Meet the group - full biographies

by Sophie G,

Sharlene Maoate-Davis (Co-chair)

Ngāti Wehiwehi, Ngāti Huia, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngai Tahu, Taranaki, Te Ātiawa

Sharlene has been working as a Maori consultant and facilitator since 2002. Born in her tribal home of Kāpiti, Sharlene has worked across sectors in Iwi and Māori health, education and social services. She has worked in professional development as a cultural supervisor, designed and trained thousands of whānau, hapū, iwi and community practitioners.

Sharlene is also an experienced Rongoā practitioner, having managed a Rongoā service in the tribal heart of Waikanae since 2014-2016. Since 2017 she has been instrumental in delivering the Certificate in Rongoā Māori Appreciation. She co-designed and currently delivers a new Diploma in Rongoā for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. She recently co-founded an iwi Rongoā collective now offering services across the A.R.T Confederation.

As co-chair, Sharlene is committed to embedding mātauranga and tikanga-a-iwi in the approaches and practices being implemented throughout the development and implementation of the biodiversity framework. She especially looks forward to the collaborative nature of this region-wide project, and the potential to leave an indelible imprint for the generations to come.

Rawiri Smith (Co-chair & Eastern ohu representative)

Ko Maungaraki taku maunga

Ko Ruamahanga taku awa

Ko Wairarapa taku moana

Ko Kourarau taku roto

Ko Makahakaha taku manga

Ko Wairakau taku puna

Ko Parikauiti taku taniwha

Ho Hurunui-o-Rangi taku marae

Rawiri Smith is from the Wairarapa. He applied to be on the Biodiversity Collaborative Working Group because our community has valued the iwi perspective. He brings experience in collaborative processes from the Ruamahanga Whaitua. He was an iwi representative on that group and enjoyed how this perspective connected with other viewpoints.

Paul Blaschke

Dr Paul Blaschke is an independent environmental consultant and teacher. He was born in Wellington, and lives in south Wellington where he is active in several local restoration and community groups. With a background in ecological survey and research, Paul has much experience in environmental policy, planning and management in the public and private sectors. He has worked on the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and many aspects of conservation, biodiversity and sustainable land management policies, and recently been most active in applied urban ecology management. He currently teaches environmental studies at Victoria University of Wellington and has also taught environmental health to public health students.

Paul comments: "I'm excited to be working with my co-chairs Sharlene and Quentin, and all the members of the Working Group. Between us we have many years of working experience, science and mātauranga knowledge in all parts of our environment. I think we can play an important role in joining up the biodiversity effort around the whole region and integrating biodiversity thinking into all aspects of the society-wide response needed to address the urgent climate change and other environmental issues facing us”.

Zoe Studd

Zoe grew up in Ngaio, and now lives in Titahi Bay. Her passion is connecting people to the environment, and she does that daily in her work primarily with young people. She thinks Wellington is in a great position to lead a change in the way we think and act in, with and for our environment. As she puts it, "We have a lot of challenges and opportunities ahead. However – it is not a job for the youth of today to sort out the problems we have created and inherited. It’s ours." Her hope is this group will take some big steps forwards with this work.

Zoe’s work and studies have always been connected to the marine environment - firstly as a dive instructor in Kaikoura and Samoa, and through her studies in marine environmental science in Australia. This led to work with the Ministry for the Environment on Oceans Policy and Climate Change, and then with Victoria Government on a large scale marine mapping project. She took a career side path into education in 2010 and worked briefly as a classroom teacher - but quickly moved into outdoor environmental education, and for the better part of the past 6 years has managed and delivered marine and freshwater education programmes, restoration support and citizen science endeavours.

She is now the director of the Mountains to Sea Wellington Trust. The team work across the Greater Wellington region with schools, community groups and many other partner organisations to help inspire kaitiakitanga for our rivers, harbours and coasts.

Sharli-Jo Solomon (Western ohu representative)

Sharli-Jo (Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira) is the Western ohu representative on the working group. She is animated when she speaks of her life growing up in a playground from Kaitoki to Reikorangi.

Her lifelong passion is for the environment, which is evident in the range of activities, events and committees she has been, and is, part of. She either has been, or is, a member of the Whitireia Park Board, Conservation Volunteers, Porirua Harbour and Catchment Joint Committee, Keep Porirua Beautiful, Takapuwahia Village Planning Committee and Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua. In 2015, Sharli-Jo was acknowledged by Porirua City Council for her commitment to revitalising the harbour and natural environment.

