Our Trustees

The NWT has twelve trustees and a co-opted Treasurer, representing a wide range of interests and offering a breadth of experience and expertise. The Trust patron is internationally renowned biologist Ruud Kleinpaste. A part-time Executive Officer manages the NWT, supported by volunteers.

Don Scarlet


Don is Mercury’s Key Relationships Manager, and has held several practical environmental management roles in the Waikato region. These have included senior consents and policy roles at Environment Waikato / Waikato Regional Council before becoming Project Manager of Mighty River Power’s project to renew the resource consents for the Waikato Hydro System.

Since then his work has extended into his present relationships champion role.

Don is an active member of a number of community environmental interest groups and has acted as an environmental advocate and chair of action groups in his home community.  Don is a Trustee of the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, Co-chair of Maungatautari Ecological Enhancement Trust, Advisory Trustee for Waikato River Care and is a director of Hamilton Waikato Tourism.

Jason Butt

Jason’s background is in ecological restoration projects through the provision of planning, advice and implementation, including restoration plantings and ecological weed control work.

He has worked throughout Canterbury on numerous projects and habitat types, from wetland through to dryland ecosystems, providing wetland and riparian restoration services to Canterbury Regional Council, Canterbury Waste Services, Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu.

Travis Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Tutaepatu Lagoon and Te Waihora/Ellesmere are a few of the projects he has been involved with over the last seven years. 

Jason is a keen amateur botanist and the president of the Canterbury Botanical Society, both of which also lure him to wetlands in his free time too.

Vijesh Chandra

Vijesh is a charted professional civil engineer with 32 years of experience in NZ local government infrastructure management and is currently a Principal at GHD. He works at a strategic level with local and regional government exploring and developing integrated planning solutions to manage the effects of stormwater run-off on people, property and the receiving environment.

He has recently completed a 3 year period on the Board of Water New Zealand. He has played a key role in winning national and international awards including the International Water Association project innovation award 2012 for managing road stormwater contaminants, IPENZ Arthur Mead award for the environment and sustainability 2011 and the New Zealand Engineering Excellence award for Environmental Practice 2012. 

Dr Beverley Clarkson

Bev is a wetland plant ecologist at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Hamilton. She leads a government-funded research project on functioning and restoration of New Zealand wetlands.

Her expertise is in the functioning and restoration of peatlands, wetland monitoring, and wetland delineation. Bev has been a member of the Waikato Conservation Board and is currently a member of the International Mire Conservation Group, International Society of Wetland Scientists, as well as the National Wetland Trust.

Melanie Dixon

Deputy Chair

Melanie is an Aucklan­d-based consultant ecologist who provides wetland management advice to private landowners, community groups and local government.

Between 2000 and 2006 Melanie was Greater Wellington Regional Council’s wetland advocate and helped organise the first National Wetland Restoration Symposium in Wellington in 2004. Melanie is very interested in facilitating a relationship between wetland managers (including local authorities, community groups and private landowners) and the nation’s wetland scientists.

Bill Harris

Bill is of Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Maniapoto and Pare Te Kawa descent, and representative of mana whenua for Rotopiko. He is presently employed full time by the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association, Te Wehengarua the union for Secondary School Teachers in their Hamilton office. He has worked for the Association in a Union capacity for over 23 years, and prior to this was an organiser for the Public Service Association (PSA) for 8 years and a psychiatric nurse at Tokanui for 7 years .In his union work he has grown a practical understanding of governance policy and procedures. He also has an innate knowledge of the Local Government Act as this also applies in schools and a working understanding of Employment Law, the role of Corporate responsibility, financial reporting and budgets. He is also an NZQA recognised Health and Safety Trainer. In recent times he has been an active participant in the Tiriti O Waitangi Tribunal Hearings and Treaty Settlement space. He is Chairperson of Te Ngaati Apakura Runanga Trust that among other things provides Cultural advice and monitoring to the Waipa District Council and developers. He also represents the Apakura Runanga on Nga Iwi Toopu o Waipa and at the Iwi Consultative Hui.

David Lawrie

Co-opted Treasurer

David is Principal in a Land Surveying and Land Development Consultancy in Pukekohe. He holds a diploma in Town Planning and is a member of both the Survey and Planning Institutes.

