High calibre candidates for High Country Advisory Group

2 August 2018

The Chief Executive of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) today announced the members of the new South Island High Country Advisory Group.

Andrew Crisp says he was delighted with the number of applications and was pleased at the value so many people saw in working together with government through the group.

“In just four weeks we had 33 applications, demonstrating how passionately people feel about this iconic area,” says Mr Crisp.

“So many high calibre candidates applied that we have increased the number of members in the group. We had originally planned to appoint up to six members of the public, but with so many highly skilled applicants, from such diverse backgrounds, we have increased the number to ten.”

The Advisory Group will see LINZ adopt a new way of working in the High Country.

“It’s really important to us that we’re hearing directly from a range of people who can provide us with expert advice and a local perspective. We have members with experience in sectors such as the environment, farming, industry, iwi and government.

“As stewards of this land, we have a responsibility to ensure the unique and special place that is the High Country can be enjoyed for generations to come. Reaching out to work with others will ensure that we’re doing the best job possible both now and in the future.”

The High Country Advisory Group will have a total of 13 members. Alongside the nominated members will be representatives from LINZ, the Department of Conservation and Ngāi Tahu.

The Group will provide advice and insights to the Commissioner of Crown Lands and LINZ to enable greater transparency and communication in the management of Crown land in the South Island High Country. They will also look for collaborative projects, identify examples of good practice and recommend activities to support work programmes.

The Group is expected to meet four times a year and members are appointed for two years. The first meeting is due to take place in September.

Advisory Group

Colin Drummond  - Nominated by Federated Farmers
Colin is a lease holder and farms on Erewhon Station, a 14,000 hectare acre property at the top of the Rangitata Gorge. The Station runs merino sheep, Hereford cattle, deer and includes a large Clydesdale Horse Stud.  

Edward Ellison – Nominated by Ngāi Tahu
Edward is a sheep and beef farmer on the Otago Peninsula. He is also an independent  environmental commissioner for numerous hearings and is active in Ngāi Tahu and rūnanga governance.

Jan Finlayson – Federated Mountain Clubs
Based in South Canterbury, Jan is the Vice-President of Federated Mountain Clubs. She is also a farmer and a former chair of the Canterbury-Aoraki Conservation Board. 

James Guild – Current Chair QE II National Trust and Chair Molesworth Steering Committee
James has farmed High Peak Station at Rakaia Gorge since 1973. The farm has diversified from a traditional sheep and cattle breeding station to include deer, forestry, bee-keeping and tourism ventures. James is also the former chair of Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board.

Mike Harding – member of the Ministry for the Environment Biodiversity Collaborative Group
Based in Geraldine, Mike is an independent environmental consultant. He has broad experience working as an ecologist and an expert witness specialising in the high country.  

Geoff Holgate – Walking Access Commission
As a consultant ecologist contracted to Walking Access Commission, Geoff brings decades of experience working across a number of organisations involved in land management. He has previously worked on tenure review as well as pastoral land management for Landcorp and Lands and Survey. Geoff is based in Canterbury. 

Di Lucas – Rural landscape planner and past chair of the Nature Heritage Fund
Di owns Lucas Associates, which regularly works with land owners, iwi and others in resource planning, sustainable land management, heritage management, landscape ecology and restoration. Christchurch based, Di originates from Bendigo and still manages the family farm lease there.   

Jen Miller - Forest & Bird and MfE Biodiversity Collaborative Group
As Group Manager Conservation Advocacy for Forest and Bird, Jen brings some key expertise to the group. Based in Lyttelton she is well connected to a wide range of organisations who have a stake in conservation.

Jonathan Wallis – Chair High Country Accord
Jonathan is a High Country farmer and leaseholder based at Minaret Station on the western shores of Lake Wanaka. Jonathan is the Managing Director of the Alpine Group, a family owned business with interests in aviation, tourism, processing and export.

Madeleine Wright – Environmental Defence Society
Madeleine runs the litigation programme of the Environmental Defence Society. She is also the Society's representative on the New Zealand Land and Water Forum and the Biodiversity Collaborative Group. She is based in Auckland.

Media enquiries

Email: media@linz.govt.nz or phone: 027 566 5251