Meet our people

The WRT’s work is made possible by a network of people committed to the Trust’s vision.

Office Crew

Michael Maahs

General Manager

[email protected]

Michael has resided on Waiheke Island since 2010. Originally from Detroit Michigan USA, Michael spent a number of years in the states gaining a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and working for State Government before settling on Waiheke. While in New Zealand Michael also attended the University of Auckland and graduated with a Masters in planning practice.

Michael has specialised in not-for-profit organisations and has worked in this sector in Auckland since 2010, as the national project manager at the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand and now as the general manager at the Waiheke Resources Trust.

Michael has helped create organisations on Waiheke, serving as a founding member of the Waiheke Community Housing Trust. He has also had instumental roles in the creation of the Waiheke Collective, Island Waste Collective, and Te Korowai O Waiheke.

Michael lives with his family on the island and practices and supports sustainable initiatives on Waiheke.

Kristin Busher

Partnerships Manager

[email protected]

Originally from Waiatarua in the Waitakere Ranges Kristin moved to Waiheke in 2001. Working for various not for profit organisations on Waiheke Island since 2010 she has a deep knowledge of and connection to the community.

Previously leading WRT’s Project Little Oneroa and the Compost Collective, Kristin is now Project Lead for Love Our Wetlands and is the WRT Partnerships Manager.

As a mother of 2 young children who is passionate about the environment and her community, being active and supporting grass roots community initiatives is forefront to the work she does.

Laura Lynch

Administration and Events Coordinator

[email protected]

Originally from the land of thatched stone cottages in the Cotswolds, Laura has been on an epic adventure across the heights of Europe’s snow-capped mountains to the vast blue of the Pacific Ocean, to find her way to Waiheke back in 2017. She brings a colourful sweetshop of experiences into her work here at WRT.

As a mother to a young daughter Laura is passionate about sustainability and building a bright future for her family and the amazing community, they share it with.

Aya Oba

Communications Manager

[email protected]

Aya is originally from Takasaki, Japan – the town surrounded by four beautiful maunga. 

She came to Aotearoa in 2009 after completing BA Photography at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. 

She has previously worked at GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archives and Museum) sectors coordinating and leading projects as well as taking a role as an Auckland campaign manager for Coalition of Protection of Race Horses and Vegans of Waiheke. 

Since she moved to Waiheke in 2015, she has been involved with compost and Zero Waste projects as a volunteer. Her passions for sustainable living, commitment to the community and organisation skills led her to join team WRT.

She lives with 7 rescue animals and is a keen cyclist, gardener, home cook and activity-advocating eco-friendly and vegan in her own time.

Livné Ore

Grants and Operations Manager

[email protected]

An alumna of Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka, Livné moved to Waiheke in 2018 after travelling post-degree.

Her previous volunteering experience, interest in sustainability and eagerness to be involved with her new community led to a three month internship at WRT, after which she stayed involved through grant writing, baking at Kai Conscious Café and working alongside Kristin for the then-called Project Little Oneroa.

In February 2020, she started working full time as WRT’s new Grants and Operations Coordinator.

Kayleigh Appleton

Zero Waste Manager

[email protected]

Kayleigh grew up on the wind-blasted Orkney Isles of Scotland and followed the sun to Aotearoa in January of 2018. She has always been a child of nature and is passionate about trying to life as zero waste as possible. She views working as the Zero Waste Events Coordinator for Waiheke as primarily an educational role and a wonderful chance to vibe with people about where they are at on their waste-awareness journey. Based at the Waiheke Resources Trust on Waiheke she also works as the WasteWise Facilitator for Kai Conscious, a composter on the Compost Co. hot composting facility and as part of the Love Our Wetlands restoration team.

Nathalya Larson

Waiheke Waterways Project Coordinator

[email protected]

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Nathalya decided to spend a weekend on Waiheke and instantly fell in love with it. The short weekend trip turned into 7 years and she now calls Aotearoa home.

Growing up in São Paulo, she saw first hand the impacts pollution has on our waterways and rivers. Her father has worked for over 38 years in several water treatment projects around South America, so they would talk about the different projects he was working on and how important they were.

She loves being a part of our amazing community and working towards making it a better place for our tamariki.

James Siddle

GIS Specialist

[email protected]

Having grown up in the Manawatu, studying at Victoria University in Wellington, and then spending 10 years in London; James returned to New Zealand in 2014 and by the end of 2015 was living on Waiheke. With a professional background in GIS and spatial analysis across public and private entities in local government, natural resources and the emergency services, James decided to follow a dream and set up 10 Knots Smokehouse – a seafood smokehouse on Waiheke Island in 2019. As part of their food waste reduction strategy 10 Knots donates regularly to the Kai Conscious cafe food recovery service.

