Hon Eugenie Sage, opening sessions on Day 1—Monday, 25 November
Hon Eugenie Sage is the Minister for Conservation, Minister for Land Information New Zealand and Associate Minister for the Environment.
She has been a Green MP since 2011. Before that she was an elected Environment Canterbury regional councillor.
For much of her adult life she has worked to better protect Aotearoa/New Zealand’s natural landscapes and seascapes, and the indigenous plants and wildlife that call them home, including 13 years with the conservation organisation, Forest and Bird.
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, opening sessions on Day 2—Tuesday, 26 November
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt is from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Te Atiawa, as well as Clans Mackintosh and Gunn. She is an indigenous environmental sociologist and is currently the Kaihautū Chief Māori Advisor to the Ministry for the Environment, the Director Māori of NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and CEO of Te Tira Whakamātaki.
She is a specialist in traditional knowledge issues as they related specifically to biosecurity, and sustainable natural resource management. Her work has covered research in stakeholder values, attitudes and behaviours, social acceptability of management practices and risk communicaiton and the wider human dimensions of environmental health.
She currently serves on a number of national advisory bodies including the PMCSA’s Plastics Panel, the Myrtle Rust Governance Group, Rauika Mangai and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga climate change programme.
She was previously the Māori Research & Development Manager Kaiārahi at the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University, Ararau Coordinator for Ngāi Tahu tribal entity Te Tapuae o Rehua, and Chair of Te Waipounamu District Māori Council.
Kevin Thiele, opening sessions on Day 3—Thursday, 28 November
Kevin Thiele is the founding Director of Taxonomy Australia, an organisation established to advocate and implement in Australia the recommendations of Discovering biodiversity: A decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand 2018–2027. Put simply, Taxonomy Australia has a mission to reposition taxonomy and systematics as an important, impactful and ‘cool’ science, and to bring about a substantial reinvestment in the discipline in Australia and New Zealand. Kevin Thiele has a long career as a botanist with a strong interest in both core taxonomic research and in informatics, the art and science of making taxonomic knowledge more readily available to the public. He was Head of the Western Australian Herbarium for a decade before leading the project to develop the decadal plan. He has an unashamed enthusiasm for taxonomy, biosystematics, and all the creatures that taxonomists and biosystematists study and seek to understand.