Read the biographies of DOC's senior leadership team.

Led by Director-General Penny Nelson, the Senior Leadership Team provide clear, decisive leadership for the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Together, they set our vision, purpose and values and shape our strategic direction.

Penny Nelson

Penny Nelson is the Director-General of DOC. 

More about Penny Nelson

Sia Aston

Sia Aston | Credit: Lance Lawson

Sia Aston is our Deputy Director-General Public Affairs. She leads a high-performing group focused on building trust, confidence, reputation and relationships.

Sia has a background in journalism and worked for a decade as a TV political reporter. She was Press Secretary to a senior cabinet minister and Chief Press Secretary to a former prime minister. As well as these challenging roles, Sia was General Manager Communications at the Public Service Commission. She’s weathered three elections and honed her skills in risk and crisis management.

Sia loves being part of the team at DOC, supporting the mission to protect and preserve New Zealand’s precious natural heritage.  

Family is important to Sia. She is a mum to a lively little girl and partner to a busy architect, and has a large, complex and very close family. Sia loves the outdoors. She runs Wellington’s trails with Nelson her dalmatian and often visits the wild coastline.

Ruth Isaac

Ruth Isaac | Credit: Lance Lawson

Ruth Isaac is our Deputy Director-General Policy and Regulatory Services. She leads a group that develops the frameworks and outcomes for the conservation system, oversees DOC’s international engagement, and supports the organisation to be strategy-led and focused on key priorities.

Ruth is an experienced public servant. She has a broad background leading groups and reform programmes in economic, social and fiscal policy areas. Ruth spent over 12 years working at The Treasury and likes to say that you can take the girl out of the Treasury, but you can’t take the Treasury out of the girl. 

Ruth loves leading people and growing high performing and highly engaged groups. Her professional purpose is to make a difference for Aotearoa New Zealand through excellent public policy design, administration and services. She is also a champion for mental health awareness and inclusiveness in the workplace.

Ruth grew up tramping, camping and skiing, and enjoys making the most of the outdoors. She sees the natural heritage and landscapes of New Zealand as key to our national identity and critical to our economic prosperity and social wellbeing.

Ruth is a proud mum of two teenage boys, who she says still can’t beat her in downhill mountain races. She enjoys spending time being active, cooking, reading and socialising with friends.

Tame Malcolm

Tame Malcolm | Credit: Lance Lawson

Tame Malcolm is our Deputy Director-General Treaty Partnerships and supports the organisation in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

No ngā Wai Ariki o Okataina, Rotoiti, Rotorua ia. Ko Ngāti Tarāwhai, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Ngāraranui, Tapuika, me Ngāti Ruanui ōna Iwi.

Born in Rotorua, Tame considers himself blessed to have been raised in Te Ao Māori. He showed a keen interest in the forest from a very young age. He was encouraged and supported by his parents and wider whānau to pursue this interest through trapping, hunting, wānanga and university.

Tame has spent his entire career working in pest management and Te Ao Māori approaches to predator control. He has worked for regional councils and research institutes, as well as running his own pest management company. Tame first worked for DOC in 2006. Prior to starting in his current role at DOC, he was General Manager for a not-for-profit Māori environmental organisation. He is still actively involved in supporting his iwi, hapū, marae and Ahu Whenua Māori trusts.

Tame still does some hands-on pest management, usually with his Dad. This helps gather data for his PhD which is on Te Ao Māori approaches to pest management.

Tame and his wife Kahurangi have two young sons. With Kahurangi actively working in the Māori economic development space, they both hope to leave a better Aotearoa for their sons.

Stephanie Rowe

Stephanie Rowe | Credit: Lance Lawson

Stephanie Rowe is our Deputy Director-General Biodiversity, Heritage and Visitors.

Stephanie grew up dreaming of working in conservation. Her time as a scientist at DOC remains one of the formative and exciting parts of her career. Since then, Stephanie has held senior leadership roles at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Primary Industries. She has gained experience leading across strategy, policy, research, intelligence and operations.  

Stephanie is excited to have returned home to DOC. The Biodiversity, Heritage and Visitors group is the centre of DOC’s technical and scientific expertise. They set the direction for our conservation work and look at how we can achieve our goals. The group leads the implementation of Te Mana o Te Taiao (the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy) and the Visitor and Heritage Strategy.

Stephanie’s passions are people and system leadership. She enjoys complex challenges, where it takes a diversity of views and approaches to achieve great things.

In her spare time she loves visiting the Marlborough Sounds with her family, walking her dogs in the bush and hills around Wellington, and exploring all that Aotearoa has to offer, from mountains to sea.

Mike Tully

Mike Tully | Credit: Lance Lawson

Mike Tully is our Deputy Director-General Organisation Support. This group is responsible for ensuring DOC is resourced, financially secure, technologically enabled and safe.

Mike comes from a background of banking and insurance. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer at ACC. He is a passionate people leader and thrives on a good challenge. Collaboration and relationships are important to him and his work.

Mike believes that our whenua, fauna and biodiversity are truly unique and being a part of their conservation for future generations is a great reason to work for DOC.

When not learning about conservation, Mike can be found fly fishing or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Mike likes to entertain and is enjoying the revival of vinyl music.

Henry Weston

Henry Weston | Credit: Lance Lawson

Henry Weston is our Deputy Director-General Regional Operations. He leads around one third of our people. 

Henry has a long career in conservation. He started working at Te Uru Rākau – the New Zealand Forestry Service as a teenager in his summer holidays. He became the Bay of Plenty/East Coast Conservator for DOC in the 2000s and took on a variety of treaty relations roles. He has experienced local government as the Chief Operating Officer for the Rotorua Lakes District Council. He also has senior leadership experience as Acting Deputy Director-General for Te Uru Rākau.

Henry returned to DOC in August 2022 and he now heads up our biggest business group that delivers conservation on the ground. 

Henry instinctively connects to people and puts them first – he asks good questions, is naturally curious and listens to understand. 

He is a dad to three mostly grown-up children. On weekends, Henry enjoys spending time with his partner, a good coffee and walks in Rotorua’s redwood forest. His favourite natural places to spend time in and recharge his batteries are Whirinaki Forest and around Rotorua’s lakes.

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