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Co-founders & Trustees


Te Tira Whakamātaki was co-founded by three key individuals and is governed by our Trustees and Directors.

Co-founders and Trustees


Melanie Mark-Shadbolt

Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Tūwharetoa, Whakatohea, Te Ātiawa, MacIntosh, Gunn

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Tūwharetoa, Whakatohea, Te Ātiawa, MacIntosh, Gunn), is an indigenous environmental advocate, dedicated to working with organisations who are committed to meeting their Treaty responsibilities and addressing indigenous rights and racial equity. Currently, Melanie holds the position of CEO at Te Tira Whakamātaki, a Māori environmental not-for-profit and home of the Māori biosecurity network, and Kaihautū Ngātahi Director Māori of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. Expertise Melanie specialises in understanding and applying mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to biosecurity, biodiversity and climate change issues. She has a specific interest in decolonising ideologies of conservation and restoration in order to address injustices and harm caused to indigenous peoples and our planet. Her work has covered research in stakeholder values, attitudes, and behaviours; social acceptability of environmental management practices and risk communication; the wider human dimensions of environmental health; indigenous solutions to biosecurity issues; and community disaster responses and preparedness. Awards Previously, Melanie was the Deputy Secretary Māori Rights & Interests at the Ministry for the Environment where, under her leadership, the Ministry for the Environment won the 2021 Diversity Works - Mātauranga Māori Award, and was a finalist in the Māori Crown Relationships section of the Governments Spirit of Service Awards in 2021 Melanie was named the winner of the Public Policy category award at the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in 2021, and was a finalist in the Innovation, Science & Health category at the 2019 Westpac Women of Influence Awards. Alongside her Te Tira Whakamātaki team she has won a number of biosecurity awards including the inaugural Dave Galloway Innovation Award from the NZ Biosecurity Institute in 2016, the inaugural Māori Biosecurity Award from the Ministry of Primary Industries in 2017, and Science Excellence Awards at the NZ Biosecurity Awards in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Governance Service Melanie currently serves as the Chair of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge and B3 Better Border Biosecurity’s Collaboration Council. She is a member on the boards and advisory groups of: Project Crimson Trees That Count, Tāpui Aotearoa, the Kauri Dieback & Myrtle Rust Knowledge Advisory Group, Wallaby Eradication Governance Group, Fit for a Better World Science Accelerator Bundle, NZ Biosecurity System Working Group, NZ Biosecurity System Valuation Project Kāhui, and the Predator Free 2050 Kaitiakitanga and Knowledge Innovation Working Groups. She also sits on a number of research advisory groups including as Chair of the Governments Māori Extreme Weather Science Response Panel and a member of the Governments Extreme Weather Science Response Panel. Melanie previously served on a number of other boards and advisory groups including; the Prime Ministers Chief Science Advisors Plastics Panel; the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinets Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Masjidain academic outreach group; the 2020 & 2018 International Indigenous Research Conference organising committees; and a number of Biosecurity 2025 working groups and incursion governance/science groups.


Dr Amanda Black

Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, Whānau-ā-Apanui

Amanda completed her BSc (Geology) and MSc (Environmental Science) at the University of Otago, before working for the Otago Regional Council and CRL Energy. She returned to academia with an ESR doctoral scholarship to study soil chemistry at Lincoln University, and was awarded an MSI Postdoctoral Fellowship (TTP scheme) before being employed in 2013 as a lecturer within the Bio-Protection Research Centre. Amanda’s research expertise is in environmental soil and water chemistry, focusing on major nutrient cycling, including the incorporation of molecular techniques to explore the relationship between functional gene expression and soil product activity. More recent research projects have included ecosystem resilience in soils from managed and natural ecosystems, with a particular focus on investigating disease resistant traits (i.e. evidence of PTA resistance in kauri forests). Amanda’s work has been acknowledged widely, including receiving the Asure Quality Emerging Leader Award in 2018 as well as the Te Tupu-ā-Rangi Award for Health and Science at the Matariki Awards in 2019.