He has been actively involved in conservation organisations for a number of years with his main passion and hobby being ornithology. This is reflected in his involvement in the NWT, New Zealand Fish and Game Council, Auckland Waikato Council, Auckland/Waikato Fish and Game Council, Miranda Naturalist Trust since 1975, Ornithological Society South Auckland Region, Waikato Conservation Board, and the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust. David co­ founded the NWT in 1999 with Gordon Stephenson.

Mike Paviour

Mike has a strong background in practical conservation work, with over twenty years of service at the Department of Conservation and recently as a Senior Catchment officer at the Waikato Regional Council. He has worked in the Waikato Region since 2006 where his work has mostly been related to wetland and coastal areas, covering pest fish, weeds, pest animals, fauna and flora protection and enrichment, compliance, advocacy and more. His work became increasingly involved with iwi, community, business and other agencies to achieve the best outcomes possible with what we have. One of Mike’s first Waikato jobs was cutting and pasting the willows that once concealed Rotopiko (site of the National Wetland Centre).

Mike is currently the Operations Manager of Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust who nominated him to the NWT board in the belief that he will bring a fresh governance perspective due to his environmental skills and experience from working within an Iwi community-based Trust.

Keith Thompson

Keith Thompson is a wetland ecologist, with a particular interest in peat systems specialising in wetland management and restoration. He has researched wetlands on five continents and taught ecology, environmental science and botany at universities in the UK, Africa and, for 28 years, at University of Waikato.

He has collaborated with, and carried out studies for, various regional and national government bodies, farmers and community groups and is currently a private consultant. He was Supervisor of the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club for 15 years and is now a trustee of the Te Kauri ­Waikuku Trust.

Judy van Rossem

Judy is a long-time employee of the Waikato Regional Council working in many areas including as an Environmental Scientist, establishing and managing the council’s Environmental Education Programme and leading the Resource Use Group. In her current role as Project Manager Biodiversity & Funding, Judy manages WRC’s Natural Heritage Partnership Programme. With an extensive background in environmental education/science, Judy’s particular interest is in securing collaborative partnerships to grow and sustain community restoration efforts in improving NZ’s biodiversity. Outside of Council, Judy is Deputy Chair of the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust and is a past National Executive Member of the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society and NZ Association for Environmental Education. She has served on central government advisory panels for environmental education and biodiversity funding, and is a past recipient of the Dame Catherine Tizard Award for Women in Local Government.

Matt Moss

Matt is a professionally trained ecologist with an extensive background in terrestrial ecology and habitat management. While living in Bangor, he worked as an ecological consultant and produced management plans for several wetlands around Wales (including Ramsar sites) and worked on renewable infrastructure projects. After leaving for New Zealand he spent his time leading bird tours on Rakiura, mapping riparian vegetation for NIWA, and volunteering with the National Wetland Trust at Lake Rotopiko & the Department of Conservation/Great Mercury Island Pest Free on Ahuahu. Most recently he has secured a job as an ecologist with Tasman District Council working to monitor native habitats found in New Zealand’s sun-spot. His experience covers plants and birds but he has a soft spot for reptiles. Throughout his career he has volunteered on various conservation projects and research studies ranging from small offshore islands to Indonesian rainforests.

Helen White

Helen is currently working as wetland ecologist with the terrestrial ecology team at Greater Wellington Regional Council. Prior to this role, she worked as an advisor to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, working across a broad range of environmental issues. Her work and research has centred around the hydrologically driven plant communities, including her PhD research on hydro-ecology and climate adaptation in the riparian vegetation in the Southwest of Western Australia and in the marine consulting sector in southern Queensland in water quality as well as intertidal communities, such as mangrove and seagrass. She is particularly keen on plants and is an active member and committee member for the Wellington Botanical Society.

Brett Stansfield

 Brett is an independent freshwater ecology consultant with extensive experience in monitoring and technical reporting of rivers lakes wetlands and coastal environments and has directed his own company, Environmental Impact Assessments Limited, since 2008. He has committee experience including as a treasurer for the North Shore Branch of the NZ Green Party and as a deputy chair for the  he Birkdale Intermediate School Board of Trustees. Brett is a guest lecturer for Auckland University of Technology, and a certified independent hearings commissioner.