Nicola had an unexpected move from Auckland to Bream Head in 2017. With a love for the bush and trail running, Nicola signed up as trapper in the Reserve shortly after, and has been volunteering for the Trust for over four years. With a law degree, extensive dispute resolution and litigation experience and a passion for the Trust’s work, Nicola wanted to donate her time and skills to organisations that aim to provide better outcomes for the environment and Northland’s communities. Taking a step back from litigation, Nicola now works as a corporate planner and legal advisor for the Northland Regional Council, and also serves as a trustee for the Northland Community Foundation. Nicola enjoys spending her weekends at the beach with her children and coaching nippers at the Whangarei Heads Surf Lifesaving Club.
Bill is a retired chartered accountant, having practised in Whangarei for 30 years. He became involved with the Trust initially participating in a planting day in 2011 and subsequently taking responsibility for the finances later that year, becoming a trustee in 2012. These responsibilities entail the preparation of monthly and annual financial statements, GST returns, liaison with auditors and funding providers, preparation of annual budgets and payment of accounts. From his Urquhart Bay bach he looks out at Mount Lion and enjoys making the most of what the Reserve has to offer.
Geoff Pike is a founding member of the organisation and an enthusiastic volunteer who lives locally and believes strongly in the value of the environment.
Lil says: I have enjoyed visiting Whangarei Heads since my teenage years and from the year 2000 I have been lucky enough to call it home. My children grew up enjoying this special place and have all maintained a strong connection, coming home to put down roots and raise their families here; it makes me immensely proud to think they too appreciate and value this special place, and are supporting local initiatives to conserve this taonga. I am keen to support the Trust in their work to protect, enhance and enrich our natural resource – I am in awe of the incredible work the trust has done over the years. I have had a long career in education, and was privileged to be principal at Whangarei Heads School for 9 rewarding years. I believe it is very important that we connect with our young people to help them appreciate the significance of the conservation areas here at Whangarei Heads. Growing this awareness will ensure areas such as this will continue to be valued by future generations. There is huge potential to collaborate with schools and tertiary education facilities with mutual benefits, and I hope to enhance relationships with all stakeholders to maximize these opportunities. I currently chair the Education Committee for the Trust.
Roger says: I was born and raised in the county of Kent (The Garden of England) and developed an early passion for nature and the environment. An avid “twitcher” (bird watcher) from early days influenced by my father, a teacher and naturalist. I trained in medicine in London (UK) and have been fortunate to have lived and worked in a number of countries with my wife Ruth and travelled extensively, including a nearly two year sailing voyage from the East Coast of the USA to the West Coast of the USA via the Panama canal and a wide circumnavigation of the Pacific including Alaska. We finally “dropped anchor” in Northland after a few years in Australia including a memorable year working for Aboriginal communities in the Kimberly region of NW Australia. We arrived in Parua Bay in 1983 by which time Ruth sensibly refused another move as we had three small children and needed to put some roots down. I have worked as a specialist Paediatrician and Ruth as an Ultrasonographer. We have four adult children and eight grandchildren, all living in NZ and keeping us busy since retirement in March of this year (2018). We both feel very strongly that the unique flora and fauna of this beautiful, but much damaged land, must not only be preserved, but restored, Sir Paul Callaghan’s “Apollo Programme”. Many would say an aspirational goal only, but I would say achievable judging by what this trust and other communities around the country are achieving. As a new trustee, I am in awe of what BHCT has achieved to this point. As a recent European immigrant, I am cognisant of the need to walk alongside Mana Whenua in all our efforts to reach this common goal. Should we succeed, I believe that the impact on our physical, mental and spiritual health as a nation could be immense.
Annelies and her husband sailed from Holland to New Zealand entering Whangarei Harbour in 2000. They moved on land in 2007 and settled in Taurikura, looking out on Bream Head Reserve and the water. Annelies has a background in logistics and project management. Having enjoyed so many beautiful places on her travels, she is keen to grow awareness of this beautiful taonga in our midst, to the wider community.
