting with the tarapirohe monitoring on the Waiau Toa/Clarence River for three years. Banding adults and chicks each season, he has increased the knowledge of tarapirohe movements across the braided river network in the South Island. Keegan has also undertaken a range of predator monitoring and control programmes to reduce the impact of mammalian predators on tarapirohe. Keegan has taken part in the kāhu banding project on the Waiau Toa/Clarence River to determine the impact of kāhu on tarapirohe during the breeding season.

Jaz Morris (Boffa Miskell) is an ecologist based in Christchurch who specialises in terrestrial ecology and botanical survey. Jaz frequently works alongside land managers and Boffa Miskell’s biosecurity consultant team to identify and prioritise pest plant issues. He is passionate about realistic, effective and appropriate control approaches to tackle weeds and to enable ecological restoration and protection of indigenous habitats.

Rachel Hufton, Project Officer (Aspiring Biodiversity Trust: ABT) is a professional ecologist and ornithologist, originally from the UK, living in New Zealand for five years. Her current focus is the Makarora Catchment Threatened Species Project – From Ridge To River. A partnership project centred on four focal habitats and the species they support; braided river for wrybill, black-fronted tern, banded dotterel, black-billed gull, beech/ podocarp forest for kaka and long-tailed bat, upper river catchments for whio and the alpine environment for rock wren and kea. Rachel specialises in waders and passerines and has been fortunate to work with wrybill within their breeding habitat and at one of their key wintering sites in the Firth of Thames. She has over 15 years experience within the environmental management sector and has worked as an environmental consultant focused on protected species, a local government ecologist safeguarding biodiversity on a county level and as an ornithologist on international conservation projects.

Emma Williams (Department of Conservation) is a Science Advisor for DOC, she leads the Department’s Mobile Terrestrial Threatened Species Workstream. Emma work on highly mobile threatened species, includes several braided riverbed bird species, such as banded dotterels, black-fronted terns, South Island pied oystercatchers and wrybills. Her projects are often holistic and collaborative in nature because of the landscape scale movements of the species she works on. She has also done 13 + years work on wetland birds, including the Australasian bittern, spotless cakes and marsh crakes.

Helen Greenep (Environment Canterbury) has a range of ecological interests including braided rivers, drylands, and wetlands. Her main focus is vegetation and habitats, and she is particularly interested in the dynamic nature of braided rivers and the habitat mosaic that produces. Human activities have had a severe impact on the ecological functioning of braided rivers and one of Helen’s interests is how to restore some that natural dynamism and mosaic into constrained braided river ecosystems.

Warwick Allen (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research) is a community ecologist based in Ōtautahi Christchurch. His research interests are wide-ranging but grounded in a desire to understand and mitigate the impacts of global change on indigenous ecosystems and species. In his spare time, you might find Warwick birding around Ōtautahi or enjoying other outdoor adventures.

Holly Harris (University of Canterbury) is researching on the Cass River in Tekapo for her doctorate. With a bit of experience in freshwater and terrestrial biomonitoring, she is now interested in how braided rivers work as whole ecosystems to support the life that exists within them, such as the birds and fish that we know and love.

Tara Murray (Department of Conservation) is based in Dunedin as a Science Advisor | Kaitohu Pūtaiao in DOC’s Terrestrial Fauna Unit. Her work with terrestrial insects over 20+ years has included biosecurity, biodiversity, ecology and behaviour, climate change, monitoring, and insect conservation. Tara graduated with an honours degree from Otago University, studying native grassland weevils, followed by an MSc in Massachusetts, a PhD with Forest Research in Rotorua, and a postdoc and the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in Western Sydney. Tara was a senior lecturer at Canterbury University for 9 years, during which time she started working on the Robust grasshopper, before joining DOC in 2019. She is also president of the New Zealand Entomological Society.

Grant Davey (Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group) has been a mineral exploration geologist in six countries and was a hydrogeologist at Environment Canterbury for four years. He has a PGDip in Environmental Science. For about six years he’s been an active member of the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group and BRaid.