Meet the team
Whaiao is made up of seven working groups, each with co-chairs. All co-chairs are community leaders in their respective fields.
Stepping from teaching in a primary classroom into the role of Director of Education Support Services at the Dunedin College of Education in 2021, Davina feels in tune with the current challenges facing our schools, kura and communities. Prior to teaching, her career began in conservation science. Since then she has spent 25 years committed to enhancing intrinsic motivation, engagement and achievement through authentic learning contexts in and outside the classroom by teaching science and sustainability education. First as a nature guide for ecotourism and tertiary study tours, a DOC ranger and learning experiences outside the classroom educator in NZ, UK and USA. She has a practical background in hands-on, flax-roots education for sustainability.
As a project manager and facilitator with a philosophy founded in equity, she has collaborated with schools, universities, NGOs, iwi and government agencies to initiate and develop many initiatives such as the cross-government Mātauranga Whakauka Taiao: Environmental Education for Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan; Science Wānanga at University of Otago; education service at Orokonui Ecosanctuary; Enviroschools in Otago and many others.
Davina lives on Otago Peninsula with her partner and their two teenagers and loves kayaking, gardening and getting into the mountains.
Monique is co-founder of Revology focusing on development and design of natural fibre composites and co-founded Wao, a registered charitable trust set up to inspire, educate and enable communities to accelerate towards a regenerative future using the SDG as a framework. Since 2001, she has been involved in employment and human rights law and policy at the international level and is now looking to apply those skills at the grassroots level and promote partnership and collaboration.
Imogen is a graduate at Silver Fern Farms having graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University. Born and bred on a sheep farm in Southland, she has a huge passion for the primary industry. Embarking on her career in the red meat sector knowing the huge amount of potential growth and development it holds, she aims to support farmers on the journey of continuous improvement, realising benefits from ethically and sustainably produced food. Ultimately, striving for New Zealand agriculture to continue to be world leading where the land, water and communities are benefited.
Madison is a Master of Arts Candidate in the School of Geography, University of Otago. Her research focuses on the social science of regenerative agriculture in New Zealand. Madison is a systems thinker and she sees the challenge of environmental problems as an opportunity to think differently and creatively about the world around us. Madison was also selected as a participant of the inaugural Winds of Change Programme 2020/21 which brought together postgraduate students from Chile and New Zealand to promote a bilateral and interdisciplinary approach to climate leadership.
Sustainable Towns and Cities
A J Mason
Pure geek, AJ has represented NZ in physics and math and, after doing the uni thing (astrophysics – inventing warp drive a persistent career goal), left NZ to work with the White House on sustainable development. His inside the beltway circuit was predictably wonky – accreting expertise at the intersections of sci/tech and government – followed by an eclectically disorganised (albeit charming) body of work out of US, NZ, and Europe across private, public, and NGO sectors.
A heptagramatic peg without a matching hole, AJ tells his mum he’s a technology strategist – figuring that more or less covers it – with a side of international science. For approximately 7 minutes in 2019, he was a Queenstown Lakes District Councillor, till the Fates intervened and a coin toss sent him back to his basement to play with Lego, where he happily resides to this day.
Megan is a community connector and campaigner. She excels at being involved with multiple projects and weaving the threads together to make a difference. Otago born and bred she has been involved with many projects both locally and nationally. These range from being the founding manager of Sustainable Wanaka, a founding trustee of Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust, a contractor to the Wanaka Community Hub and a Director of Wanaka Wine Tours and Discover Wanaka.
Megan helped initiate and previously managed the successful Wānaka Water Project for WAI Wanaka. Megan is a Sustainability Advocate for Tourism Industry Aotearoa working nationally to improve the Sustainability of the industry.