In 2022, while still owning the business, James decided to get back into GIS, ideally with a local influence, and is enjoying applying his skills to the Waiheke Resources Trust’s projects.

As a keen kayak fisherman and father of two young children, James is keen to help WRT meet its goals and positively impact the local environment.

Haley Wilson


Haley is based in the Mangawhai, Northland, where she now lives with her family after moving from Waiheke Island.

Prior to starting up her own business, My Two Cents, in 2014, Haley worked for Kiwibank for 8 years, and then in various accounts roles working with a multitude of software’s and systems. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Accountancy at Massey University.

Haley is also an award winning bookkeeper – taking out ICNZB’s Bookkeeper in a Small Practice award in 2019.

Compost Team

Mike Fogarty

Compost Co. Project Manager

[email protected]

Mike moved to Waiheke Island permanently with his partner Karen in May 2020 after 4 years of regular visits to the island. With a long-term business background with battery electric forklift company Crown Lift Trucks, and experience as the past owner of a small local business in Howick, he has a good understanding of the challenges in transitioning to sustainability.

Mike values the opportunity to work with the many community groups, local businesses and people that support The Compost reducing waste going into landfill.

David Woodhouse


Kai Conscious Team

Kathy Voyles

Kai Conscious Cafe Coordinator

[email protected]

Kathy Voyles grew up in the grasslands of the Waikato, before accidently living in Europe for 30 years, working in media departments for IGOs, & NGOs and becoming extremely passionate about food, human rights and the environment. After doing as many cooking workshops as she could fit in, amid running a small environment based grassroots NGO, and parenthood she continues to develop frugal food recipes, give cooking demos and write as much poetry as she can. Working at Kai Conscious Waiheke has allowed Kathy to learn even more about food while sharing the odd filo pie recipe as well.

Hadas Ore

Kai Rescuer

[email protected]

In 2021, Hadas celebrated 4 years of living on Waiheke Island with her partner and two daughters. She began her food journey on the island by conducting workshops on Middle Eastern home cooking. She has been a long-time volunteer at the Kai Conscious Cafe, and also does her bit happily in hosting the monthly meetings of the Crop Swap.

Hadas sees this role as important to making the island a hub for conservation, regeneration and sustainability. Becoming a food rescuer is just one way in which she is choosing to realise her lifelong commitment to food and its importance in our human lives and social relationship on this planet.

Hadas has a PhD in food anthropology, and as a migrant to New Zealand she knows from first-hand experience the ways humans can employ food to make themselves and others feel at home.

She looks forward to establishing great working relationships with as many food business on the island as possible!

Teresa Quin

Kai Rescuer

[email protected]

Kia koutou, kei roto Waiheke e noho ana, ko Teresa Quin ahau.

I’m a long-term Waihekean, a link in several generations who live and grow here. We’re all committed to a well Waiheke, supporting our environment and communities to the best of our abilities. As such, being a part of the magnificent WRT feels like coming home.

I have a strong drive to be involved in the sustainability of our assets (tangata and whenua), and food recovery, redistribution and enjoyment answers this. We are simultaneously what we eat and what we throw away, so let’s do the best we can with both.

Wetland Team

Kym Rawson

Restoration Manager

[email protected]

Kym has taken on the paid roll of Restoration Team Leader for the Waiheke Resources Trust in late 2016. Kym is an experienced and passionate local bringing a superior knowledge base to action for the restoration of key Waiheke wetlands. He has worked for 13 years under tutelage of the advisory team both professionally and voluntarily for a multitude of various projects on the island. Kym is a huge asset secured for the benefit of the wetlands and their legacy.

The ERM role is defined to provide native plant and weed knowledge, wetland and forest ecological restoration knowledge, leadership directing the team, extract and feed into database, site assessments, tool and scrub cutter experience, high work ethic, and to be passionate.

Maria Verdinelli

Assistant Restoration Manager

[email protected]

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, María arrived at Waiheke Island in 2014 on her Working Holiday Visa and quickly realised that the island was a unique paradise with a very particular and lovely community in which she wanted to settle down for a longer term.

Back in Argentina, she obtained a degree in human resources, but her desire to explore new experiences saw her try a few different jobs until she discovered the landscape gardening industry in which she finally felt a deeper connection. Maria learnt the patterns and processes of nature to live in a more sustainable way, and permaculture principles through an Auckland permaculture workshop PDC in 2019.

