Our People

Zealandia is managed by Karori Sanctuary Trust, a not-for-profit community-led organisation. The Trust’s official vision is to be a world-class conservation site portraying our natural heritage that captures people’s imagination, understanding and commitment.

Trustees are chosen for their appropriate range and balance of skills and experience to ensure the sound management of the Trust and to assist the Trust in achieving its objectives.

The establishment of the Trust in 1995 was a radical idea and a major breakthrough in the conservation and recovery of native wildlife on mainland New Zealand, reversing a decline that has lasted for at least 700 years. The Trust’s groundbreaking achievements in urban ecological restoration; the eradication of invasive species; and the recovery of endangered native wildlife exceeded all expectations in its first ten years.

Karori Sanctuary Trust logo




The Trust choses trustees for their range and balance of skills and experience. See Trustees.

patron and founder


For more information see Patron and Founder.


Staff & Volunteers


ZEALANDIA has a small team of staff who work with over 500 volunteers to provide a safe environment for our native species and a world-class nature experience for our visitors. The Strategic Management Team are listed below:

Dr. Danielle Shanahan
Chief Executive

Jo Ledington 
 General Manager Conservation and Restoration

Ros Alsford
General Manager Corporate Services

Margot Meuleman
General Manager Commercial Development

Jasmyne Chung
General Manager Engagement 

John Diggins
Chief Financial Officer

For contact details see here.





Seven Trustees are chosen for their appropriate range and balance of skills and experience to ensure the sound management of the Trust and to assist the Trust in achieving its objectives.


Russell Spratt (Chair)

Russell has achieved considerable success delivering results across the public, private and NGO sectors. He is of Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga descent. Russell is involved in numerous Māori trusts at governance level and is also the pan-tribal representative on the Kapiti Coast District Council’s Corporate Business Committee, a member of the Economic Development Management Group and a member of the Māori Economic Development panel. In addition to having knowledge of bi-cultural issues, Russell is an MBA graduate with significant expertise in the education sector.


Contact Russell at chair@visitzealandia.com.



Professor Margaret Hyland

Margaret is the Vice-Provost Research at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and brings to the Board a strong record of promoting equity, diversity and inclusion, including with Māori. Margaret is currently an independent director of Cirrus Materials Science, Deputy Chair of Wellington UniVentures, Chair of Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington, a Director on the Crown Research Institute NIWA Board and an independent trustee of Eureka! Trust. She will add to our Board’s experience and skill in the strategy development of Zealandia in its work as a research-based organisation.

Councillor Teri O'Neill

As a councillor Teri currently chairs the Kōrau Mātinitini Social, Cultural and Economic Committee at Wellington City Council. Teri is a strong supporter for ecological restoration and re-indigenisation of our open spaces. She will add to our Board’s experience as a strategic partner and along with her relationship with the city council. Teri has served three years previously as the alternate to Mayor Andy Foster on the Zealandia Guardians group and held the Natural Environment portfolio on council. Prior to Council, Teri worked as a policy and business analyst and was proud to have the opportunity work on a range of climate, transport and housing issues.

 Dr Libby Harrison 

Dr Libby Harrison

Libby has a PhD in biological control of insect pests from University College London. As an undergraduate and post-graduate student, she led conservation projects in India, Egypt and Greece. Libby’s career since, in eco-toxicology, field-science management, and regulation, has often been linked to environmental risk assessment and protection. In the early years of her career Libby worked in Europe and the USA on the environmental impacts and regulation of biological and chemical pesticides.

Libby is currently the Director of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre and remains passionate about the environment and conservation. In 2022 she moved to Manuherikia–Alexandra, in Central Otago, where she and her partner, Mark Bathurst, dream of eco-restoring a 2ha block of land.

Libby has governance experience through her previous role as a Trustee, Deputy Chair and Chair of WWF New Zealand and the Governance Group Kahui Māori for the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, hosted by Otago University.

Now a New Zealander of twenty-plus years, Libby has worked for the Ministry for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Authority, and on Executive Teams for the Crown Research Institutes Manaaki Whenua–Landcare Research and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). Libby worked for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for two years (2013–15) establishing the National Science Challenges.


 Pete Monk 

Pete Monk

Pete Monk has served two terms on the board of Positively Wellington Tourism, was Head of Marketing for Interislander, General Manager of Fly Buys, and Chief Executive in IT and manufacturing ventures. Pete currently manages Ata Rangi, a Martinborough vineyard, in tandem with his own photography business specialising in landscapes and nature. He is also chairman of Toast Martinborough, and treasurer of Featherston Booktown Trust. Pete has an active interest in nature and conservation. He contributed in the past as a transitional manager at ZEALANDIA, holds life membership of Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust, and is involved in a voluntary capacity with other conservation organisations and initiatives.



Jo Breese

Jo’s career has focussed on conservation of natural and cultural heritage working both in New Zealand and Asia Pacific. Jo has been involved in many projects in New Zealand and also in UNDP programmes in Vietnam and Malaysia. She served two 3-year terms as a member of the NZ Conservation Authority. Prior to this Jo was on the board of Antarctica New Zealand (New Zealand’s Antarctic Research Institute). She was Chief Executive of WWF-NZ between 1999 and 2006 and, before that, was for 6 years the Chief Executive of Booksellers NZ. Jo has a good understanding of mātauranga Māori and is a Crown appointee to the inaugural Te Urewera Board.







Paul Atkins

Paul is Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Previous roles have included Chief Executive of Zealandia from 2015 to 2021, and the National Energy Research Institute in New Zealand.  Paul has chaired the Boards of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, the Hillary Institute of International Leadership, Boutiq Science Ltd, and Mevo Ltd, and was a director of the biomedical device company Ferronova Pty Ltd. He was also inaugural Chair of the New Zealand Smart Grid Forum and Vice-chair of the IEA’s Demand-side Implementing Agreement. He is a Chartered Physicist and Chartered Scientist, a Member of the Institute of Physics and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.




Patron and founder



Rt Hon Helen Clark, ONZ SSI PC


Rt Hon Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999-2008 and Minister of Conservation from 1987-1989. As Minister of Conservation and as Prime Minister, Helen was a strong supporter of protection of habitat for New Zealand’s birds. Helen has wide ranging interests in natural heritage globally and continues to advocate for the protection of wildlife and habitats. As Administrator of UNDP for eight years, she oversaw large programmes for wildlife and habitat protection on land and sea and in coastal areas.

Jim Lynch, QSM


Jim was the originator and founder of the Trust in the early 1990’s. He has wide experience of ecology and conservation management at a national level and has designed large scale management systems and training programmes for major organisations. In 2001 he was awarded the QSM for services to conservation in Wellington. In November 2007 he was appointed Founder Vice-Patron.