Board members

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa has ten members. We are supported by a Secretariat within Toitū Te Whenua who provide administrative support, research, advice and project delivery.

Anselm Haanen, Surveyor-General, Chairperson

Anselm Haanen

Anselm Haanen

Anselm is a licensed cadastral surveyor, with a Master of Surveying from Otago University. His 40+ year career with Toitū Te Whenua and its predecessor departments has provided opportunities in geospatial research and development, setting surveying and addressing standards, establishing electoral boundaries as a member of the Representation Commission, and providing technical advice on Toitū Te Whenua’s future Automated Survey and Titles System. Anselm has managed the regulatory work of the Office of the Surveyor-General for the national geodetic and cadastral survey systems since 2014.

Shaun Barnett – nominated by Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC)

Shaun Barnett

Shaun Barnett

Shaun is a freelance writer and photographer from Wellington, and the author of several books about tramping and backcountry history. He studied zoology at Massey University and parks, recreation and tourism at Lincoln University, before working as a Department of Conservation officer for several years. He served nine years on the executive of the Federated Mountain Clubs, and subsequently worked as editor of the FMC Bulletin and its successor magazine Backcountry for 10 years. Shaun has tramped and climbed extensively throughout New Zealand.

Robin Kearns – nominated by the New Zealand Geographical Society Inc

Robin Kearns

Robin Kearns

Robin is a Professor of Geography, Head of School of Environment, University of Auckland. He is a social and cultural geographer who is widely published on the links between health and places and has influenced the development of the subdiscipline known as health geography. He has also published on the politics of place naming and the links between naming and identity. His most recent edited book is on the influence of water on wellbeing. Robin’s passions include tramping, poetry, popular music and New Zealand fauna and flora.

Paulette Tamati-Elliffe - nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu 

Paulette Tamati-Elliffe

Paulette Tamati-Elliffe

Paulette (Kāi Te Pahi, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki (Ōtākou), Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga) currently leads the Kāi Tahu te reo Māori revitalisation strategy, Kotahi Mano Kāika. She is the Te Waipounamu representative on Te Mātāwai, the national board charged with fulfilling the Maihi Māori strategy for the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Over the past twenty years, Paulette and her partner Komene, both graduates of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori - Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori have reclaimed te reo Māori as a language of natural communication in the home with their tamariki and mokopuna. Paulette also holds a number of representative roles at a local community level for her hapū, and her voice is often heard either calling or singing to manuhiri at her home marae, Ōtākou. A Trustee of Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau (Sinclair Wetlands) Paulette is just as passionate about restoring and strengthening intergenerational connection to our environment and mahika kai traditions.

Chanel Clarke – nominated by the Minister for Māori Development 

Chanel Clarke

Chanel Clarke

Chanel descends from Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Porou and Waikato-Tainui iwi. She has over 20 years’ experience in the Museums and Cultural Heritage sector and is currently Curator at Te Rau Aroha, Waitangi. Chanel is a graduate of Waikato and Massey Universities with degrees in History and Museum Studies. She also teaches in the Museums and Cultural Heritage Programme at the University of Auckland. Chanel has served terms on local government funding committees, held executive membership on the Board of Museums Aotearoa and undertaken advisory roles to National Services Te Paerangi. She is currently a Trustee on the Auckland Girls Grammar School Foundation and was a previous Chair of Ngāti Rangi Ahuwhenua Trust.

Merata Kawharu, MNZM – nominated by the Minister for Land Information

Merata (Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi) is an academic, researcher and writer who is currently a part time Professor at the Centre for sustainability at Otago University, a principal at Takarangi Research Group and Director of research at Nukuroa Consulting Ltd. After completing a doctorate in anthropology at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, she has taught at Auckland and Otago Universities, and published widely in areas of indigenous leadership and resource management. She has written extensively on cultural heritage, museum governance and Māori development, the Treaty of Waitangi, land use and tenure, and the Resource Management Act. She has been a member of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and its Māori Heritage Council, and has worked as a consultant to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris. Merata was awarded an MNZM for services to Māori education. 

Jenni Vernon – nominated by the Minister for Land Information

Jenni Vernon

Jenni Vernon

Jenni is a trained primary school teacher, holds a Masters in Environmental Management, and is an accredited Resource Management Act Hearings Commissioner. Jenni served 12 years on the Waikato Regional Council, holding the position of Chair from 2004-2007. Jenni formerly lead the Strategic Planning and Resource Management team at Waikato District Council.

Gary Shane Te Ruki – nominated by the Minister for Māori Development

Gary Shane Te Ruki

Gary Shane Te Ruki

He toki, he puna kōrero hoki nō te riu o Waipā, nō Te Rohe Pōtae. Shane is a descendant of the Tainui peoples of Ngāti Unu and Ngāti Kahu, of Ngāti Maniapoto and Waikato descent. He is also a descendant of Ngāti Porou of the East Cape. He is an orator, the inheritor of a rich tapestry of narratives from Te Rohe Pōtae (The King Country). As a younger man he was privileged to have been in the company of highly esteemed orators and repositories of oral tribal traditions and accounts. He has a passion and expertise in mātauranga Māori – traditional Māori knowledge system and its uses and contributions in the modern and future contexts. This has provided him with a distinctively different perspective which is much needed in an ever evolving Aotearoa New Zealand and one that has served him, and the organisations that he has worked with, well in his roles past and present. Kāti au i konei.

Bonita Bigham - nominated by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) 

Bonita Bigham

Bonita Bigham

Bonita (Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa) has been Chair of Te Maruata, Local Government New Zealand's national collective of Māori in governance roles in local government, since 2016 and has served on the committee since 2012. She is Te Maruata’s representative to LGNZ's National Council. She was elected to the Taranaki Coastal Community Board in 2019 and was previously a councillor at South Taranaki District Council (STDC) for nine years. Bonita is an accredited Resource Management Act Commissioner and is an iwi representative on both STDC and Taranaki Regional Council committees. She has an unwavering commitment to kaupapa Māori and a strong background in governance, including her iwi's Treaty settlement work, as well as involvement in a wide variety of community organisations. Bonita has two other ministerial appointments alongside this one, as an Oranga Marae Committee member and a Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board member. Bonita is a former journalist and editor and is heavily involved in the arts, completing a Masters in Fine Arts in 2018 and Masters in Māori Visual Arts in 2021. She is continuing on to doctoral study, focusing on the revitalisation of indigenous artistic knowledge.

Adam Greenland – National Hydrographer, Toitū Te Whenua LINZ

Adam is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He holds a Merchant Navy Deck Officer Certificate of Competency and a tertiary qualification in Hydrographic Surveying and Mapping Sciences. He heads the delegation that represents New Zealand on the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) Hydrographic Commission of Antarctica and the South West Pacific Regional Hydrographic Commission. Adam is also a Board member of the International Board of Standards of Competence.