RFAs June 2022

Regional Field Advisors

Our regional field advisors are located across New Zealand. They investigate and negotiate new public outdoor access opportunities and help retain existing public access. They also explore and help resolve public access disputes. They welcome opportunities to meet local people and organisations and to speak about their work. 

  • John Gardiner — Northland | Te Hiku-o-te-Ika
  • Dot Dalziell - Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau
  • Felicity Brough — Waikato and Taupō | Waikato me Taupō
  • Lauren Schick — Hauraki, Thames Coromandel and Bay of Plenty | Hauraki, Te Tara-o-te-Ika-a-Māui me Te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi
  • Kevin Ross - Manawatū, Whanganui and Taranaki | Manawatū, Whanganui me Taranaki
  • Vacant Position — Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay | Tūranga-Nui-a-Kiwa, Te Matau-a-Māui. For further enquiries, please email info@herengaanuku.govt.nz
  • David Barnes — Wellington and Wairarapa | Te Whanganui-a-Tara me Wairarapa
  • Penny Wardle — Top of the South and Kaikōura | Te Tau Ihu me Kaikōura
  • Inger Perkins — West Coast | Te Tai Poutini
  • Geoff Holgate — Canterbury | Waitaha
  • Amie Pont - Otago, Waitaki and the Catlins | Ōtākou, Waitaki me ngā Catlins
  • Vacant Position — Queenstown Lakes and Southland | Tāhuna me Te Taurapa o Te Waka. For further enquiries, please email info@herengaanuku.govt.nz
  • Chris Charles — Based within Auckland Council as programme manager securing better public access to walking, cycling and horse riding in communities between Pūhoi and Mangawhai.

John Gardiner

Northland | Te Hiku-o-te-Ika

Dip. Parks and Recreation

Chris CharlesJohn was raised on a farm in South Canterbury before commencing his 40-plus year career with the Department of Lands and Survey and then the Department of Conservation. His earlier years were spent as a ranger in several national parks, a period at DOC head Office, and managing two farm parks before moving to Northland in 1978. He recently retired as the DOC Whangarei Area Manager. John has extensive experience working with land management legislation and negotiating with landowners to establish walkways, access easements and protection covenants over private land. He has worked closely with Northland’s recreation groups, landowners, communities, local authorities and Iwi on various projects and issues.


09 436 0966 | 027 242 2181

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Dot Dalziell

Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau

Dot DalziellDot has had a scenic career, taking in bus driving, Anthropology study and early childhood education in Wellington and Dunedin, Māori language immersion in Kirikiriroa, museum collection management in Napier and Auckland, walking and cycling advocacy in Waitākere, and, recently, community environmental partnerships and strategy at Auckland Council. Her core interest is in sustainable development at local and regional scales. She has seen first-hand the positive impacts of public access on community connectivity, resilience and environmental stewardship in West Auckland. Dot is fascinated by landscape trails and cultural heritage, from seasonal migrations to heroic journeys. Coupled with her passion for cartography and digital mapping and her love of walking and cycle journeys, being an RFA is an ideal focus for Dot’s energy, enthusiasm and interests.


021 379 132

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Felicity Brough

Waikato and Taupō | Waikato me Taupō

MSc (Management Science), Manchester (UK)

Farming is an integral part of Felicity’s life. She grew up on a coastal Wairarapa farm and ran a sheep and beef farm in the King Country with her husband, Mark. She is also involved in a wide range of community organisations. Off-farm, she has worked for a range of corporates and not-for-profit organisations in various roles, including rural banking. Felicity enjoys tramping, mountain biking and gardening. Many of her family members are hunters and anglers with a keen interest in access to the outdoors.


027 381 3430

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Lauren Schick

Hauraki, Thames Coromandel and Bay of Plenty | Hauraki, Te Tara-o-te-ika-a-Māui me Te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi

MSc, BSc, Cert Env Management

Lauren SchickLauren grew up on a dairy farm in south Waikato. She has lived in the Bay of Plenty for over 13 years and often spends time in the Coromandel Peninsula visiting family.

In her spare time, you’ll find Lauren exploring new places in the outdoors. She’s always planning the next family trip with her husband and three children, whether tramping, biking, or to the beach. Her previous professional experience is in environmental science and environmental and resource management, including for regional councils.


020 4113 3414

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Kevin Ross

Manawatū, Whanganui and Taranaki | Manawatū, Whanganui me Taranaki

Kevin RossKevin has an extensive background in local government, spanning over 30 years with the Whanganui District Council. Initially employed as a regional planner, he progressed through the organisation, ultimately serving as the chief executive for 7 years before retiring at the end of 2015. He has had considerable experience dealing with most community sectors in his various roles within the Council. In later years, he has focused on developing genuine and committed partnerships with local iwi. Kevin currently chairs the Tararua District Council Audit and Risk Committee.

He is passionate about enjoying and exploring the outdoors, being a keen tramper/walker, and a local tramping club member. He is also a member of the Whanganui Bushy Park Sanctuary Board, the NZ Artificial Limb Center Board and a member of the 2017 World Masters Games Company that brought 25,000 athletes to Auckland, participating in some 24 sports.

