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 The people 

The Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust is a non-profit trust established to support funding and understanding of seabirds and the ecosystems they inhabit throughout northern New Zealand, the Three Kings Islands and the Kermadec Islands. 



Professor John Croxall CBE, FRS

One of the world's foremost marine scientists, specialising on seabirds (notably penguins and albatrosses), John played a major role internationally (recognised by many awards) in the conservation of marine species, sites and systems, especially in relation to the Southern Ocean. He was instrumental in establishing the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and in founding the BirdLife Global Seabird Programme, which (as the BirdLife International Marine Programme) he has chaired since his "retirement".

"If New Zealand is to retain its reputation as the seabird capital of the world, then, in building the partnerships of today to preserve the marine environment for the people of tomorrow, there is no bigger nor more important challenge than securing the future of the iconic islands and the unique seabirds of northern New Zealand. Nowhere else in NZ should so many citizens and visitors be able to see the evidence that healthy marine systems depend on and are reflected in diverse and abundant seabird populations".

Wade Doak QSM - In Memoriam

It was with great sadness that we learnt of Wade’s death on 12 September 2019. A wonderful inspiration to all those wanting to explore the underwater world. Soon after the formation of the Seabird Trust, Wade agreed to be one of our patrons. While largely known for his underwater adventures, he had a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all life; especially with seabirds’ seamless linking of sea and land, and the resulting enrichment of both terrestrial and nearshore marine environments. Wade was a passionate advocate who remained active in conservation to the end of his life.


Wade wrote after a trip to the Poor Knights Islands Marine and Nature Reserves - "We were bowled over at seeing silvery snapper schooling in the great Southern Archway, on the surface alongside, but just ahead of, electric blue maomao; something special that the no-take reserve has enabled. We never saw that in the past. They were herding tiny pink euphausiid shrimps or krill up against the wall where there was no escape. Nearby in South Harbour masses of trevally had schools of shrimp under similar attack, assisted by shearwaters and gulls, which need the fish herders to obtain dinner. And the canopy of red pohutukawa on the island slopes was testimony to the cycle whereby fish and nesting seabirds provide nutrients to a lush rain forest."



Karen Baird (Chairperson)

Karen has a lengthy background in conservation, working for the NZ Wildlife Service, Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird and BirdLife International. She is currently employed as the Threatened and Migratory Species Advisor for the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).  

Te Atarangi Sayers

Te Atarangi is deeply connected to the ocean and the natural environment through an intergenerational relationship with Aotearoa - New Zealand. Te Atarangi shares whakapapa connection to ngā waka o Tainui; Te Arawa; and Matātua. He has worked for local and international NGO’s developing strategic approaches to marine issues. His focus is on projects innovating resource management solutions which integrate indigenous worldviews, science and planning.

Rob Chappell

Rob has a lengthy background in conservation species and island management , beginning his career in the NZ Wildlife Service before moving to the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park with Lands and Survey based on Kawau Island then to the Chatham Islands for a number of years setting up the Dept of Conservation and finally back to the Coromandel managing the offshore islands for DOC for some 27 years. During this later time he was also on loan to PII (Pacific Invasive Initiatives) and Birdlife Pacific. Rob is currently a member of the Waikato Conservation Board, a member of the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team (NOWRT) based in Massey University, an advisor to the Moehau Environment Group (MEG) on the Coromandel and currently on call out contracts with Waikato Regional Council and the Dept of Conservation.

Edin Whitehead 

Edin is a PHD candidate at the University of Auckland studying the physiology of fluttering and little shearwaters, and fairy prions. A passion for adventure and natural history photography has led to excellent adventures around New Zealand and the Southern Ocean in pursuit of seabirds, which she shares on her blog. She can often be found in somewhat precarious locations with a camera in hand. Edin's NNZST blogs can be found here


Kerry Lukies

Since completing her MSc degree with a study on Little Penguins Kerry became something of our 'go-to person' and led several key projects - including Restoring Resilience working with community groups on seabird restoration (with funding from Auckland Council); zooplankton sampling for a study of fish shoal dynamics and light attraction on seabirds (two contracts with DOC Conservation Services Programme; and a literature review on how sedimentation effects seabirds and shorebirds foraging in the coastal zone (also a contract for DOC). After  




The Seabird Trust's Project Coordinator

Chris Gaskin

A founding member of the Northern NZ Seabird Trust Chris has worked with seabirds in northern New Zealand for 15 years, first through observing them at sea, then through island visits and surveys including a leading role in finding the breeding site of the NZ storm-petrel. He’s fascinated by seabirds’ lives and their capabilities and enjoys telling their stories. Chris was one of the inaugural winners of the Holdaway Environment Award 2013 (Hauraki Gulf Forum) for his advocacy for seabirds and contributions to conservation and research. 

Cathy Mitchell

A key person in our core team of fieldworkers, Cathy is a retired vet who became involved in conservation work about 15 years ago. She now specialises in seabird translocations, restoration projects and providing expertise for seabird research.

Edin, Kerry and Chris

provide us with an online presence.

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Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust - NNZST 


'Lost' but not forgotten - Megan Friesen

Following her graduation , Dr Megan Friesen headed back to home in Seattle and with jobs, first with Audubon Seattle as their Conservation Manager, now teaching at St Martin's University. Megan has been a key associate and member of the NNZST 'family' - lead scientist with our work of petrel and shearwater diving behaviour around fishing vessels; lead on the Poor Knights Islands/Buller's shearwater survey 2016-2017 - and through her committed involvement with the NZ Storm Petrel project, research trips to Burgess Island and Tawharanui seabird restoration project. She remains a much-valued and colourful member of the 'team', she coordinated the planning for the Poor Knights 2016-2018 surveys for Rako Buller's shearwaters. Megan acted as an advisor/supervisor with our DOC contract investigating light attraction to seabirds and is a key member of the NZ Storm Petrel working group.    


The NNZST enjoys the support of a number of associates and advisors. 





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Te Atarangi

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