Our people


Dr Mike Joy is a freshwater ecologist, widely respected for his courageous and sustained advocacy for the environment. He has received many awards in recognition of his contributions to the environment, including being a semi-finalist for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the year.

He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, University of Victoria, Wellington.

Dr Catherine Knight is an experienced policy professional at KHM Consulting and an environmental historian. She is the author of four award-winning books, including Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand and New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history.

She is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, University of Victoria Wellington. Catherine also teaches yoga from her rural studio in the Manawatu.


Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka is of Ngati Pakau, Ngapuhi descent. Tanya is a Māori artist and designer who is passionate about kaitiakitanga of the environment, food sovereignty and ancestral growing tikanga.

Tanya has built this process of reconnection with her Tupuna and the land through her art practice. Tanya is the founder of Region Net Positive, an initiative aiming to generate net positive interactions with the land by connecting people through a network for shared natural growing method knowledge, support and data collection.

Comms & engagement

Jen Vella practiced as an environmental lawyer for over 17 years, advising Boards of Inquiry, central and local government, industry bodies, energy providers, developers and individuals on a wide range of resource management issues.

She has been heavily involved in freshwater policy initiatives at the national and regional level and three waters strategy and consenting processes throughout her career. Jen is experienced in large-scale litigation and is at her best when she is tackling complex problems involving numerous stakeholders. She craves a fair society in which every person can live creative, fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Our experts

Shane Ward is a regenerative land use advisor, communicator and founder of Action Ecology, which focuses on connecting people and knowledge.

Passionate about sustainable food systems, ecosystem restoration, as well as plant, soil and microbial ecology, Shane also works to engage people with visioning a better way forwards for humanity’s approach to energy, economy and agriculture – re-partnering with natural systems – so we might provide a chance for future generations to thrive on this planet.

Mark Kroening is a leadership and organisational effectiveness coach who sees his purpose as supporting change towards a socially equal and environmentally sustainable world.  He works with Kiwi influencers who are driving their organisations and the economy in this direction.  Mark has an MBA, MPP, and BE(Mech), and has worked in management consulting, sustainability strategy, and sailboat rigging design.  In 2019, he ran a half marathon in every US state.

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