Vince Kerr
vince kerrVince is a a founding trustee. Vince is a biologist with a background in environmental education, forestry, horticulture and conservation management and currently works for his own firm Kerr & Associates, based in Northland. Vince is a strong advocate for marine conservation and played a key support role in the Kamo High School Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve campaign. Vince is the driving force behind our Trust marine advocacy projects and the website  Vince has responsibility for advising on any issues and supporting consulting trustees.

The late Dr Roger Grace - our PATRON 
roger graceRoger is a well known marine biologist and professional photographer. Roger is an active campaigner for marine conservation in New Zealand and internationally. He has played a role in many of New Zealand’s marine reserve campaigns and is a frequent contributor of articles on marine conservation to popular magazines. Roger was involved as a supporter and biologist for the Great Barrier, Tiritiri and Mimiwhangata marine conservation projects. Roger received the Queen’s Service Medal for public service in 2005. Roger supports trust programmes with expert biological advice and served as a Trustee for 15 years and was appointed as our patron in 2018.  

Samara Nicholas - MNZM
Sasamara nicholasmara is an founding  trustee and is the Programme Director. She was recognised in 2005 in the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from AUT and is a graduate of Northland Polytechnic’s Diploma of Environmental Management. Samara founded the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme in 2001, and the EMR community guided snorkel days in 2004. She is also a graduate of Kamo High School where she was Head Girl and played a key role in the school’s marine reserve proposal and establishment. Samara is a PADI Dive Master and a registered assessor for unit standards in snorkelling. Samara is a consulting trustee and has responsibility for the overall management and direction of all programmes. She is also the national EMR coordinator. In 2018 she was honored as a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to marine education and conservation.

Kim Jones 
kim jonesKim is the national coordinator for the Whitebait Connection Programme. She achieved her Open Water SCUBA Diving certification and surf lifesaving bronze star and medallion whilst at high school. She is a graduate of the Diploma in Environmental Management and Conservation at Northtec. Kim received the Golden Bay Cement student scholarship in 2005, which has helped fund her education and provided her with experience working within the environmental management industry. She has a National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing. Kim was a selected member of the youth delegates at the 2006 Digital Earth symposium on sustainability and is also a committee member of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, Northland Branch. Kim is a consulting trustee.

Hilton Leith

hilton pic 1bHilton sees life as an opportunity to continually learn and change. Hilton has been fortunate to spend half of his working life free diving for rock lobster, paua and sea urchin. The balance was spent in real estate. He saw both of these as wonderful opportunities to learn about himself and his connection with his surroundings. Hilton is a PADI Rescue Diver and a knowledgeable businessman. He believes our future is linked to how we treat our environment today. Hilton has added value to the trust in the areas of financial processes and strategic vision as a non-consulting trustee.


Dr Olivier (Olly) Ball

Olly is a senior tutor at NorthTec Whangarei, and teachs subjects ranging from ecology to Lunch at Glink27s Gully while chasing Notoreasconservation to the dreaded statistics. Olly is our current chairperson. His interest in ecology and conservationwas sparked when, as a child growing up in London, he found out that I was never going to be able to see such wonderful creatures as moa, huia and dodo, as

every last one had been exterminated by humans, directly or indirectly. After leaving school in England, I followed the zoological pathway, completing a BSc Hons at the University of Canterbury (NZ), majoring in ecology and invertebrate
physiology. His PhD at Waikato University saw his studies focus on biological control of pastoral insect pests using endophytic fungi of grasses. After post-doctoral studies on endophytic fungi at the University of Tennessee, and
several years as a research scientist with AgResearch at Ruakura and Grasslands, I was able to rekindle my passion for plants, animals and their
conservation when he took up his current post at NorthTec. Since his arrival at NorthTec, I have been lucky enough to participate in several research projects, including studies on freshwater invertebrate communities of northern Northland dune lakes. Olly thiks we have a  stunning environment here, and thinks how lucky we are. That is why he is happy to support the amazing work of the Mountains to Sea
Conservation Trust.


Manuel Springfordmanuel

Manuel Springford decided to speak Te Reo on Mondays - wherever he goes, whoever he meets, he speaks Māori. It's his way to keep his native tongue alive. Manuel is committed to Te Reo and surrounds himself with the language in his day-to-day activities, but it was a different story as a youngster - he didn't even know his grandfather could speak Māori. His initial reason to learn the language was to converse with him, so started his reo journey in 2009. He started Māori Mondays in May 2009 after hearing about Mahuru Māori, another Māori language initiative that encourages people to speak Maori in September. Mr Springford thought he'd start early and commit to one day a week. His commitment to the language has inspired many in his community to give Te Reo a go. His local bakery, the Baker's Crust, has included Te Reo in their business - such as renaming their monthly speciality pies in Māori. Mr Springford normalises Te Reo in his workplace, at home, everywhere. While Māori Mondays started out as a way for him to korero Māori more often, the ripple effect has been far wider. We are proud to have Manuel on borad as our Te waha Maori Trustee. 

Matt Keenematt 2

Matt is born and bred in Whangārei. He has a bachelor of management studies from Waikato University and is a partner in a software development company. Matt is on several not for profit boards that focus on education, the arts and skills development for young people. He has many years of experience in the development and implementation
of strategic planning for not for profits. Matt has been on many EMR school trips withhis 3 daughters and has seen first hand how important and effective it is to make the education of tamariki about the environment and ecology an adventure and fun.

 Geoff Butturinigeoff

I have had an association with the sea ever since I can remember. Being in, or on, the ocean is my second home. I spent seven years in the RNZN as a radio operator, but also qualified as a navy diver for a second skill. Apart from coastal fishery patrol boats, I served on HMNZS Tui (which is sunk off Tutukaka) and HMNZS Canterbury (sunk in Deep Water Cove). Both ships are now refuges for marine life and great dive sites. In 1973, while on HMNZS Canterbury, I was one of the volunteer crew that went to Mururoa Island to protest against atmospheric nuclear testing by the French, on behalf of New Zealand. The circle now seems complete with Canterbury continuing to be a safe place for marine life and my association with EMR. After I left the Navy I worked in communications for several years, until I decided my future lay in the aquatics industry. When living in Australia I qualified as a swim teacher, teacher of life saving and swim coach. I also qualified as a life guard and went on the manage an outdoor pool in the summer over four seasons. Currently involved with local schools doing WaterSafe and water awareness. EMR attracted me because it is fantastic to be able to share my love of the sea, and marine life, with people who have never experienced it before. I also enjoy the challenge of helping people to overcome whatever fears they may have about being in the ocean.



Whakamana te maunga Whakamana te wai He mauri o ngᾱ tangata Ngᾱ mea katoa he pai
If we look after the water from the mountains to sea, it will look after us. It is our life force.