Blair Walter (Chair)
I was part of the founding team of Mōkihi and have been heavily involved since its establishment in 2016.
I bring enthusiasm and a range of skills to the Trust, on a day to day basis I manage a successful business and have sat on many boards and committees over the years. My goal is to have an effectively working Trust that educates and involves the community in native plant restoration.
The Central Otago landscape has been significantly modified over time and there are few areas of native ecosystems remaining. By establishing small pockets of our local indigenous species around our community, we can educate people about the importance of protecting and enhancing our indigenous flora and fauna. These local species thrive in our unique and challenging environment and assisting areas to revegetate will bring greater plant species biodiversity and increased bird and insect life for us to all enjoy. We owe it to our planet and particularly local area, to be giving something back.
Richard Lord (Deputy Chair)
I joined Mōkihi as a trustee nearly 18 months ago and have been living in the region for 5 years. Through my work, I have excellent knowledge of a wide range of plants and weeks and feel that I can contribute in a meaningful way to the progress of the Trust. I also have a really good spade that loves digging holes to plant trees, shrubs and grasses.
It is important to me to beautify and enhance the landscape, and I enjoy planting natives in the hope that we can create a good environment for the skinks and other biodiversity values and hopefully encourage the native birds into these areas.
As one of your new trustees, I joined Mōkihi Trust in early 2020.
I have had the privilege of working for the Department of Conservation for over 30 years, based throughout the Lower South Island and Stewart Island. Managing field-based operations for DOC has given me vast experience at working alongside communities and provided me with a chance to share my experiences, knowledge and passion for conservation efforts and I look forward to sharing these skills as part of the Mōkihi team.
The Cromwell Area is virtually denuded of its original vegetations. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to show our local community how special and varied the plants are that once covered much of the landscape? If we can both show and involve the community in our restoration projects, we can work together to grow a better understanding and passion for conservation.
Andrew Swann (Treasurer)
Originally a city boy, with an international upbringing. Andrew has a family background from the Cromwell district. A chartered accountant with a varied career principally in corporate recovery both in New Zealand and internationally.
Additionally qualified as a geologist, with a strong bias toward soil science and ecology, experience in the early 1980s in both the Coromandel Peninsula and Central North Island regions meant experiencing logging of forests (both native forests as well as pine plantations). This experience forged an interest in natural reforestation and species succession, and a desire to be involved in returning areas of New Zealand to not only pre-European but pre-Polynesian forest cover.
Fast forward to recent years, Andrew professionally has come full circle as a semi-permanent resident in the Cromwell area with ever deepening hands on green thumbs involvement in viticulture. In these more recent years Andrew has devoted increasing time to his longstanding passion for forest restoration work, mainly in Central Otago with the Mōkihi Reforestation Trust and its sister restoration groups, but also concurrently active with the Trelissick Park volunteer restoration group in Wellington.
Richard joined Mōkihi as a Trustee in May 2022. Originally from Christchurch – but a local resident since 2006. Originally qualified as an Agricultural Engineer before specialising in hydrology. Then a varied work background in water and soil research, information technology, winemaking, and publishing (primarily botanical publications).
With wife Pam, we have a lifestyle block on Northburn Station where we are currently developing a very small native revegetation area. Very focused on predator control, selecting the right plants for their location and companionship, and creating a habitat for native birds and other critters.
Richard also looks after a tiny (1 acre) vineyard and makes the wine on-site from seven different varieties.
Kirsten started coming to planting and maintenance days for Mokihi Trust as a way of learning how to grow plants in Central Otago, and then became a Trustee in 2022.
She and partner John have a background in hospital medicine in Auckland but are in the process of moving to live and work in Bannockburn, with a plan to help the conservation of the local native plants.
Gardening here is very different from Auckland so there is much to learn, but she is amazed by the resilience of the native plants to their harsh conditions, and wants to see more of them in public places, and learn how to help them get established and thrive here in Cromwell.
Her adult son, William, who is autistic, joins in and is a great help with the heavy lifting , he is often out on the Stuart ferry site picking up rubbish.
Hamish responded to our advert with the Young Wine Growers newsletter and met with Andrew to discuss Mōkihi in more detail Hamish is from Ashburton and has qualifications in native nursery propagation. He used to come up to Cromwell on holidays and has never left. He also has knowledge in soil properties and has been growing his own natives successfully. Hamish also has worked for Farmlands with experience as Senior Technical Adviser. As Hamish lives in Lowburn he has also been watering plants at 45th Parallel in his spare time – so knows this site well.