Ms Jenn Bestwick
Jenn is an independent Director with a background in business and management consulting. She currently works as a Lead Reviewer with the States Services Commission Performance Improvement Framework and provides strategic consultancy to a number of private and public sector organisations.
Jenn spent many years working with KPMG leading their Auckland strategic management consulting practice before moving to Christchurch where she worked for a number of years with Ngāi Tahu including in a role as General Manager, Strategy and Planning for Ngāi Tahu Holdings Group. Jenn has worked with a number of organisations in the science and research sector having led MBIE’s Review of CRI Core Funding, been on a number of panels reviewing performance of MBIE science investments, been involved in the establishment of Callaghan Innovation and worked with a number of Crown Research Institutes.
Prof. Steve Weaver
Steve is the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) of the University of Canterbury, and is a member of the Board of GNS Science Ltd. Prof. Weaver has decades of experience in senior academic and research management roles at a national level in New Zealand, close experience of the Christchurch and Canterbury community, and a background in the geosciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ.
Mr Bruce Wills
Bruce has a background in commercial banking and finance for the agricultural sector and is the immediate Past President of Federated Farmers. He is currently a board director of Ravensdown Ltd., representative of NZ and international Farming and Trade forums, and an active farmer in the Hawkes Bay. In addition to this role, Bruce sits on the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge board.
Mr Greg Orchard
Greg is by background an accountant, and over the past two decades has provided governance and high-level strategic leadership in organisations such as Wellington City, BRANZ, and the Housing Corporation, in particular for areas related to healthy, safe and socially accessible housing. In his previous role as the Wellington City Council Chief Operating Officer he was responsible for improving the resilience of Wellington’s building stock. His experience places him in an excellent position to provide strategic local government-centred advice to the Challenge.
Mr David Middleton
David was appointed CEO of the Earthquake Commission (EQC) after a twenty year career in the insurance industry. Since leaving EQC David has worked as an independent consultant at Kestrel Group. David is currently the Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Chair of the Strategic and Scientific User Advisory Panel that reports to the GNS Board. In 2010 David was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and an Honorary Fellow of Engineering New Zealand.
Dr Richard Smith
Richard has a hybrid background in research facilitation, disaster risk reduction policy and practice, and natural hazards research. Most recently he was Research Strategy and Investment Manager with the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC), with responsibilities for EQC’s National Research Capability and Science-to-Practice programmes. Before joining EQC, Richard held various roles in the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM), supporting policy and capability development and provision of science advice. Richard has a PhD in Geological Sciences from the University of Canterbury, and prior to taking up a position with MCDEM was a Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Waikato.
Science Communications Adviser
Caitlin has a background in the environment sector, having worked in environmental advocacy, education and communications both in Aotearoa and Australia. Before joining the Resilience Challenge team, Caitlin worked as a senior communications advisor at Forest & Bird which sparked her interest in science communication. Caitlin enjoys the challenge of communicating complex science in a way that is easy to understand and engaging for a wider audience. Outside work, Caitlin loves spending time outside with her young family, helping out with local conservation work, and training for triathlons.
Delia has worked in geosciences in New Zealand since graduating from Otago University with an MSc in Physical Geography. Prior to joining the Resilience Challenge, Delia project managed a range of natural hazards research programmes at GNS Science and was the collections manager for New Zealand’s national rock and minerals collections. Delia enjoys seeing science come to fruition, from the early days of exciting research ideas and proposal development all the way through to putting tools and guidance into the hands of end-users for incorporation into decision-making. Alongside managing Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, Delia is the project manager for It’s Our Fault, the award-winning Wellington region earthquake hazard, risk and resilience programme.
The science leadership team is made up of the programme leaders for each of the ten science programmes of the Resilience Challenge.
Tom is an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury with a high-profile research track record in understanding the impacts of volcanism, earthquake and snowfall hazards on infrastructure, lifelines, agriculture and community resilience. In recent years he has contributed underpinning societal and agricultural impact measures to the major New Zealand Riskscape initiative, investigated GIS tools for evacuation planning and disaster management, and worked extensively on collaborative projects in and around the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. Producing over 50-refereed publications and several PhD graduands, Dr Wilson’s research has spanned diverse settings from Indonesia to South America.
Prof David Johnston
David is director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in the School of Psychology at Massey University and Deputy Director of QuakeCoRE, NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience. His research focuses on human responses to volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather warnings, crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery. In 2016 he became co-chair of World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) High Impact Weather Project (HIWeather) steering group. This follows his role as the chair of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee (IRDR) (2013-2015). He is the editor of The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies; and was the founding editor of the Journal of Applied Volcanology.
Dr Wendy Saunders
Wendy (Raukawa) is an accomplished social scientist specialising in land use planning to reduce risks from natural hazards and climate change. Wendy co-leads the Mātauranga Māori research programme in the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge; leads the Improved Risk Governance research programme at GNS Science; is on the QuakeCoRE leadership team; and until recently led the Engagement Programme for the Deep South National Science Challenge. Her research has focused on investigating the role of iwi/hapū management plans in natural hazard and risk management; and how iwi/hapū management plans can inform research directions.
Prof Mark Bebbington
Multihazard Risk Model
Mark is Professor in Geostatistics at Massey University, with a split appointment between the Statistics Group of the School of Fundamental Sciences and Volcanic Risk Solutions in the School of Agriculture and Environment. His research interests include stochastic modelling, especially in geophysics, inference and computational methods for stochastic processes, and reliability and statistical quality control. Mark has published over 100 international journal papers and received over 20 contestable research grants; with a focus on developing methods for assessing and forecasting natural hazard risks, especially volcanic and earthquake hazards. He is also an associate editor for the journals: Frontiers in Earth Science Geohazards and Georisks; Statistics in Volcanology; and The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics.
Assoc Prof Jon Procter
Jon (Muaupoko, Ngati Apa, Ngai Tahu) has a background in Geographical Information Systems, mapping, geology and numerical mass flow modelling. He currently leads the multi-agency $2.5 million Living with Volcanic risk programme (2016-2019) and has also led a diverse range of other Māori-specific projects via MBIE, NZ Natural Hazards Research Platform, Landcare Research and variety of Iwi Authorities and Regional councils. His experience includes Māori-resource and landscape mapping and iwi-based initiatives into volcanic hazard mapping and environmental/pollution monitoring and management. Dr Procter is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University and has published over 35 papers in refereed international journals.
Dr Sally Potter
Sally is a social scientist at GNS Science, with a background in geosciences and emergency management. She conducts research on early warning systems, particularly the communication of warnings for a range of natural hazards. Her current focus is on impact-based warnings for severe weather, and optimal messaging for short warnings such as Emergency Mobile Alerts. She is the co-lead of the Communication Task Team within the World Meteorological Organization’s High Impact Weather research programme, linking her to a global network of experts.