Dr Nick Waipara


Nick completed his PhD on forage and pastoral plant pathology at Ruakura Research Centre before joining HortResearch to work on berryfruit diseases, biological control of invasive weeds and plant pathogens, and the infamous toxic black mould Stachybotrys chartarum that featured in Auckland’s leaky buildings crisis. He joined Manaaki Whenua where he worked with the late Ross Beever on plant diseases affecting native taonga plants, leading to his current work on Phytophthora agathidicida, or kauri dieback disease. Dr Nick Waipara was one of the original 3 co-founders of Te Tira Whakamātaki, which came about as a result of the need to bring national focus on the management of Aotearoa’s taonga species. He currently works with Auckland Regional Council and Manaaki Whenua Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, providing specific scientific advice on kauri dieback, managing projects in regional kauri parklands, including the Waitākere Ranges. Nick is passionate about bringing a more collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to the sector, with the aim of enhancing and restoring land and freshwater ecosystems. He aims to do this by deepening the appreciation of native species and delivering a step change in research innovation, world-leading technologies and community and sector action.



Kiri Hurunui

Project and Contract Co-ordinator | Kairuruku Pūtere Me Ngā Kirimana

Kiri is of Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent. Kiri is currently Kairuruku Pūtere me ngā Kirimana (Project and Contract Coordinator) for Te Tira Whakamātaki Ltd. She previously held a similar role as Logistics Manager to the Māori Bio Protection Research team based at Lincoln University, and project managed the many contracts and accounts, built relationships with our Māori communities and stakeholders inclusive of Māori Champions, Māori Research and Teaching Committee and the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Kāhui Māori. Prior to taking the position at Te Tira Whakamātaki, Kiri was a Whānau Kaimahi working in the sector of family violence at He Waka Tapu, a Māori NGO delivering a variety of services to strengthen and support the needs and issues our whānau face and walk beside them in their journey.


Shaun Neeley

Ngāi Tahu

Shaun (Ngāi Tahu) grew up on a dairy farm in the Northland region of Aotearoa New Zealand and has spent most of his working life involved with the agricultural industry in the South Island. From self-employment through to managing large scale corporate agribusinesses, Shaun has been involved in business leadership for the past 15 years. In his current role he has led the largest conversion of dairy farmland to organic certification in New Zealand. Shaun is committed to agricultural practices that promote environmental restoration and protection, and is dedicated to developing the skills of his people. Prior to taking on the position of GM with Aquila Sustainable Farming Shaun was CEO of Fortuna Group, a large Southland based corporate dairy farming business. In 2012 Shaun pursued an Executive MBA with Massey University where he developed strengths and interests in finance, economics, organisational behaviour and strategy. Over the past four years Shaun has been developing his governance experience and has held board positions on a number of agribusinesses and not for profits. Shaun is a member of the Institute of Directors and is passionate about the importance of effective governance.


Alby Marsh

Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine and Te Rarawa

Alby Marsh (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine and Te Rarawa) has over 20 years’ experience in a science organisation more recently in the role of Stakeholder Relationship Manager - Māori at Plant and Food Research. Alby’s current role is a Porangahau – Māori specialising in Kaupapa Māori driven research. He has led projects for MPI and the BioHeritage National Science Challenge looking at the impact of Myrtle rust to Māori communities and the indigenous communities across the Pacific. Alby has been involved with the development of the Indigenous Engagement models in collaboration with researchers from Charles Darwin University, in Australia. This project was part of the Plant Biosecurity CRC receiving the collaboration award in the final year of the CRC. In 2021, Alby was appointed Māori Research Leader at B3, Better Border Biosecurity. Alby is keen to continue his work in biosecurity and working with Mana whenua groups from around the country. He understands that many of these groups are new to biosecurity however he feels that their drivers to preserve taonga they are kaitiaki of for this generation and the generations that follow is the commonality that binds the research being undertaken. Alby has held board positions were on the Public Service Association, Real World Education Ltd as well as other not for profits. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors.


Melissa Berry


Melissa works as a Tūmatakōkiri / Project Manager for the Ministry for the Environment. Melissa is enjoying her te reo Māori learning journey, whilst embracing her Ngāipuhi whakapapa.

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