climbing otago



Trust Advisors

Tim Whittaker


Grant Norbury

Grant is a senior scientist with Landcare Research (LCR) and has worked as a professional ecologist in Australia and New Zealand for 23 years. He has led and managed multiple research contracts for government and industry in excess of $3 million, involving financial responsibilities, contract reporting, and team management.

Achievements in the social aspects of research include collaborative arrangements with CSIRO Australia, University of British Columbia Canada, Secretariat for Conservation Biology Hawaii, Central Science Laboratory UK, University of Otago, and Department of Conservation NZ. Grant has supervised 4 post-doctorates, 3 PhD, 1 Masters, 2 Honours students, 1 Fulbright Scholar, and led a team of 15 LCR staff in Otago. Grant initiated formal links between LCR and local rununga of Ngai Tahu, and arranged co-location of LCR staff with DOC staff in Dunedin and Alexandra. Grant is involved in school environmental education programmes, and is regularly invited to give talks and media interviews.

Distinctions include appointment to DOC’s Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Group, visiting scientist in the NZ-Hawaii Conservation Exchange Program, Manaaki Tangata Fellowship for overseas study of predator-prey relationships, Wet Tropics Management Authority Research Fellowship, Prize awarded for best presentation at 1992 Conference of the Australian Rangeland Society, Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Award, First Class Honours BSc (Hons), Junior Government Scholarship, Member Australasian Wildlife Management Society and NZ Ecological Society; published 47 refereed papers and book chapters on wildlife ecology.

Grant and his wife, Dale, and two children and enjoy family life, tramping, mountain biking, karate, and kayaking. Grant has lived in Alexandra for 18 years – his vision is to inspire communities to value their natural environment.

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Frances Diver

Frances is Ngai Tahu, Waitaha, Kati Mamoe. She has lived in Central Otago for 38 years and with her husband has jointly raised a family and owns an aquaculture business in Alexandra. Frances maintains a passionate involvement with the Maori community throughout this time with a focus on developing better opportunities in employment, education and whanau ora. Frances has a clear understanding of governance through her experience as:

  • Director of Crop and Food Research Institute
  • Presiding Member of Otago / Southland Lottery Community Committee
  • Chairperson Central Otago Branch of SF (supporting Families living with Mental Illness)
  • Chairperson CO Child Care and Protection Resource Committee
  • Takata Whenua representative for Central Otago Health Inc
  • Taua Whakaruruhau with Roxburgh Te Puna Whaiora Camp and Kahui Board.
  • Board member of Uruuruwhenua Health new Maori Health Provider for Central Otago.

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Gordon Rayner

Gordon and his partner, Mary Tritt have three children, and moved to Letts Gully in 1983.  Gordon has been one of five partners in Checketts McKay, Lawyers, Central Otago, since 1986, and is based in their Alexandra office.  Checketts McKay has interests in offices at Cromwell and Wanaka. Gordon’s work is principally property conveyancing, small businesses, trusts and estates. He is a director of Checketts McKay Mortgage company.

His recreational interests include mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, snorkelling, reading, camping and travel.  Gordon was a member of the New Zealand kayak team in 1979.  He competed at the 1979 World Championships in Quebec, Canada. As a member of the NZ Rafting team and was awarded Otago University Blue for kayaking in 1979.  He competed at Chuya Rally (preceded the World Rafting Championships) in Russia (1989) and USA (1990). Gordon is a Conservation Officer for Central Otago Whitewater and is involved in the Hawea River Whitewater Enhancement project. He coaches the Dunstan Kayaking team which is ranked 3rd  New Zealand school team.

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Alistair Campbell

Alistair brings high country management expertise to the trust. He is the managing director of Earnscleugh Station Ltd whose land adjoins the proposed Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary at Aldinga. Alistair is chairman of the Ultra Fine Merino Company which is involved in both genetics and wool export. He also chairs the Central Otago Merino Breeders Association along with chairing the S3 Project researching worm resistance.

He is chairman of the Central Otago Stud Merino Breeders and is currently councillor and past chair of the New Zealand Stud Merino Breeders. Alistair has been a director of the Port Nicholson Wool Spinners, the Otago Wool Processors, Silverstream knitwear and Otago Garment Knitters. He has held office as vice Chairman of the Alexandra Rabbit Board and was a Government Appointed Rabbit Advisory Committee member. He was involved in a Footrot DNA research project and has been a director of the last Chance Irrigation Company.

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Garry Nixon

Garry grew up in Southland but spent most of his holidays in Central Otago as a child and has lived here most of his working life. He is passionate about the dramatic open landscapes of Central Otago and appreciates the unique plants and animals of the dryland environment. Garry backcountry skis, tramps and mountain bikes. He has been a medical officer at Dunstan for 14 years as well as part time GP in Alexandra. He worked as Senior Medical Officer at Dunstan for several years but now works part time as a Senior Lecturer in Rural Health with the University of Otago as well as working nationally to try and solve some of the workforce and professional issues facing rural hospital doctors. Garry is the Chairperson of the NZ Rural Hospital Doctors Vocational Working Party. Garry also chairs the Backcountry Skiiers Alliance and is currently a member of the Otago Conservation Board.

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Selwyn Tomkins

Selwyn, 71, was educated in Dunedin. He became a member of the Otago Tramping & Mountaineering Club at age 14, initiating an association with our mountain lands which has continued until the present.
Selwyn became a stock & station agent in 1960, then a farm manager at Omakau, Waikato and Upper Clutha and in 1973 moved permanently to Alexandra. He joined the accounting firm of Ibbotson Cooney and worked as a farm accountant until retirement in 2006.

Selwyn is married to Marie and has two adult daughters.He lives on Dunstan Road and tends a large park garden.

