Who We Are

Wild for Taranaki, a Charitable Trust, is an umbrella group made up of a wide variety of organisations and agencies working to protect and enhance the regions unique native plants and animals, and their ecosystems.

Wild for Taranaki is the FIRST regional biodiversity Trust established in New Zealand.

The Trust was created to:

  • provide long-term sustainabilty for initiatives
  • to share resources and reduce duplication
  •  give the member organisations a united and strong voice

Wild for Taranaki also needs and wants the Taranaki community support. We aim to raise awareness on how small changes by everyone can make big differences to our regions special species and ecosystems.

Trust Board

Wild for the Taranaki are privileged to have a dedicated and proactive Board. The board’s time is all voluntary.

Check out their profiles below:

Roy Weaver (Trust Chair)

Roy is a company director, current New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Councillor and Trustee of East Taranaki Environment Trust (ETET).

He lives on the Te Henui with partner Annette. Together they enjoy New Zealand’s mountain biking trails, tramping tracks, lakes and rivers (by paddleboard).

Roy believes that Taranaki has enormous potential to be a predator free “peninsula” with verdant natural areas alive with abundant and diverse natural species of all descriptions. These would coexist alongside our competent and successful farming community, reinforcing the excellent work they currently do in controlling the spread of introduced predators.

The flow on effects for visitor attraction to the region and for maintaining a vibrant and diverse Taranaki economy are not difficult to envisage.

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Phill Muir (Deputy Trust Chair)

Phill is strong advocate for sustainable farming and its importance for the continuation of the industry, the environment, the health and wellbeing of our population and the upcoming generations interested in pursuing improvements through awareness, ideals and advancing technology for a successful and viable agricultural industry.

His career in the rural industry has included sheep and beef farming, Phill currently operates two dairy farms in the Taranaki region. Phill has previously been involved in a variety of senior governance positions within various boards. He is currently the Chairman for the Eltham District Vet Club, involved in the NZ Farm Environment Trust Board and judging co-ordinator for the Taranaki Balance Environmental Awards.

Liam Dagg

Liam is currently the Director Environmental Services with the Stratford District Council. Prior to that he was the Planning manager and Policy Team Leader at Rotorua Lakes District Council.

Before coming to New Zealand in 2005, Liam worked for 7 years with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage on the heritage assessment and delivery of major ‘off-park’ infrastructure projects. His current focus is the review of the Stratford district plan and its integration with other strategic documents at a local and regional level.

Mike Weren

Having been raised on a farm in Waikato the value of environmental issues was never far from Mikes mind. When Mike moved to Taranaki, he soon found the features and recreational value in the Rotokare Scenic Reserve. When the opportunity to be involved in the group that aimed to protect and restore the reserve came up he was quick to put his name forward. From that early interest he became one of the founder trustees in Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust and has been pleased and proud to see the improvements made to that facility in the 13 years since. For a period of 5 years Mike was the Chair of that Trust, and remains an active trustee.

Mike was asked by several people to become an active member of the Taranaki Biodiversity Trust and happily agreed. Mike was elected to the first board and voted by fellow board members as the chair.

The plans and the potential of what can be gained environmentally for the province and beyond are huge. Great progress is being made and Mike is glad that he is among those who are making those differences.

Cassandra Crowley

Cassandra is a Barrister, Solicitor, and Chartered Accountant. She has used the valuable combination of her accounting and legal expertise to drive business opportunities and growth, as well as manage risk and compliance, in a wide range of organisations, spanning the government, private and not-for-profit sectors.

In her current role as Kaitumuaki (CEO) of Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust Group, Cassandra leads Ngāruahine commercial and social service ventures and is responsible for the management and growth of a multi-million dollar portfolio of assets.

Cassandra is a community-driven professional who ensures her governance roles contribute to broader economic performance or social outcomes. Her current directorships include 2017 President Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Oriens Capital, Skills and Student Job Search. Her previous work includes roles as CEO of Local Government Online and Head of Compliance at NZX, New Zealand’s Stock Exchange

Michael Joyce

As a dairy farmer and farm consultant Michael has a lifetime passion for caring for our natural surrounds and participates in numerous community initiatives for the protection and enhancement of the environment.

He is proactive as a Regional Councillor promoting the benefits of the Taranaki Biodiversity Accord to fellow councillors and the general public.

Michael has considerable experience in governance roles particularly with Charitable Trusts and is determined to see Wild for Taranaki projects and activities deliver huge benefits and enjoyment to the regional community and visitors to Taranaki. He has a strong desire to ensure that the objectives of the Biodiversity Accord are realised and an expectation that Wild for Taranaki will attract significant levels of funding and support to enhance the excellent work currently undertaken by the Accord partners

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Michelle Bird

Michelle has a passion for conservation and believes in what Wild for Taranaki is aiming to achieve. She believes that by working together, Taranaki will be able to realise incredible conservation outcomes, but feels that in doing this together, it is important not to lose the individual identities of the organisations involved. The skills she brings to the Wild for Taranaki Board include; a practical and academic background in ecological restoration and community engagement, the ability to share this vision and inspire people to be involved, as well as proven relationship management skills.

Her current role is managing the Taranaki Kiwi Trust, and is an active member of the Mt Hiwi Charitable Trust that co-manages 411 Hectres in Waverley, both local organisations are members of Wild for Taranaki. Michelles previous work history was in land management for regional councils, 3 years with Taranaki Regional Council in which she was actively involved in the management of a number of key native ecosystems working with stream, wetland and biodiversity restoration.

Jan Hania

Jan is of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Ruakawa-ki-te-Tonga descent having grown up in South Auckland. Jan is now the Environmental Director with the NEXT Foundation, evaluating, developing and leading environmentally focussed investments that are transformational, inspirational and business like, all within NEXTs mission of leaving a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for future generations of New Zealanders.

Wild for Taranaki Staff

Meet our team of passionate staff, currently based in Stratford.

Kirstin Foley – Operations Manager

Kirstin has recently taken a career change from financial accounting into biodiversity. She has a BA (Political Science), BCom (Accounting and Commercial Law), a Diploma in Professional Accountancy  and is a Chartered Accountant. Kirstin is originally from Taranaki with strong rural and family ties in the community. In her spare time Kirstin will be with her family, spending time with her boys, or out in the early hours running.

Leigh Honnor – Environmental Support

Leigh is a Taranaki girl.  She has a BSC (Zoology), a Diploma of Wildlife Management and a Diploma in Secondary Teaching.  For 11 years she worked for DOC in Northland, then as State of the Environment Co-ordinator for Whangarei District Council.  From 2010-2014 she was the Co-ordinator of the Taranaki Tree Trust.  She has filled the role of Regional Biodiversity Co-ordinator for Wild for Taranaki since 2014.  Leigh balances work with being a mother to three growing boys.  In her spare time she likes volunteering, tramping, op-shopping and is on the Committee of the Taranaki branch of the Child Cancer Foundation.