Trustees

Meet Our Board

With a genuine passion and enthusiasm for saving NZ's most vulnerable indigenous species and habitats, Stu Muir has a well-respected background in ecological restoration, focused towards wetland and coastal conservation. With a Bachelor of Arts in Education and History from Otago University, Stuart is conversant in Te Reo.

Stuart has a proven background collaborating closely with key national and regional stakeholders, including Iwi, NIWA, DOC, Fish & Game, Forest & Bird, Predator Free NZ, Dairy NZ and district councils. Focused on developing sustainable conservation based projects and initiatives, Stuart acts as an educator and adviser to school and university groups, seeking to improve their environmental and conservation impact and participation.

Chair

Stu Muir

With a genuine passion and enthusiasm for saving NZ's most vulnerable indigenous species and habitats, Stu Muir has a well-respected background in ecological restoration, focused on wetland and coastal conservation. 

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Pekaira holds a pivotal role for Mana Whenua within Te Upoko o te Ika (Wellington) where she maintains Cultural Advisory & support positions for Edmund Hillary Fellowship, Philanthropy NZ, Education Council & Office of treaty Settlements at the Ministry of Justice and Te Muka Rau (formerly called Think Tank Charitable Trust). 

Education her passion, Taranaki history her flair, she connects and reconnects descendants to their unique Taranakitanga at her local Marae Te Tatau o Te Pō, she also teaches Te Reo Māori at Wellington Water. Born and raised under her Mounga Taranaki she often reflects on the solid foundation gifted by those she remembers.

Pekaira’s interests include martial arts, iwi support work, her children and grandchildren.

Mana Whenua

Pekaira Rei

Pekaira holds a pivotal role for Mana Whenua within Te Upoko o te Ika (Wellington) where she maintains cultural advisory and support positions. 

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Kate Thomson holds the position of ESF Treasurer, having been appointed to the ESF Board in May 2020. Kate is also currently a non-executive Director on the ESR Board, a Crown Research Institute. Currently she is the General Manager at Te Aka Matua o te Ture – the New Zealand Law Commission. 
 

A proud kiwi, most recently Kate was based in Australia working in the engineering and research sectors as a Senior Executive. She is also an independent member of the Indigo Shire Council Audit and Risk Committee. 

Kate is a Chartered Accountant and an experienced Chief Financial Officer and has held a number of senior roles in the commercial sector during her career.

Kate holds a post-graduate certificate in Science and Technology and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Treasurer

Kate Thomson

Kate, our treasurer, is also currently a non-executive Director on the ESR Board, a Crown Research Institute. Currently she is the General Manager at Te Aka Matua o te Ture – the New Zealand Law Commission. 

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Emma is a community and stakeholder engagement specialist with a particular focus on community led environmental projects.

 

She has worked for non-profit organisations both in New Zealand and abroad - with several years working in each of Peru and Laos, for local organisations focused on participatory projects for the environment. She currently works for Project Crimson Trust and Predator Free Wellington helping to enable communities to drive ambitious projects to restore biodiversity in Aotearoa.

 

Emma grew up between Hawke's Bay and Northland, and has spent extensive time in tropical countries, where she feels at home. 

Trustee

Emma Giesen

Emma is a community and stakeholder engagement specialist with a particular focus on community led environmental projects. 

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Grant is the GM of Permobil NZ which sells top end Rehab equipment nationwide. Previously, Grant was Managing Director of New Zealand’s leading retail sales and merchandising service provider, CROSSMARK.

 

Grant is experienced in sales, marketing and advertising - 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. He is also Trust Board Chair of Te Korowai o Waiheke – Towards Predator Free Waiheke.

Trustee

Grant Leach

Grant is the GM of Permobil NZ which sells top end Rehab equipment nationwide. Previously, Grant was Managing Director of New Zealand’s leading retail sales and merchandising service provider, CROSSMARK. 

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Prof. Charles Eason (Lincoln University and Wakatū  Incorporation) has a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology. He has had research leadership roles overseas in biomedical research, and in New Zealand for Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Lincoln University, an SME. He was the CEO of the Cawthron Institute for the last 8.5 yrs, until taking on a role with Wakatū Incorporation in 2021.

He was awarded the Companion of the Royal Society of  NZ in 2016, the Thomson medal in 2017 for leadership of a research organisation,  the Companion NZ Order of Merit in 2019 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ in 2021.

He has published more than 400 refereed scientific papers, reports, technical dossiers and book chapters, including many linked to new medicines or product development registrations, toxins and safety evaluation, pesticide fate and residues and biosecurity and environmental protection, and the careful use of traditional and new improved products and safer biocides to aid national and international conservation efforts.

Trustee

Prof. Charles Eason

Prof. Charles Eason (Lincoln University and Wakatū  Incorporation) has a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology. He has had research leadership roles overseas in biomedical research, and in New Zealand for Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Lincoln University, an SME. 

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Neil has specialised in family and charitable trusts for 59 years. He is a co-founder of the Endangered Species Foundation with his son Michael.

He was instrumental in establishing, in 1991, the Wellington Community Foundation (now the Nikau Foundation) and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust (now Zealandia). He chaired the New Zealand Association of Philanthropic Trusts (now Philanthropy New Zealand – where he is an Honorary Member), as well as the Stout Trust. Neil is also a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

Neil has a passion for saving the Maui dolphin and he, with the assistance of Marine Scientists and WWF, prepared the Endangered Species Foundation’s initial strategy, which included the fishers as part of the solution.

Vice Patron

Neil Thorsen

Neil has specialised in family and charitable trusts for 59 years. He is a co-founder of the Endangered Species Foundation with his son Michael.

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