Team members

Founding Trustees and Advisers of Aspiring Biodiversity Trust

Patron – position vacant, enquiries most welcome.

Chair and (Co-founding) Trustee: Anthony Coote MSc (1st Class Hons) MBA,  AIG,  SEG

Anthony provides direction for the Trusts scientific-based biodiversity enhancement projects, and manages logistics and safety in relation to field programmes. Anthony CooteHe is a Geo-scientist with specialist technical input into the delineation of metals in the Earth’s crust, many of these metals increasingly strategic and indispensable to expanding sustainable energy generation and consumption. Presentation of papers at international conferences provides Anthony with a means of ongoing professional development. His previous experience in directing charitable/not-for-profit organisations includes the re-development of the Rainbow Snow-Sports area. He has a strong appreciation for the natural world, participates in a range of outdoor pursuits, and considers himself a capable amateur meteorologist. His post-graduate university projects include a New Zealand volcanologic study, and an economic evaluation of a resource development in Vietnam.

Founding Trustee: Rachel L Hufton BSc Hons PGDip, MCIEEM, MEIANZ

Rachel implements and coordinates scientific based biodiversity enhancement and awareness raising projects. She is an experienced Ecologist and Ornithologist with international experience; working as a county ecologist safeguarding local biodiversity for local government, as an environmental consultant and a field project officer and ornithologist for NGO’s. She is a certified member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (MCIEEM), has a Bachelor of Science in Ecology with Hons and has completed post-graduate studies in biological recording and ornithology.

Rachel HuftonRachel is experienced in collaborative and partnership working in relation to high profile ecological projects for infrastructure and development and in relation to local biodiversity community projects. She continues to inspire and promote the future kaitiakitanga – caretakers of the natural world through biodiversity advocacy, awareness raising and science communication. Rachel has been involved as an ecologist in biodiversity projects in relation to the Makarora area since April 2016. Her survey work has provided an update on the status of Makarora’s indigenous braided river avifauna and helps lead a proactive way forward to the protection, enhancement and restoration of endemic threatened braided river bird species. This is also the case for the endangered South Island rock wren and other threatened species. Rachel is a supportive member of OSNZ and Forest and Bird attending conferences and contributing to local events.

Trustee: Dean Nelson Dip. Parks and Recreation (with distinction) Dip. Wildlife Management (with distinction)

Dean with a Kakapo during monitoring work with DoC

Dean is a Senior Ranger for Biodiversity and Project River Recovery with the Department of Conservation (DoC) based in Twizel. His first role in the conservation field was as a Park Assistant at Makarora when Mt Aspiring National Park was run by the Dept of Lands and Survey. Seven years at Aoraki Mt Cook National Park was followed by a shift to Dunedin where he developed his passion for threatened species management by working with hoiho, Royal albatross, NZ sealion and the dune plant pikao.

However, with a yearning to get back to the mountains and braided rivers of the Mackenzie Basin, Dean moved to Twizel in 2004 to manage threatened species like kaki/black stilt and help establish the large-scale Tasman River predator control project. In recent years he has also picked up the role of managing Project River Recovery which is a compensatory agreement with Meridian and Genesis that aims to enhance river and wetland habitat and populations of threatened species in the upper Waitaki Basin.

A keen outdoors person, Dean is the chair of the committee that runs the Meridian Twizel Hard Labour Weekend – a multisport event that raises funds for local kids’ sports clubs and community organisations.

photo credit Hannes Weikert

Former (Co-founding) Trustee: Donald P Lousley

Donald, a dedicated conservationist has invested twenty years in helping reinvigorate the native bird populations in the Matukituki Valley, Wanaka by contributing to invasive mammal predator control programmes and species monitoring. Positive results are now being observed with a noticeable difference to the dawn chorus.

At home in the outdoors as former mountain guide, including volunteer search and rescue work for the NZ Police, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) back in the days when this was seen to be their task. He has also authored a ski area guide book back in the 70’s, and currently works in IT with an emphasis on web site design and implementation, and as a landscape/wildlife photographer and founder of Southern Lights web site initiative,

Donald was recently interviewed by the leading newspaper for Central Otago/Otago for his contributions to native biodiversity.

Donald looks forward to contributing further to positive biodiversity outcomes within Mt Aspiring National Park and associated areas.


Department of Conservation; Wanaka, Twizel and the Science Department. Independent ecological consultants and NGO’s.

Further details to follow