The Otago Conservation Board has 11 members appointed by the Minister of Conservation. The Board is currently carrying 1 vacancy. Find out more about the current members of the Board.

Rachael Cooper of Wānaka (Chairperson)

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024

Rachael currently works for the Ministry for the Environment as a Senior Climate Change Policy Advisor in the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, and previously worked for MPI in a similar role in the rural sector. Her appointment would add to the Board’s understanding of climate change issues. Ms Cooper has previously worked for WAI Wānaka, a community group developing a whole of catchment approach to freshwater values in Wānaka. 

Dean Fraser of Dunedin (Deputy Chair)

Appointment term: 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024

Dean is of Ngāi Tahu descent and was nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. He is a General Manager at Silver Ferns Farms. He has previously held a variety of roles both with Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation and as the Chair of Ōtākou Papatipu Rūnaka. He is skilled in strategic direction, operational delivery, and risk management.

Rebecca Begg of Clydevale

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026

Rebecca is experienced in terrestrial and freshwater management in Otago through her previous work with the Otago Regional Council, Otago South River Care and the Pomahaka Water Care Governance Group.  Ms Begg’s experience in terrestrial/freshwater-based conservation issues, rural community engagement and tourism operations would continue to be beneficial to the Board, noting the upcoming Otago Regional Council Land and Water Plan where freshwater issues in the rural sector will be prominent. Ms Begg previously worked for DOC in district office statutory process planning and species roles, and for local tourism operators in Fiordland.

Tumai Cassidy of Dunedin

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Tumai (Ngāi Tahu) is a cultural advisor and senior ranger for Te Rūnanga o Otakou and is a nominee from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the Board. He is an expert in Ngāi Tahu language, customs, traditions, culture, traditional ecological knowledge and mātauranga, as well as Ngāi Tahu traditional ecological knowledge, history, customs, and traditions pertaining to the Otago region.

Tim Barke of Queenstown 

Appointment term: 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024

Tim has extensive experience in land, marine and aviation-based tourism, and is currently the General Manager of Lake Wānaka Tourism. He has worked extensively with community, iwi, and the Department of Conservation. Tim is interested and experienced in understanding taonga and seeking to achieve industry outcomes whilst protecting and enhancing the mauri and wairua of the rohe.

Tara Druce of Alexandra 

Appointment term: 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2024

Tara has a background in tourism public policy and research, having been a Senior Research Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism. Now living in Alexandra, she is a self-employed planning consultant, working on tourism, community development, recreation and heritage projects at local, regional and national levels. She is seen as holding highly productive and pro-active relationships in the community.

Dr Barbara Anderson of Dunedin

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Dr Anderson is a research scientist with 20 years’ experience and expertise in climate change, biodiversity, conservation strategic planning, modelling biodiversity /carbon trade-offs, and science communication. Dr Anderson is also engaged in a number of outreach initiatives and is president of the Otago Institute for Arts and Sciences, working to re-balance the Institute’s emphasis with respect to Mātauranga Māori with other disciplines.

Anna Gillooly of Wānaka

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2025

Anna is a practicing lawyer which would provide a valuable legal perspective to the Board’s statutory work and governance. Ms Gillooly has also worked as a mountain and ski guide, health and safety auditor in the adventure tourism industry, and is a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides legal working group. Her extensive background in remote and backcountry recreation in Otago would provide the Board with authoritative advice in implementing the Mount Aspiring National Park Management Plan and the Otago CMS in the backcountry of West Otago.

Neil Harraway of Dunedin

Appointment term: 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025

Neil has extensive experience in nature conservation advocacy through journalism, film production and documentary making with Natural History NZ, reaching a wide audience across New Zealand and the world. He also has a strong understanding of terrestrial and marine sciences, business management and operation within tourism sector. Mr Harraway has engagement experience with tāngata whenua in show-casing their relationship with nature during documentary productions including series on NZ National Parks, and during Wild Dunedin – NZ’s festival of nature.

Finley Ross of Hawea

Appointment term: 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026

Finley is a young high achieving scientist in rural Otago and is engaged in a variety of environmental and conservation initiatives. These include his PhD in specific adaptations to climate change, carbon zero in New Zealand, podcast interviews of public figures and various business and environmental entrepreneurial initiatives. Mr Ross led his family farm to be the first certified carbon zero farm in Australasia, as well as leading pest control and revegetation programmes on the property. His appointment would bring a fresh perspective to the Board’s capability in these fields.


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