Our people

Simone Smits

Project manager

It is Simone’s role to lead the project and team towards our goal of transforming the ecological prospects of one of New Zealand’s most unique environments.

She loves the landscape, with its rare alpine, braided river, wetlands and dryland tussock ecosystems, and relishes the idea of being part of such a fantastic project, protecting unique species alongside our awesome partners.

Simone grew up close to the Mackenzie Basin and holidayed in the project area with her family, so has a strong connection to this landscape. At 17 years of age, she decided she wanted to work in braided rivers, so she “hassled” DOC scientists until they let her volunteer on the Kakī Recovery Programme. She has been working with kakī in braided river environments ever since, and completed a Bachelor degree at Lincoln University in 2004.

Simone also has a great love of horses, and can be found trekking in the district in her spare time. She says Te Manahuna Aoraki Project will be a game-changer for the Upper Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki National Park, and it is a fantastic project to be part of.

Our board

Dr Jan Wright
Chair
Devon McLean
Director
John Henry
John Henry
Rūnaka Director
Julia Mackenzie
Julia Mackenzie
Director
Mike Slater
Department of Conservation senior liaison officer
James Holborow
James Holborow
LINZ representative
Rynee de Garnham
Rynee de Garnham
Rūnaka observer
Stephen Phillipson
NZ Defence Force representative