Protecting New Zealand's rarest of the rare.


Cheryl Reynolds, Chief Executive

Cheryl is a passionate, energetic, creative entrepreneur, business leader and strategic philanthropist with extensive environmental and community leadership experience. She was the founding chief executive at Momentum Waikato, one of New Zealand’s largest community foundations. Prior to that, she was the founding chief executive at SODA Inc, Waikato’s entrepreneurship hub, and more recently, she was the chief executive at Raglan’s Xtreme Zero Waste. She has also founded 10 other startups and has led a multinational technology company.

Never one to rest, Cheryl is an artist who loves to create, a stargazer who loves to contemplate the universe, and with a post graduate diploma in Business Management and a Masters in Fine Art, she’s a servant leader who is motivated to help drive and support urgently needed systems change for the benefit of our beautiful planet.

Cheryl is Fellow in the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.

Dr Mike Thorsen, Chief Science Advisor

Mike Thorsen is one of New Zealand’s leading experts in managing biodiversity, botany and ecology with over 20 years’ experience in ecology, conservation biology and the management of invasive species worldwide. Mike enjoys assisting a diversity of groups to realise their biodiversity ambitions using his wide-ranging experience and enjoys the challenges of working in the interface between the conservation and use of natural resources with the aim of producing good outcomes that are both environmentally sound and pragmatic. A developing interest is in using human-generated landforms as surrogates for native flora and fauna communities.

Mike also runs a small nursery specialising in growing endangered plants (despite the challenges of a young daughter who loves pulling out labels and watering everything in sight) and is a keen photographer (photos here). Mike holds a PhD from the University of Otago (2010).

Foundation Facts

  • 4,000
    endangered species
  • Just
    of our most critically endangered Māui Dolphins remain
  • As little as
    can save many of our
    endangered species
  • Only
    species are currently in
    conservation programmes