After some time as a Team Leader, Maria now works as Assistant Restoration Manager for the Love Our Wetlands project.

Julian Watts

Restoration Team Leader

Karla Burgin

Restoration Team Leader

Lincoln Jackson

Restoration Team Leader

Yossi Ore

Restoration Team Leader


Rita Close

Kia ora,

My name is Rita, and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Design at Victoria University of Wellington majoring in both Media Design and Animation & Visual Effects. During my summer break I will be working with WRT through a remote internship for two months.

During my internship I will be working in a graphic design capacity and helping WRT to promote their events, research, and community projects. I am very grateful for the opportunity WRT has given me to gain experience in my intended career path and do so in a community that works hard to be an inspiration for others seeking to be more sustainable and eco-conscious.

Nicki Bassing

Kia ora,

My name is Nicki (she/her) and I am from Luxembourg. I am currently doing a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences in the Netherlands and just moved to Waiheke for 6 months to do my internship here. I am passionate about nature, our place within it and especially the role we play in climate change.

Interning at WRT is giving me an amazing opportunity across the globe from home, where I can learn new things about sustainability, nature, community work and conservation. I am excited to intern at WRT to apply my theoretical knowledge in a hands-on experience and gain experience in a field that I have always dreamed of working in.

Iris Simons

Kia ora,

My name is Iris (she/her) and I am from the Netherlands. Currently I am doing an internship in New Zealand at WRT. For this internship I moved to Waiheke Island for half a year.

In the Netherlands, I study Land and Water Management with a minor in GIS. Before that, I studied forest and nature conservation for about a year.

During my time in Aotearoa I would like to experience as much of the country as I can. On Waiheke Island there is a different approach to Land and Water management compared to the Netherlands and I hope to learn a lot from this different way of looking at both Land and Water.

Taiki Yamamori

Kia ora,

I am a graduate Communication Design at AUT. I have experience in the Japanese advertising company and New Zealand design department as an internship. I have expertise in visual art, graphic design, brand identity and video editing and created the flyers, posters, logo designs and videos. I am fluent in Japanese and English.

I’m looking for ward to working with WRT; I see it as an opportunity to develop and contribute my abilities to environmental projects.

Olivia Moss


My name is Olivia and I have recently moved to Auckland from London. I have a degree in Biology, focussed on conservation and resource management and it is great to be able to support WRT who are putting all this research into action. During my internship I will be helping WRT in content creation for their social medias, to promote national and international environmental ‘days’ as well as promote the community projects WRT are running.

I am extremely proud to represent an organisation that is both promoting and undertaking a holistic approach to sustainability.

Abbey Patten

Kia ora,

My name is Abbey, and I am a Commerce and Property student at the University of Auckland. I have developed an interest in sustainability, climate change and the notion of resilient cities after my first year. Hence, I am excited to be working with WRT over summer in a remote internship. 

I will be helping WRT with marketing and communications work on social media. I hope to create engaging content on how to reduce waste and save water in Aotearoa. I am so grateful for the opportunity to develop and apply my communication skills, and learn key sustainable practices in an island setting where resources are limited. 

Berit Thomalla

Kia ora,

My name is Berit (she/her) and I was born in Germany but grew up in Sweden. In Sweden, New Zealand is known for its conservation work, so I thought it would be the perfect place to get involved. I’m about to start my final year at the University of Auckland studying Environmental Science and Biology with a module in Sustainability. While conservation was the reason behind my choice of studies, I have gained interest in many environmental issues, such as climate injustice, sustainability and overconsumption over the years.

I was immediately impressed with all the work WRT has done and is doing for both nature and the local community, and I’m very proud to be part of the team here. It will be great to get some hands-on experience in this amazing field of work through this internship.


Bronwyn Carruthers


Bronwyn Carruthers grew up in the Bay of Islands and has lived on Waiheke since 2008.

She is an environmental lawyer with an environmental science degree, specialising primarily in Resource Management Act issues but has a keen interest in enhancing indigenous biological diversity and regeneration of the marine environment. She is the convenor of the New Zealand Law Society’s Environmental Law Committee, the editor of the Resource Management Law Association’s Journal and in 2019 was a founding member of Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc.

Locally, she has been involved in the Kaitiaki of Newton Reserve neighbourhood conservation group since 2009, joined the Board of WRT in 2018 and has been actively involved in the Waiheke Collective’s Marine Project since its inception.

