Our People

Kevin Hague
Chief Executive

Hailing from Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast, Kevin joined Forest & Bird as Chief Executive in October of 2016. He has held leadership roles in business, and in the Government and community sectors. Before joining Forest & Bird Kevin served as a Member of Parliament for eight years, and was previously Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and Chief Executive of the West Coast District Health Board. Kevin has also been extensively involved in various human rights issues, and has a strong commitment to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A previous member of the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board, Kevin has also been involved in conservation advocacy and campaigning, as well as practical conservation work of planting and pest control. He’s also a mountain biker and tramper.

Sue Maturin (Otago/Southland)

Regional Conservation & Volunteer Manager

Deep sea diver, writer, rookie film-maker, sea-kayaker and roving international conservationist Sue Maturin started life on a remote sheep and beef farm on Banks Peninsula surrounded by animals. And while picking up a degree in physical geography and sociology, and later a masters in resource management, she has managed to meet a fair chunk of the world’s creatures on land and in the sea. During her 25 years working in conservation, she has done a slew of jobs including work at the Commission for the Environment, the Centre of Resource Management, Department of Lands and Survey and Fish and Game. Each policy job was punctuated by field work, allowing her to quickly replace her office space with remote exotic places such as Indonesia’s native forests, the Galapagos Islands, the South Island’s braided rivers and Vanuatu’s tropical jungle. In 1991, she joined Forest & Bird and set up a satellite office in Dunedin. She works primarily on South Island high country issues and water.

 

Carmen Hetaraka

Carmen Hetaraka has been a driving force in developing a proposal to establish a Rahui Tapu (Marine Protected Area) at Mimiwhangata in Northland over the past ten years. Carmen is from Ngati Wai (People of the Sea) and has been working with Forest & Bird to develop a traditional governance and management model that will enable local Maori to co-govern the proposed Rahui Tapu alongside the Crown. During the past 25 years, he has developed a number of indigenous based educational programmes in the Health and Social sectors. As well as developing this proposal, he has co-developed a Kaitiakitanga program with Te Uri O Hikihiki Kaumatua to run alongside the SCUBA Schools International dive qualification – something that is very close to the heart of his people. Carmen is a keen diver and spear fisherman, a fluent Māori speaker, a gifted orator and a well known sports personality who has represented Northland in basketball and Maori rugby.

Gillian Wadams

Ark in the Park Manager

Gillian Wadams is our Ark in the Park Manager – a 2350ha pest-controlled reserve on the outskirts of Auckland. Her vast volunteering experience, background in ecology and strong project management experience makes her well suited to this position which involves collaborating with key partners, supporting the work of volunteers, and bringing long-lost birds back into this ever expanding sanctuary. During her 7 year career, she’s been involved in biosecurity border control, resource planning, fairy tern monitoring and pest control on Fiordland’s Secretary Island. Her most recent position saw her developing best practice guidelines for the construction industry in the UK so she has a wealth of knowledge in everything from flood management to low-carbon construction. As well as taking part in various DOC programmes, she’s developed an award-winning project of her own. The project to encourage native birds back into Northland’s forests won her the Young Conservationist of the Year Award in 1999. Gillian is also an Associate Member of New Zealand Planning Institute and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

 

Karen Baird

Seabird Conservation Advocate

If you sink into the deep, blue yonder you’ll meet lots of fascinating creatures – and if you’re lucky Karen Baird might be one of them. This well-travelled marine conservationist has dived in all types of waters around New Zealand, Fiji and the Solomon Islands – but her favourite dive spot is near the whale-filled trench around New Zeaand’s northern end - the Kermadec arc. She is currently working for Forest & Bird, with WWF and the Pew Environment Group, to gain greater protection for this area. Karen is the daughter of the audio-visual soundman for the Wildlife Service, John ‘birdman’ Kendrick, who singlehandedly brought New Zealand birdsong to our radio-waves. Kendrick fostered Karen’s thirst for adventure and love of nature, and after leaving school she went on to study zoology, graduating with a masters. Unleashed on the big wide world, Karen has since travelled far and wide during her 25 years in conservation, with stints in Chile, Enderby island, Raoul island, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Sri Lanka and Queensland. Over the years she’s been involved in a number of projects involving little spotted kiwi, New Zealand sea lions, southern right whales, royal albatrosses and our critically endangered fairy tern. As well as being an intrepid explorer and a wildlife tour guide, she’s an expert in storm petrels, an area of expertise she shares with her husband Chris Gaskin. She’s also a hiker, a sea kayaker, photographer and a budding apiarist.

