Protecting New Zealand's rarest of the rare.

Dedicated to tomorrow

Our Trustees bring a depth of wisdom and expertise to the Endangered Species Foundation that is second to none. Dedicated to protecting our endangered species and habitats, their guidance ensures resources are allocated responsibly to where they are needed most to best achieve our goals. 


ESF seeks to appoint two new trustees, including a chair, who share a passion and commitment to saving NZ’s most endangered species.

The Endangered Species Foundation (ESF) is a registered charitable organisation supporting high-priority conservation projects that protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable indigenous species and habitats. Launched in October 2015, ESF is a conservation funding and facilitation organisation. ESF is not a project delivery organisation, nor a public lobby group.

Its biggest challenge is to build an endowment fund of $30 million by 2022. This will enable sustainable funding of top priority projects which make a measureable difference to endangered species in NZ. So far, ESF has raised $1.5M for conservation.

ESF is looking for two new trustees, including a chair, who will attend and contribute to/lead quarterly meetings; take responsibility for one or more work streams; and complete agreed actions within designated timeframes. The chair will help ESF meet its challenges through great governance, strategic thinking and goal setting.

The successful applicants will meet some or many of the following criteria:

  • Experience in governance, either in the non-profit or commercial sector

  • A strategic thinker

  • Understanding and experience in fundraising and/or sponsorship

  • Understanding and experience in financial management/accounting

  • Working knowledge of government contracting and funding arrangements

  • Working understanding of member organisations and community consultation

  • Understanding the process of funding allocation and community engagement for project delivery

  • Excellent networks

  • Marketing skills

  • Media skills

  • Are appreciative of the need to engage and work with Māori to protect their taonga

  • Have a Maori perspective

  • Able to work collaboratively with a board and staff.

Board meetings are currently held on a quarterly basis, in either Auckland or Wellington, on weekdays. Occasionally there are group conference call meetings between full board meetings. These are unpaid positions. Travel costs and expenses are reimbursed. ESF wishes for the successful applicants to attend its next board meeting in Wellington in September.

For more information contact:

Liz Sherwood or Ph 03 467 9254


Dr Nick Roskruge

Nick is of Ātiawa, and Ngāti Tama-ariki descent and a senior lecturer and major leader in horticulture and Māori resource & environmental management in the Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University in Palmerston North.  Nick is also a research fellow with Lincoln University, on the Māori advisory board to several other research institutes and a member of the Statutory Decision Committee for HSNO with the Environmental Protection Authority (Prior to this Tumuaki (Chair) of Ngā Kaihautu Tīkanga Taiao the Statutory Māori reference group for the EPA).  In 2013 Nick was the recipient of a Fulbright Award and spent several months in the USA based at Cornell University and was involved with a number of other state universities around ethnobotany and potato genomic programmes. Nick is involved in a wide range of Māori centric projects, the most well-known being the National Taewa Māori project, and also Tahuri Whenua (National Māori Horticultural Collective).

Richard Allen - Secretary

Richard has been in private legal practice in Wellington for the last 18 years and has worked in both large and small firms and private practice. He now works for Buddle Findlay. He has wide experience in trust administration, including three years at a statutory trustee company. Richard is very interested in protecting New Zealand's natural resources and recognises the need for sustainable conservation. He and his family have supported various charities in this area over the years. 

Geoff Ross

Geoff is an Auckland entrepreneur. He is currently CEO of the Moa Brewing Company, and Chairman of Trilogy International, a successful company producing the natural skincare range Trilogy and scented candle brand Ecoya. Geoff has been heading these companies since 2011. Previously, Geoff was the founder and CEO of 42 Below Vodka. Prior to 42 Below, he was a managing partner and board member of DDB Advertising for two years, and was a client service director and management team member for Saatchi & Saatchi in Wellington for eight years.

Geoff is also a trustee of the Melanoma Foundation and Pure Advantage. Pure Advantage is a not-for-profit that investigates and promotes opportunities for green growth. It was formed by a group of New Zealanders who want a greener, wealthier future for all of New Zealand. Comprised of business leaders who believe the private sector has an important role to play in creating a greener, wealthier New Zealand.

Professor Philip Seddon

Phil is a Professor of Zoology and Director of the Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme at the University of Otago. Phil’s areas of expertise include reintroduction biology and application of conservation translocations; seabird ecology; pest species management; protected area management; and nature-based tourism impact mitigation.

Phil is currently also Chair of the Bird Section of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Reintroduction Specialist Group; External member of the Black Stilt (Kaki) Recovery Group; Member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and member of the WCPA Task Force on Tourism; and International Editorial Board Member of Oryx-The International Journal of Conservation.

Neil Thorsen - Ambassador Club Chair

Neil has been the managing Director of Thorsen Gempton Consulting Ltd since 1996, and is one of the co-founders of the Endangered Species Foundation.

He has held management roles with New Zealand Guardian Trust from 1968 to 1995, and was instrumental in establishing the Wellington Region Community Foundation (now called the Nikau Foundation) and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust (now Zealandia Ecosanctuary).

Neil chaired the New Zealand Association of Philanthropic Trusts (now Philanthropy New Zealand) for 5 years, and is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

Grant Leach - Acting Chair

Grant is the Managing Director of New Zealand’s leading retail sales and merchandising service provider, CROSSMARK. Grant is experienced in advertising and marketing, having established and built the independent advertising and communications agency, REVO.

Grant is extremely interested in and focused on helping New Zealand reduce and reverse the current rate of decline of its native biodiversity. 

Foundation Facts

  • 4,000
    endangered species
  • $1.5Million
    projected annual income
    available to save our species
  • As little as
    can save many of our
    endangered species
  • Only
    species are currently in
    conservation programmes