He has been involved with many community organisations over the years and was a member and treasurer of The Friends of Dunstan Hospital for 13 years.

Selwyn continues to prepare financial statements for various community groups. Current interests are gardening, mountain biking, golf, music and tramping. Above all, he loves reading and his home library includes philosphy, theology, economics and ecology.

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Jan Kelly

Jan grew up on a farm on the Otago sea coast, and has always loved the wild world. She was educated at Otago University and for 22 years worked as a cartographer at Auckland University. Her personal interest is in how people perceive the world through maps, and she sometimes teaches this subject still. Living in a Kauri forest north of the city led Jan and her husband to protect their property under a QE II Trust Open Space Covenant, for its nesting moreporks and kereru, and its variety of old trees. Living in Wanaka since 2001, she has turned her stone garden into a sanctuary for McCann’s skinks, trying to “think like a skink”, to understand what they might need, and keeping a record of their behaviour in photographs.

Since 2005, Jan has been the secretary of the Central Otago Recreational Users Forum, an organisation initiated by DOC to bring together public recreationists with the statutory land managers, DOC, CODC and LINZ. This has involved trying to work positively with outdoor access, land tenure, landowners, and Council policies for Central Otago. She is also a member of the Lindis Pass Conservation Group, removing briar and rubbish from the Reserve, and is a working member of COET.

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Tom Lamb

Tom has lived in Central most of his working life. He gained a Diploma in Agriculture from Lincoln College in 1959 and managed farms in Hawea, Roxburgh and Omakau.

In 1968, Tom bought and operated a small business in Christchurch for 5 years before returning to Alexandra to a small lifestyle block of 58acres. At the same time, Tom established a franchise in building construction for 18 years until 1990.  Training in Wellington and Malta he became involved in missionary work within the Catholic Church in the South Island.  From 1993, Tom became a support worker, caring for young men who had intellectual disability, encouraging them to live independently in their own flats. In 1997, Tom began training as a Workplace Support Chaplain - a role which takes him into the lives of the local working community. He is also a marketing manager and team leader for Central Otago, and participates in the forward planning for the Otago—Southland region.

Tom is the vice chairman of the Artsenta Trust (Dunedin) which encourages people who are experiencing or are emerging from mental health issues to explore the use of art in its many forms as a means of rehabilitation.

Tom’s interests are family, hiking, biking, tramping, camping, good books and through music in the Central Otago Regional Orchestra, chamber groups.

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Rob Wardle

Rob, 45, lives on 10 hectares at Galloway and works for the Department of Conservation in Alexandra on High Country Tenure Review. Previous employers include Knight Frank(NZ Ltd)/Landcorp working in high country tenure review and vegetation monitoring, Landcare Research with the semi- arid lands programme, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as a fisheries observer and the New Zealand Forest Service assisting with ecological surveys and research projects.

Rob’s higher education comprises BSc and BA Honours degrees in Geography from the University of Canterbury and a Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Science from Lincoln University.

Professional skills include assessment of conservation values, consultation with high country stakeholders including farmers, NGO’s and Iwi and navigating the legal, technical and social labyrinth of high country tenure review.

Outside of work, Rob along with his wife Kate, has established a walnut orchard which after 10 years is now producing a commercial crop. When not at work or in the orchard, Rob spends as much time as possible in the mountains and hills, tramping, skiing, mountain biking climbing and camping with family and friends

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Cam Dykes

Cam, 42, is a chartered accountant. After graduating from Lincoln University in 1987 with an agricultural commerce degree, Cam pursued accounting, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1989, becoming a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1991 and currently holds a certificate of public practice.

In addition to chartered accounting, he also has a broad commercial background gained from fulfilling financial management roles within the primary export, tourism and contracting sectors, including a role as financial controller in a publicly listed company.

Cam joined Ibbotson Cooney Charted Accountants and Business Advisors in 2004 and was appointed director in 2005.

Married with three children, Cam is very much at home in Alexandra, where he enjoys mountain biking in the Central Otago back blocks.

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Trent Bell

Trent, 29, was born and raised in New Plymouth, and attended Victoria University where he gained a BSc in Biology. Trent is employed at Landcare Research as a Research Technician and works mainly with lizards in this capacity.

He has had a long involvement in herpetology and is a member of both the Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles and the NZ Herpetological Society. Trent has kept and bred many native reptiles in captivity, including the large Duvaucel’s geckos which he has had for more than 11 years. He has attained the highest wildlife permit for native reptiles and amphibians, which enables him to hold endangered species.

Trent has also worked in conservation projects, including Boundary Stream Mainland Island and at Macraes Flat with monitoring Otago and Grand skink populations.

Trent participates in competitive basketball, running, biking and enjoys following cricket.

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Tim Whittaker

Tim is employed by the Department of Conservation as a Conservation Officer, High Country Tenure Review. Tim is a senior member of the Property Institute of New Zealand and is a registered valuer.

Tim commenced work with the Department for Lands & Survey in 1982, which in part became Landcorp in 1987 and then Knight Frank in 1991. As well as five years practical farming experience, his background is in rural valuation, farm supervision, high country tenure review and a multitude of property related matters. He has particular experience in Crown lease and licence administration and rental setting.

Tim has worked in many parts of New Zealand with the last 16 in Alexandra specialising in high country tenure review, an often demanding but rewarding occupation. The last six years he has been with DOC where he has developed an interest in the local flora and fauna.

Married with two teenage boys he is actively involved in outdoor pursuits including hunting, tramping and fishing. Tim also runs a small native plant nursery for the restoration of parts of his lifestyle block back to something resembling its pre-human state. As Tim puts it – “it’s a bit like having two jobs really”.

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