NZPCN council member profiles

Rewi Elliot at Otari Native Plant Botanic Garden

Rewi Elliot

After playing in the mud as my dad laboured in the vegetable plot I eventually got interested in the green part of the garden. This led to leaving school early and studying horticulture. Eventually, I found myself at the Wellington Botanic Garden for a few years but feeling the urge to put myself in more debt I left the gardens to study Environmental Studies. Near the end of my studies the manager’s position at Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve opened up and I was lucky enough to land it. If you’re visiting Wellington come and visit Otari - if you turn up at 10am you'll even get a tea or coffee. Currently NZPCN President, my contact details are

Matt Ward

At Slope Point Southernmost point of Mainland looking at Selliera rotundifolia.

After ditching the world of baking for conservation I’ve been very fulfilled. I went on a roady the length of Aotearoa in 2004 which ended with a conservation conversation at Waitiki Landing, this involved many questions for the local D.O.C. ranger about how to join the force. This led to a couple of Victoria University degrees and some volunteer work at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary whilst studying. I have now been working with our native plants since 2006 and have become a chronic sufferer of orchid fever. I run my own ecological restoration business which allows me some time to botanise, and collect and process native seeds. I also attempt to be a botanical photographer and artist. Any spare time is enjoyed dining at home with my wife and friends, gardening, continually modifying something around the house, as well as making tasty home brew beverages.

Sarah Beadel, above Lake Wanaka.

Sarah Beadel

Sarah is a Founding Director of Wildland Consultants Ltd, and is a very keen botanist and ecologist who is passionate about working and exploring in the field throughout New Zealand, and overseas whenever she gets the opportunity.  Sarah has prepared many ecological restoration plans and has often led or been involved with their implementation.  When not botanising, Sarah is establishing a large native garden along with a large, productive vegetable garden that feeds family and friends.  Mountain biking provides excellent botanical exploration opportunities in out-of-the way places.  Sarah is currently President of the Network and has served on the committee since 2004.  She is passionate about indigenous plants and ecological restoration, and is the author of more than 500 botanical reports, papers, and articles, including author or co- author of 17 protected natural area programme survey reports.

Jesse Bythell at Lake Pukaki

Jesse Bythell

I originally trained as a linguist but found myself transferring my interest from endangered languages to endangered plants when I moved from Christchurch to the deep south in 2006. I am currently the NZPCN webmaster and have interests in alpine flora, plant photography, botanical etymology, endurance horse riding and playing the banjo. You can contact me at: 

Catherine Beard at Shangri-La, Antarctica

Catherine Beard

I am an ecologist with a botanical bent working for the Department of Conservation.  Although I’ve been based in the Waikato for many years I have wandered far in pursuit of my interest in plants and the natural world, and have had the privilege (so far) of botanising quite a few different islands and parts of five continents (including the dry valleys and coastlines of Antarctica). I’m intrigued by how natural systems work and maintain a strong interest in the interactions that occur between plants and animals and how they function in diverse environments.  Outside work I’m usually happily occupied restoring the native habitat of my gully section, or building stuff, or working on improving my edible wilderness garden, or exploring new places by foot or bicycle – and when it is raining too heavily I am indoors enjoying the company of my furred, feathered or finned menagerie, and indulging in my passion for drawing.

Melissa Hutchison

Melissa Hutchison at Kaitorete Spit

Kia ora koutou. I developed a love of native plants and wild places growing up in the rugged Waitakere Ranges of West Auckland. After completing a BSc and MSc in Ecology at Massey University, and contracts with the Department of Conservation and Landcare Research, I travelled around Europe and worked as an entomologist with a conservation trust in southern England. In 2003, I moved to Christchurch to complete a PhD at the University of Canterbury, which involved three years surveying plant communities on the West Coast. Towards the end of my PhD, I began working part-time as an ecologist for NZ Landcare Trust, and then the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust. This opened my eyes to the highly threatened ecosystems of lowland Canterbury and the important on-the-ground conservation work being carried out by NGOs to protect and restore the small fragments that remain. I now work as an ecologist for Wildland Consultants in Christchurch. I am a keen cyclist and love tramping and exploring the mountains of the South Island. I also enjoy classical and baroque music (clarinet and recorder) and learning other languages, in particular Spanish, Japanese, and Te Reo Māori, which I have been studying for the last 3 years. I am also currently the webmaster for the Canterbury Botanical Society.

John Barkla at Tasman Glacier

John Barkla

John was a botanist with the Otago Conservancy of the Department of Conservation for many years before becoming a Partnerships Ranger in Coastal Otago. He has wide experience of plant conservation and habitat restoration from projects that span the Kermadec Islands to the Subantarctic. John is a member of the New Zealand Threat Classification Expert Panel (Vascular Plants) which periodically reviews the threat status of New Zealand’s vascular plants. Outside of work he enjoys roaming the hills, photography, and exercising the black lab (preferably all at the same time).

Sarah Richardson on Banks Peninsula

Sarah Richardson

I am a plant ecologist working at Landcare Research in Lincoln. I grew up in England on a rather restricted botanical diet of bluebell woodlands but have since spent the last 15 years totally captivated by the ecology, biogeography and botany of New Zealand’s vegetation. My research interests include vegetation history, understanding plant species distributions using functional traits, biodiversity monitoring including the critical role of Citizen Science, and quantifying the resilience of natural communities to natural and human disturbances. Outside of work, I am easily distracted by tramping, my vegetable garden, cooking beans, and enjoying film festivals.


This page last updated on 8 Oct 2018