Governance Group

Kauri Dieback Governance Group provides strategic oversight and leadership for the programme.  All programme partners are represented on the Governance Group:  Auckland Council, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, Northland Regional Council, Tangata Whenua Roopu, Te Roroa and Waikato Regional Council.


Penny Nelson

Penny is Deputy Director-General for Biosecurity NZ. Penny joined the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2018 as Deputy Director-General Policy and Trade, where she led work shaping the future of the primary sector - enhancing the sector’s sustainability and growth. 

Before joining the Ministry, Penny worked across a range of areas of government, including the environment, economic development, and social development. Prior to joining MPI, Penny was Deputy Secretary at Ministry for the Environment where she was responsible for climate change, the marine environment, environmental reporting, and the science system.

Penny has also worked within the private and science sectors including roles at DairyNZ, the Sustainable Business Council, and Landcare Research.

Penny holds a Masters of Science in Resource Management (Honours) from Lincoln University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Otago.

Mike Slater

Mike Slater is the Deputy Director-General, Operations with the New Zealand Department of Conservation.  He was formerly the Director Conservation Services North West South Island, based in Hokitika.  The Operations Group is responsible for the delivery of DOC's core field based activities.

Mike is a Forestry graduate from Canterbury University and began his career as a Forester over 35 years ago. 

Mike has worked in conservation all of his career, mostly in operational roles at a range of locations predominantly in the South Island and this has involved a range of governance and managerial roles. 

Mike is a member of the Department of Conservation Senior Leadership Team.

Phil Brown

Phil is the Biosecurity Manager at Auckland Council.  He has managed a range of biosecurity projects for over twenty years.  Phil has worked for DOC, regional councils and community restoration groups in that time. 

At Auckland Council, Phil leads a team working hard to protect the environment from pest plants, pest animals and pathogens including kauri dieback.  Auckland Council has a large kauri dieback programme, with significant work programmes across the Biosecurity team as well as through the parks departments.

Taoho Patuawa

Taoho Patuawa is the Science Advisor for Te Roroa iwi in Waipoua forest. He was formally a fisheries scientist with Te Kuwaha o Taihoro Nukurangi (NIWA Maori Environmental Research Team).

Taoho is responsible for all environmental scientific work for the Te Roroa rohe. This includes working with a team to ensure the forest eco system is cared for.  This includes managing strategic overview planning for the iwi, tactical and response planning for the forest as a whole, and standing up responses as and when required for anything that may threaten the forest. 

Patrick Whaley

Patrick Whaley is the Manager of the Waikato Regional Council’s Biosecurity and Biodiversity programme. 

In this role, he leads teams that deliver a wide range of pest management programmes, work with and support landowners to take up the biosecurity challenge, response management, planning, monitoring and Biosecurity Act compliance. 

Patrick also leads the regional sectors biodiversity special interest group and is actively involved in national governance roles on behalf of the regional councils. 

Patrick joined Waikato Regional Council as Manager: Integrated Catchment Services in 2014.  Patrick has over 25 years’ experience in biodiversity and biosecurity management.

Mace Ward

Mace is the General Manager of Auckland Council’s Parks, Sports and Recreation department and is responsible for 4000 parks (45,000 hectares – local and regional), sport and recreation, 42 pools and leisure centres, cemeteries administration of co-governed land, including the Tupuna Maunga (ancestral mountains).

The department seeks to inspire Aucklanders to be more active, connect to nature, provide outstanding park destinations, conserve natural and cultural heritage and increase Auckland’s Maori identity.

His experience includes resource management, policy development, natural resource management, parks and facility operational management, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, biodiversity management, environmental advocacy, and organisational change.  Mace is also a trustee on Sport Auckland, Te Motu Hiaroa Governance Trust and a Northland conservation trust.

Bruce Howse

Bruce Howse is the Group Manager: Environmental Services for the Northland Regional Council. 

Bruce is responsible for leading Northland Regional Council’s biosecurity, biodiversity, land management, natural hazards, flood control and hydrology teams and associated work programmes. 

Bruce has a professional background in the management of natural resources, primarily within a local government context, with over 20 years’ experience working in this field.  


Tangata Whenua Roopu