“The relationship our whānau have with the land and sea helped shape the people we are today and provided the basis of our commitment to the environment. I am pleased to have the opportunity to represent our iwi,” Sharli-Jo says.

Jenny Ngarimu (Central ohu representative)

Ko Rangituhi me Whitireia oku Maunga

Raukawakawa te moana

Ko Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa me Ngati Raukawa oku Iwi

Ko Tainui te waka

Jenny lives within her whanau and hapu in Hongoeka Bay, Plimmerton. She and her whanau have grown up learning about their environment; they have lived off the sea and the land and were taught from an early age the importance of the health of their moana, awa and whenua.

She has had a varied working life, with a background in finance as well as social services from junior to senior management positions. She has owned her own business, and worked within her whanau, hapu and Iwi.

Currently she is working with the local council to effect better outcomes for our people in terms of Maori land ownership, ensuring that they are able to access services that are the “norm” for other ratepayers, and building relationships that seek to enhance our cultural values and beliefs.

Jenny see the biodiversity space as a priority for our future generations, that they will also be able to enjoy an enriched environment without pollution.

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa.

Daniela Biaggio

Daniela Biaggio is originally from Argentina. She migrated to Wellington five years ago and lives in Ngaio with her partner and daughter, and is expecting the newest addition to her family. She began her career captivated by the behaviours of animals, and after many years of working in the environmental field, she is now fascinated by human behaviour and how it relates to nature. Her current role as Manager for Urban Ecology at Wellington City Council allows her to continue this interest.

She knows life is better when we are surrounded by nature and wants to ensure Wellington is a region where we can all benefit from that. She joined this collaborative working group because she is confident we can achieve great outcomes to our biodiversity challenges through collective impact. She works on weaving professional efforts, empowered community action, research, and evaluation to achieve a shared vision. She is passionate about local government improving decision making for the environment and accessing knowledge for better management.

Sam Ludden

Sam is a professional artist with 20 years’ experience in ceramic sculpture and pottery. He works from his home studio, Dirty Fingers Pottery, in Masterton.

He trained in ceramics and fine arts in Wanganui under the tuition of Ross Mitchel-Anion. He then travelled widely and worked as a potter in places such as the Czech Republic and Provence France, where he had a studio in Biot (close to those of people like Matisse, Picasso and Léger).

The craft of kaitiakitanga guides his work and actions with his interest in his Wairarapa birthplace, its culture, its landscapes, its threatened flora and fauna, influencing his style. He is passionate about waterways and what lives in them, from the mountains to the sea. His strength is communication of complex ideas through the language of art.

Andy McKay

Andy was born in West Auckland, but grew up in New Plymouth. He currently lives in Paekākāriki.

He has been involved in community conservation projects for the past 15 years. He is currently the convener for Ngā Uruora - Kāpiti Project, and is on the governance board for the Kāpiti Coast Biodiversity Project.

He joined the working group as he is interested in contributing to a framework that leads to better support for community conservation groups, and opportunities to share knowledge and resources between the various groups.

Steve Bielby

Steve is a Community Ranger with DOC’s Kāpiti Wellington District, based at Kenepuru. His work is mostly Kāpiti based, and includes Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai (mountains to sea) restoration and Jobs for Nature projects. Steve represents DOC as a partner in Mauri Tūhono, including its role in Te Mana o te Taiao, the National Biodiversity Strategy.

Ali Caddy

"It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be working with this group as the Greater Wellington Regional Council representative."

Ali believes in the kaupapa that has brought us together and brings a genuine commitment to collaborative process and learning.

Ali was born and raised in Te Whanagnui-a-Tara (Wellington) and returned here in her late twenties after spending almost ten years exploring Te Waipounamu (the South Island). Her feeling of connection here is strong, both to the harbour’s edge where she lived as a child and the regenerating bushy hills where she now lives in the city with my partner and young kids.

Since studying environmental science and environmental management, Ali has been working in GWRC’s Biodiversity department for around seven years. She is continually inspired by the people, ecosystems and landscapes of Te Upoko-o-te-ika-a-Māui, our wonderful region.

Te Raukura Solomon

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The Collaborative Working Group has now been formed

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