In his spare time, he continues to pursue several sporting opportunities, focusing mainly on badminton, a sport in which he represented New Zealand a number of decades ago.


021 246 6306

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Bronwen Thompson

Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay | Tūranga-Nui-a-Kiwa, Te Matau-a-Māui

Dip. Parks and Recreation Management

Bronwen ThompsonBronwen joined us in August 2022. She’s a keen tramper, mountain biker, horse rider and backcountry skier. In her work, she’s an energetic multitasker with a focus on people.

Bronwen has become very familiar with the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne districts and their farming communities while working as an auditor; her partner is a farmer too. She worked in the Chatham Islands as Pitt Island’s only ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) for three years, living there for a total of seven years. One highlight of her work on the island was establishing a charitable trust, writing the trust deed with the Pitt Islanders to enable them to manage a large piece of DOC-owned land.


027 410 5301

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David Barnes

Wellington and Wairarapa | Te Whanganui-a-Tara me Wairarapa

David BarnesDavid has been a tramper since his teenage years. In the 1980s, when his tramping club successfully fought to have the Silver Peaks range, north of Dunedin, become a scenic reserve rather than an exotic forest, he realised that speaking up can make a difference. He’s been a passionate outdoor recreation and conservation advocate since then. This led to a long stint on the executive of Federated Mountain Clubs, as well as membership of the Otago Conservation Board, New Zealand Conservation Authority and New Zealand Geographic Board.

A few years ago, he confounded people who thought he was permanently rooted in Otago by moving to Lower Hutt. He’d already started exploring the Tararua and Remutaka Forest Parks before moving north, and now spends as much time as possible extending his knowledge of them, our Regional Parks and other outdoor access opportunities.


021 143 7281

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Penny Wardle

Top of the South and Kaikōura | Te Tau Ihu me Kaikōura

Penny WardlePenny is a journalist and communications consultant based in Marlborough for over 30 years. She especially enjoys telling the stories of people who look after the environment while making a living from the land and sea. Highlights have included covering resource management hearings, helping judge farming and forestry sections of the Marlborough Environment Awards, communicating biodiversity and biosecurity messages for Environment Canterbury and researching stories for TV ONE rural business programme Rural Delivery.

She enjoys the outdoors and has walked about two-thirds of the Te Araroa Trail in the South Island and the Northland section from Cape Reinga to Mangawhai.


03 577 8863 | 027 205 2339

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Inger Perkins

West Coast | Te Tai Poutini

BSc (Jt Hons, Geography/Geology), Dip (Rec Management)

Inger PerkinsInger has always been captivated by the landscape and great outdoors of New Zealand and left a career in recreation and golf management in the UK to explore most corners of NZ and to volunteer with DOC in three areas in 2003. This led to an offer of employment, and she has worked for DOC on the West Coast for 11 years. Her role encompassed permissions, consents, and community relations, including advocacy, awareness and occasional access issues. Inger is also manager of the West Coast Penguin Trust, a community conservation trust working to conserve penguins, seabirds and the coastal environment in this region.

Through both roles, she has worked with the various Councils, iwi, landowners, managers and developers to advocate for and negotiate conservation outcomes across the Coast. Inger loves to be outdoors, whether gardening, walking, cycling or kayaking. She’s also a keen landscape and nature photographer.


03 755 8600 | 027 370 1876

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Geoff Holgate

Canterbury | Waitaha

B.Ag.Sci, M.Ag.Sci (Ecology)

Geoff HolgateGeoff grew up on a sheep and beef farm in South Otago. After completing his study at Lincoln, he joined the Department of Lands and Survey to work in the South Island high country.

Currently Principal of his advisory partnership (dealing primarily with the management of natural resources), Geoff’s extensive career has been principally associated with land and resource management in the South Island high country. Geoff enjoys tramping and cycling with his wife, Mary-Ann.


021 190 1984

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Amie Pont

Otago, Waitaki and the Catlins | Ōtākou, Waitaki me ngā Catlins

Amie PontAmie moved to rural Maniototo after gaining a degree in Marketing Management and Design at Otago and travelling the world for two years. Living in a sparse geographical area with a population of just 1200, she found her focus moving towards community development, communications and promotions. Amie facilitates the local business group, is Chair of the local arts council and editor of the local paper Positively Maniototo. She especially enjoys sharing the positive stories of rural life and how unique the area is.

Over the years, she has walked the Routeburn, Hollyford, Copland Track to Welcome Flat hut (twice), Rees Dart and parts of the Silverpeaks tracks and is looking forward to sharing these and many others with her children.


027 264 3766

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Vacant Position

Queenstown Lakes and Southland | Tāhuna me Te Taurapa o Te Waka

For further enquiries, please email info@herengaanuku.govt.nz

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Chris Charles

Chris CharlesBased within Auckland Council as programme manager, securing better public access to walking, cycling and horse riding in communities between Pūhoi and Pākiri.

Chris formerly spent six years with the Department of Conservation (DOC), managing community and inter-government partnerships.

He now works alongside iwi, the Rodney Local Board, Matakana Coast Trail Trust, DOC and community groups to create walkway and cycleway connections between communities in the region.

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