Katrina Goddard

Marine Advocate

As a child, Katrina had unrivalled access to Northland’s watery playground and hobnobbed with a range of Whangarei-based aquanauts & biologists. At the tender age of 20, she’d already decided to become a marine biologist. In 2009, Katrina graduated with a masters degree in marine science after studying the homing ability of New Zealand triplefins. She went on to lecture at Northland Polytech. After joining Forest & Bird in August 2011, she’s been involved in several projects and initiatives including an iPhone application for our best fish guide, a raft of marine reserve proposals and greater protection for marine mammals and fish. In her spare time, she enjoys heading out into our deep blue yonder – whether it be with an aqua-lung, a snorkel, a surf board or on a sailing boat.

 

Kevin Hackwell

Group Manager Campaigns and Advocacy

This dynamo of a man has been on the frontline of many of our major environmental and social battles over the past 35 years. He started his activist career at the tender age of 15 over the felling of the South Island’s beech forests, and after gaining an honours degree in ecology took the government to task over its ‘think big’ schemes. Over the years he has played an important role in protecting our remaining native forests from logging, in establishing our nuclear-free status, the Official Information Act, the MMP electoral system; and New Zealand’s Smoke-Free Environments Act . He’s been involved in countless actions, boards (Greenpeace, Tongariro Taupo Conservation Board, Wellington Council of Social Services, the Council for Socially Responsible Investment) and community groups, all the while working for a range of organisations from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Peace Movement Aotearoa and the Downtown Community Ministry. Since 2003, he has been Forest & Bird’s Advocacy Manager, a role in which he helps to manage and plot the strategic direction of this diverse, growing organisation. During that time, his team has successfully fought the government’s plans to mine our national parks, gained greater protection for Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins and established five high-country parks in the South island. He is a tramper, a seasoned rat trapper and vegetable gardener.

Laurence Bechet

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Volunteer Co-ordinator, Laurence Bechet, runs our busy volunteer programme in our unfenced pest-controlled sanctuary Ark in the Park, near Auckland. She supervises and trains the increasing number of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep pests at bay and monitor the threatened birds in the area. Bechet began as a volunteer herself five years ago soon after arriving here from France, and quickly became an essential part of this growing project. During the last decade, the Ark has grown from 200 to 2,350 hectares and has become the home of one of Auckland’s iconic birds – the kokako. Ecology students, school pupils, retirees and international volunteers are just some of the volunteers that take part in her regular week-day and weekend sessions. She says taking the leap of faith to quit France in search of lifestyle that is closer to nature has been a happy experiment, and one that she is richly rewarded for as the birdlife flourishes in this ever-growing park.

 

Nick Beveridge

Northland/Auckland Regional Conservation & Volunteer Manager

For the past few decades, Nick Beveridge has played a key role in bringing the wild things back into the city – initially as a landscape architect, and then as an open-space strategist at NZ’s first eco city in the Waitakeres. Since he joined Forest & Bird ten years ago, he has played a major role in re-foresting Auckland’s concrete jungle. During his youth he spent much of his time insecting - netting some of Christchurch’s most spectacular moths and butterflies, and later shifted his focus to their hosts by earning a degree in botany. Creating corridors for birds and insects allows him to tap into his vast knowledge of everything green, leafy and six-legged. During his time at Forest & Bird he has signed up over 60 pest-busting landowners to the Lucas Creek/Paremoremo Restoration project; designed several award-winning displays at Ellerslie Flower Show and helped raise the profile of various Auckland restoration projects.