Tēnā koutou, my name is Steph Versteeg. I moved to Whangārei Heads with my partner Tom and our two kids at the start of 2022. We've felt really welcomed into the community and feel privileged to bring our kids up in this beautiful environment. With a love of the bush, I got first involved with the Reserve doing a trapline that controls the rat population in an area inhabited by Placostylus snails. I now also bring my background in environmental policy and programmes into a voluntary role with the Trust.
Jenny is originally from Canada and moved to NZ with her Kiwi husband in 2011. She is a keen volunteer and loves the NZ bush. While in Canada, Jenny worked as a fundraiser and was actively involved in managing a program consisting of a large group of volunteers. Jenny is also the Volunteer and Fundraising Co-ordinator.
Kia ora, my name is Tom.
I was born and raised on the Coromandel Peninsula, where I developed a keen interest in conservation and got stuck into a variety of community projects from a young age. I spent five years studying at the University of Otago, completing a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Ecology and a Master of Wildlife Management. Through tertiary study, I gained skills in handling, marking, observing, and surveying a range of wild animals. With this knowledge, I completed my postgraduate research on Mana Island off the Kapiti coast, where I focussed on an island translocation of green geckos.
After publishing my research, I moved to Northland and started work at the Department of Conservation in the Kauri Coast office, with a goal of strengthening my skills in pest control. My main role was project lead for Trounson Kauri Park and Kaipara North Head, where I gained extensive experience in species monitoring, pest control, kauri dieback mitigation, as well as operation planning, reporting, and analysis. As part of the wider DOC team, I was involved in animal handling, community engagement, weed control, and responding to marine mammal strandings. I recently moved to Whangārei Heads and am excited to be a part of the important mahi carried out by the Bream Head/Te Whara Conservation Trust.
Outside of work, I enjoy fishing, surfing, and spending quality time with friends and family. Growing up on the Coromandel, the habitats and coastline feel very familiar. I am looking forward to exploring the local area and preserving the inhabiting biodiversity for future generations, including my young son who I hope will learn the importance of conservation through active involvement in our new backyard.
Kia ora, My name is Tom Grinsted. I've recently moved to Whangārei from Wellington with my partner and our two young boys. Searching for a lifestyle change, a warmer climate, less earthquakes and (for me) less competition when running up steep hills for KOM's (Yeah it's a super niche activity involving timing yourself with a running App) are some of the reasons we made the move north.Eager to get involved in the local community I started out as a volunteer on Y-Line with BHCT treasurer Bill M. showing me the ropes (Literally).Before I knew it I was working a couple of days a week for BHCT. Some of the team have described me as a "lanky, long legged, hairy faced Dad"... this is actually pretty accurate. Whilst most recently I have been a proud stay at home dad, my background career wise is in graphic design and web development having worked for a Wellington company for 10yrs producing websites for clients such as Forest and Bird! I have a love for the outdoors and enjoy tramping, rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing... you get the idea. A move into conservation was the obvious next step.So far I'm really enjoying the challenging terrain and beautiful scenery of Bream Head as well as learning more about biodiversity restoration and the nuances of trapping from the fantastic team of rangers and volunteers.See you round!
Kees grew up in rural Te Kōpuru, and the nearby Kai Iwi lakes, Waipoua forest and Ripiro beach were his backyard.
In 2020 he moved to Wellington to pursue a degree in Creative Media Production and he produced a short documentary on a group of high liners based in Queenstown. He returned in 2022 to Northland and turned his focus to restoring ecological habitats. For the past two years he has been working extensively on predator control in the Waipoua, Mataraua and Waima forest ranges. He learned how to establish trap lines and to create bait station grids. Beside maintaining existing traplines and tracks he also gained some knowledge about weed control.
Kees McCahon joined our team of rangers at the end of 2023. Kees' role is tied to the launch of our three year threatened species protection project funded by the Department of Conservation. It is the “Ecological Restoration of Bream Head Scenic Reserve - Next Level!”
Kees is responsible for the installing and servicing of 45 new mustelid traps in the Ocean Beach Recreational Reserve area which will extend our Load the Road and buffer networks to boost protection of the Bream Head Scenic Reserve.