Our Team

Our trust is governed by a chairperson and board of trustees with operational management contracted to a trust manager, a nursery manager and an education manager. Our dedicated team ensures that the work we do supports our mission of inspiring community native habitat restoration through plant propagation, education and hands-on participation.

Carrie Williams

Chair Carrie Williams

Carrie brings her skills as a solicitor with experience in both the private and public sectors to the trust, when she is not wearing a bike or ski helmet. Conservation and environmental stewardship have been enduring values for her.

Andrew Gawith

Treasurer Andrew Gawith

Andrew has been an irregular planting volunteer for the past decade. He has taken on the treasurer role at the Trust relying on past experience starting and managing economic consulting and financial services businesses. He also has interests in improving river health and water quality generally.

Shennee Grinter

Trustee Shennee Grinter

As an ardent supporter of grassroots conservation, Shennee was first involved with Te Kākano in 2010. With a career spanning business operations management, finance and marketing, she is dedicated to optimising systems and efficiencies for the trust and believes Te Kākano’s work will leave a lasting impression for future generations.

Becky McCormack

Trustee Becky McCormack

Becky and her family moved to Wānaka in 2021, but has spent many winter and summer holidays here since she was a teenager. With a background in secondary school teaching and environmental education, she’s passionate about supporting young people to engage with the community and our local environment. She also loves trees!

Chris Dillon

Trustee Chris Dillon

Chris has a creative and business background, having started his career in the film industry, before founding Coffee Supreme 30 years ago. He hopes to apply his commercial experience to assist the Trust with strategy and governance, and has long been quietly committed to environmental causes.

Mike Toepfer

Trustee Mike Toepfer

Mike is a lawyer who moved to Wanaka in 2010.  He has been involved in various community organisations since he has arrived. Mike has always love the outdoors, and now wants to concentrate on
environmental issues, especially protecting and enhancing our biodiversity.

Loran Verpillot

Trust Manager Loran Verpillot

Originally from France, Loran moved to the Upper Clutha region in 2014. Being the Trust Manager for Te Kākano is a dream job for her, combining two areas she is passionate about: community and plants. She has been working with Te Kākano since 2018.

Nursery Manager Kris Vollebregt

Kris trained and worked as a geologist. She is passionate about native fauna and flora and you will see her often walking in the hills. She has volunteered for Te Kākano since the beginning and became the nursery manager in 2019. Faithful dog Strummer assists her in supervising volunteers.

Nik Woolford

Admin & Nursery Assistant Nik Woolford

Nik supports the nursery operations and planting sessions. She has a lot of experience with growing native plants and gardening as well as managing people. She values positive connections with people and nature and enjoys learning. She loves spending time outdoors and has a small garden coaching and design business.

Jo Guest

Education Manager   Jo Guest

Jo is one of Te Kākano’s founding members and has held a trustee position along with being Te Kākano’s chairperson for a number of years. She is a teacher by trade and was most recently appointed as our Education Manager in 2022. She currently leads our ‘Educate for Nature’ programme and is also a keen skier, mountain biker, event manager, and amazing at getting people involved.

Education support Chrissi Pettit

Chrissi, originally from Germany, moved to Wānaka 20 years ago and has been living here ever since. She loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time tramping, biking and skiing with her family. With a background in teaching and a passion for the environment and sustainability she is keen to share her love for nature and encourage others to look after and protect our living world.

Botanical Advisor Arne Cleland

Arne is a revegetation and landscape design consultant who also ran the Pukerau Nursery in Southland for 38 years. He has an incredible knowledge of eco-sourcing native plants for riparian and restoration planting in Otago and Southland. He is a trusted advisor for Te Kākano on nursery operations, native plant species and planting sites.