The Governance Group

It is proposed that the governance board drives this project along and is one of the key ways of communicating what is going on to and from the people they are representing.  The board will also make the decisions on how the project will progress and what methods will be used.  It is worth reiterating that, at this stage, no method has been chosen about how to remove any of these predators – this is a decision for the governance group after considering all of the technical advice available.

The obvious question that arises here is: how will one board get all of the work done?    The answer to this lies with Working Groups.  When there is an issue raised (e.g. how are you going to stop rats re-invading), then a working group will be formed to try to find a solution.  The working group will be chaired by the most relevant governance board member, but can draw in everyone and anyone that it needs to find a solution.  This is another key opportunity for individuals within the community to be involved in helping find solutions to issues that are of concern to them.  When the issue is solved, the working group will report back to the governance board who will make the final decision.

To form the governance board representatives were invited from: the Stewart Island resident community, business, hunting interests, fishing and aquaculture industry, Iwi, Rakiura Maori Land Trust, Southland District Council, Environment Southland, and DOC.  The members are set out as below:

Sandy KingSandy King  representing the Stewart Island community
I grew up and now live permanently on Stewart Island. I am one of two people selected from the community to act as a “conduit” between the islands’ community and the Governance Group. I have spent about 14 years in total traveling, living and working in other parts of New Zealand and the world, and am lucky to have spent time on some other amazing islands where there have been eradication projects, and to have gotten to know those islands before and after the eradications. I have witnessed first-hand the short and long term costs and benefits that result. I support the concept of a Predator Free Rakiura, while knowing that this proposal is vastly different to anything that has been done on other islands because of the community here.We have the opportunity now to investigate the feasibility of making Stewart Island / Rakiura predator free. It will be a huge challenge, but the potential benefits are also huge and so make worthwhile the time, energy and resources needed for the feasibility study. It is essential that the island community engages in this process, and as a member of the Group I’m happy for them to talk to me, give feedback, and ask questions – they know how to find me!

Jill Skerrett representing the Stewart Island community.
I first lived in Rakiura back in the 70’s (when things were different) and in total, I’ve lived in Rakiura for 17 years. My partner and I operate the local Four Square Supermarket. I am very happy to represent the community on the island and I think my role in the shop lends itself to being accessible for all islanders to discuss this project with me.  My overall feelings about the project are very optimistic, as I believe the Island needs an economic and positive boost.  We should embrace this opportunity that has been offered.  If you wish to discuss anything to do with the project I can be contacted at

Gail Thompson – representing iwi interests

Stewart Bull – representing iwi (Titi Islands) interests

Leon Fife – representing Rakiura Maori Land Trust
The Rakiura Maori Land Trust (RMLT) administers 105 sq. km of Rakiura on behalf of over 5000 beneficial Maori owners making it the largest private landowner on the island.

My connection to Rakiura is through my paternal grandfather who was born on The Neck. I can trace my whakapapa back many generations beyond him including my great, great grandfather, Hohaia Poheahea who was a well-known kaumatua at Port Adventure in the early 1800s.

I am a beneficial owner in two sections of land at Lords River and have been a RMLT trustee for the past 6 years. My main focus within RMLT has been land management and in particular, pest eradication and land restoration and it is for this reason I am representing RMLT on the governance group. I am excited about what “Predator Free Rakiura” could do for Rakiura. I have seen first-hand the damage being done by pests on the island and believe we have a great opportunity to stop the devastation and restore the forests to what they were before the pests were introduced. To do nothing is not an option as far as I am concerned but I also feel strongly that all of the stakeholders, especially local residents, should be given every opportunity to be involved in the process. I am confident that the structures and processes being put in place by the governance group will allow this to happen.

I have been a science teacher for over 30 years and I’m currently Head of Biology at Avonside Girls High School. I live with my wife and three sons in Heathcote Valley in Christchurch.

I encourage Rakiura Maori to contact me if they have any questions, concerns or suggestions about what the governance group has done so far or could do in the future.

AliTimmsAli Timms – representing Environment Southland
I have been an Environment Southland Councillor for 12 years and this is my second term as Chairman.  I come from a strong Southland farming background and I also run a successful physiotherapy business.  For past 30 years I’ve enjoyed visiting Stewart Island/Rakiura for tramping, fishing and socialising.  My representative role on the Governance Group has come about because of Environment Southland’s responsibilities for biosecurity and biodiversity in the region.  I’m passionate about this project, it will result in huge benefits ecologically and economically for the Island. And it’s a really big challenge, but anything wothwhile usually is! Please contact me if you want to discuss the project on

BruceBruce Halligan
 – representing Southland District Council
I am a 3rd generation Southlander with 25 years involvement in environmental management and resource management in the Southland context.  I’ve held current position of GM of Environment and Community with the Southland District Council since 2008. I Have tramped most of the established tracks on Rakiura. I’m Married to Denise, with one stepdaughter and one granddaughter. My interests are dogs, rugby league and running.  I am passionate about Rakiura environment and see the potential significant ecological benefits of the proposal but Council is also involved due to the potential for significant economic benefits.  However, obviously Council is keen to ensure that the community is fullyinvolved in all decision making.

Paul_NorrisPaul Norris
 – representing business interests
Paul Norris is the Director of Operations for Real Journeys. Our company has business interests in Stewart Island through our company Stewart Island Experience. I am passionate on the outdoor environment as well as ensuring areas are run in a sustainable way for long term prospects. Whilst not based on Stewart Island I travel to the area on a semi-regular basis & are well aware of the challenges businesses have operating there through the seasonality nature of the place.

Steve Long – representing hunting interests (Southland NZDA)

garyGarry Neave – representing fishing interests
I am the fishing representative on the Governance Group and have lived on Stewart Island since 1953; fished around the Island from 1967.Fishing activities and Biosecurity will be one of the challenging aspect to work through . With a commitment from all of us, the success of this project will benefit Southland as well as Stewart Island.


Gareth Morgan – representing funders

Allan Munn – representing DOC

To form the governance board representatives have been invited from: the Stewart Island resident community, business, hunting interests, fishing and aquaculture industry, Iwi, Rakiura Maori Land Trust, Southland District Council, Environment Southland, and DOC.  Gareth Morgan will also be on the Governance Board representing potential funders.