Nicky Elmore

Board Member

Nicky was lucky enough to have grown up in rural Aotearoa, living pretty sustainable life style. With parents as teachers, she holidayed all over this beautiful country enjoying the bush, lakes and oceans. This is what she wanted for her own children which began her journey in sharing sustainability and learning in the environment. Firstly at Meadowbank School, then with Auckland Council in the Sustainable schools team as an Enviroschools facilitator. She is passionate about empowering tamariki and rangatahi to become regenerative leaders, making a difference through their actions.

Currently living in Auckland, her family are building on Waiheke and excited to be moving to the island permanently soon, seeing Waiheke as community of people and opportunities closely aligned with their values. Nicky’s work with schools has an integral connection to Waiheke Resources Trust as an active connector in the community.

Leslie Hamilton

Board Member

Originally from the USA, Leslie moved to New Zealand so her children could grow up surrounded by natural beauty in a small country with a big heart.

After living near the Waitakere Ranges, she moved to Waiheke to enjoy the beautiful beaches, food and cultural activities. However, she discovered that the true beauty of Waiheke is the community.

As a facilitator, leadership coach and future of work catalyst, Leslie has spent her career supporting people and organisations to make small changes in their behaviour in order to create important changes in their world. She is very excited to be using those skills as a member of WRT to help the Waiheke community build a sustainable future for our island.

Bill Kinghorn

Board Member

Bill Kinghorn worked 33 years as a secondary school teacher of many subjects including Mathematics, Physics, General Science, Geography and Basic Economics.

This career included working in urban and rural schools, traditional, private and alternative schools, and almost three years working in Fiji.

A return to university study and a year working (unsuccessfully) as a yacht broker was followed by 10 years working as a secondary school counsellor.

Bill has largely retired from salaried work, however retains his registration with NZAC, and continues to do some counselling work.

Bill’s travels include visiting a number of Pacific Islands, USA, UK, Europe, Japan, China and India.

Bill’s involvement in the Waiheke Resource Trust is an expression of his interest in the raising of social awareness and assisting initiatives aimed at increasing environmental sustainability in the Waiheke Island Community.

Ivan Kitson

Board Member

Born in Eketahuna, Aotearoa, Planet Earth in 1950, Ivan’s sustainability focus is a unique blend of organic architecture and biological diversity.

After an early 1970s period at Auckland University School of Architecture, Ivan became a strong advocate for building in harmony with the natural world through organic, solar architecture.

After many years of travel, Ivan settled on Waiheke in 1983 to live a sustainable life.

As a plantsman, Ivan continues to propagate Waiheke native plants, with a focus on the restoration of biological diversity. This is supported by guest accommodation at Bioshelter, his sustainable living sculpture and home.

An original Trustee of WRT, Ivan is also a committee member of the local branch of The Forest & Bird Society.

John Stansfield

Board Member

John is a serial social entrepreneur.

A founder of the Waiheke Resources Trust, John works as the Head of Department of the Department of Social Practice, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Unitec West Auckland and has worked and traveled extensively in the Pacific Islands.

John is the co-founder and former program leader of the Graduate Diploma in not for Profit Management and has been an advisor to Government on Community Sector interests. John is also a founder of operating company, Clean Stream Ltd.

John lived on Waiheke with his family for a number of years, moving up to Northland in 2019.

Michael Tavares

Board Member

Michael Tavares originally from New South Wales comes to us via the giant wet eucalypt forests of Tasmania.

An experienced Environmental, Social and Community Campaigner, Michael brings with him years of experience in organising and advocating for change.

Active in the local Forest and Bird committee and various grassroots campaigns, Michael lives simply, and is a champion for local democracy, engagement and creative solutions.

Michael strongly believes in the Waiheke community’s ability to meet the unique and universal challenges faced by our island home, and to lead on sustainability solutions.

Beini Guo

Board Member

Beini is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with seven years of M&A experience, having spent her first two years at an investment banking firm before moving to the Corporate Finance team in PWC.

Beini brings to the treasurer role a wealth of experience having been involved in a range of mergers & acquisitions, valuation and strategic review projects. Her experience spans across different industries such as healthcare, food & beverage, information technology and tourism, including cross-border deals with the UK and China.

WRT are excited to benefit from this experience working in the corporate finance industry that taught her how to consistently deliver in high pressure environments whilst maintaining a strong attention to detail.

She fits right in with the ethos of our team with a love for the outdoors that includes camping and exploring New Zealand.