Team members

Founding Trustees, Trustees, Motivators and Advisers

Patron: Lydia Bradey ONZM, IFMGA

ABT are delighted to announce the appointment of Lydia Bradey, ONZM, IFMGA International Mountain & Ski Guide, Legendary Mountaineer (the first woman to ascend Mt Everest without Oxygen), physiotherapist as Patron.

Lydia on the Summit of Everest in 2016 (Photo credit Mike Roberts)

Lydia is inspired by the objectives of ABT as they align with her passion for the environment. She was keen to take the opportunity to support the Trust, after being actively engaged in ABT’s threatened species protection within the Siberia Valley and having spent many years benefiting from our wild places both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. She is the co-author of “Going up is Easy” (published in 2015), an account of her first (female) oxygen-free ascent of Mt Everest, adventures, and climbs.

Anthony Coote

Chair and (Co-founding) Trustee:

Anthony Coote MSc (1st Class Hons) MBA,  AIG,  SEG

Anthony provides direction for the Trusts scientific-based indigenous biodiversity enhancement projects, and helps manage logistics, remote technology and safety in relation to field programme development.

He 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


ABT’s Project Manager Rachel, implements scientific based biodiversity monitoring, restoration and awareness raising projects, with over 20 years’ experience in the field of ecology and environmental management.

Rachel Hufton

Rachel is a professional Ecologist and Ornithologist (specialising in threatened species/ habitats) with international experience; working as a county ecologist safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity for local government, as an environmental consultant and a field project officer and ornithologist for various 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, Ornithology and Science Communication.

Rachel 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 and biodiversity action plans. She continues to inspire and promote the future kaitiakitanga – caretakers of the natural world through connecting people with nature.

Rachel has been involved with indigenous biodiversity projects in relation to the Makarora area since April 2016. Her work has provided an update on the current population 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 such as whio (blue duck). Rachel is a supportive member of OSNZ, Australasian Bat Society, and NZ Ecological Society supporting conferences and contributing to local events.

Trustee: Dean Nelson Technical Advisor

Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Excellence 2023. Dip. Parks and Recreation (with distinction) Dip. Wildlife Management (with distinction).

Dean is a Senior Ranger for Biodiversity Assets 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.

Dean featured holding a Kakapo during monitoring work with DOC

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 yellow-eyed penguin, Royal albatross, NZ sealion and the dune plant pikao.

With a yearning to get back to the mountains and braided rivers of the Mackenzie Basin, Dean moved to Twizel in 2004 to manage the worlds rarest wader, the 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.

Trustee: Gus Roxburgh Documentary Producer 

Emmy-nominated producer, award winning writer and popular TV presenter.

Gus Roxburgh has enjoyed a wide-ranging career encompassing television, film, print and online media. His work has taken him from Antarctica to Alaska and many places in between and with his unique and broad range of production skills he is equally at home behind or in front of the camera. With a Masters degree in Natural Resource Management and outdoor skills honed during 12 seasons as a heliski guide, Gus thrives on projects with a scientific, environmental and adventurous nature.

Former Trustee (Co-founding) : Donald P Lousley

Donald, a dedicated conservationist has invested over 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.

photo credit Hannes Weikert

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 has been interviewed by a leading newspaper for Central 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. He has completed a two year term governance role on the Otago Conservation Board.

Former Trustee: Stella Green, Strategic Change Leader

Stella joined the team early 2022 and what great timing as we are just in the process of revising our strategic plan for the next 5 years onwards!

Stella joins us with her passion for building better future’s. Stella’s career expands across many iconic organisations from scientific, logistics, technology and biofuel sectors and has included roles from strategic change advisory, operational transformation to leadership.

She is a fellow and past Chairperson and Board member for the Facilities Management Association of New Zealand (FMANZ), youth development roles as mountain safety council instructor, scout leader, WORD mountain bike mentor and juggling being mother of two adventurous boys.

Stella’s work focuses on translating strategic thinking and concepts into meaning and connection for people, helping them uncover opportunities to optimise engagement.

Trustee: Paulette Tamati-Elliffe

Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha (Kāti Hāwea, Kāi Te Pahi, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki), Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga

Paulette currently leads the Kāi Tahu te reo Māori revitalisation strategy, Kotahi Mano Kāika.

Paulette represents Ngāi Tahu on the NZ Geographic Board and is the South Island representative on Te Mātāwai, the national board fulfilling the Government’s strategy for the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Over the past twenty years, Paulette and her partner Komene, both graduates of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori – Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori have reclaimed te reo Māori as a language of natural communication in the home with their tamariki and mokopuna. Paulette also holds a number of representative roles across Otago for her hapū, and her voice is often heard either calling or singing to manuhiri at her home marae, Ōtākou on the Otago Peninsula. Also a Trustee of Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau (Sinclair Wetlands) Paulette is just as passionate about restoring and strengthening inter-generational connection to our environment and mahika kai traditions.

Paulette brings a wealth of knowledge to the ABT team and is actively engaged in indigenous biodiversity programmes within the Makarore Ōtānenui Catchment, since April 2021. She continues important environmental monitoring with Kāi Tahu with a specific focus on tuna/eel and improving integration of Mātauranga Maori into ABT threatened species programmes.

Scott Gillam ~ Field Team Leader

Scott is acclimatised to life in the backcountry as a keen huntsman and Vice President of the Upper Clutha Deerstalkers Association. He has extensive experience of backcountry skills, multi-species invasive predator control throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and is very familiar with the locality as a Makarora resident.

Scott enjoys passing his skills on to the next generation through delivery of outdoor skill courses for the Deerstalkers Association and to his family, who also contribute to the important work of Aspiring Biodiversity Trust. Scott has assisted protected species dog assisted surveys for whio (blue duck) within the Makarora catchment and is looking to enrol his own canine in the national conservation dog training programme.  He also has a keen eye/ear for the mohua. ABT are proud to have Scott as part of the threatened species programme delivery team.

Dean Bell ~ River’s Advisory

Dean is an important part of ABT’s braided river invasive mammalian predator control programme. He is particularly comfortable within the riverine environment, this is evident within his profession as an expert Fly Fishing Guide throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

This is an important trait when negotiating river crossings while accessing braided river bird protection trap-lines. Dean enjoys transferring and diversifying his skills by giving back to nature and he has become fond of the endemic wrybill which returns to breed on the Makarora each year. Dean has also assisted with ABT’s popular annual braided river bird monitoring programme. 

Sven Gorham ~ Alpine hazards advisor

Sven on the ABT Siberia invasive predator control servicing route – protecting endangered rock wren, kea and breeding whio populations >>

Sven  joins the ABT threat management team during the peak season when conditions allow access to the backcountry to protect remnant populations of endangered indigenous biodiversity.  

Sven is a professional outdoors Guide and Ski Patroller. Originally from Australia, Sven`s enjoyment of the mountains took him to New Zealand and then Japan where he has spent the past decade chasing endless winters while working in the ski industry.

Field Contractors

ABT contract professional multi-skilled personnel with considerable backcountry skills, with experience and training in invasive predator control, threatened species monitoring techniques and innovation. Additionally volunteer contributions are utilised as appropriate in relation to each activity.


The Department of Conservation (DOC); Wanaka, Twizel Offices, the Science Department and the Whio Recovery Group. Protected species conservation dog handlers. Kāi Tahu representatives. Independent consultants, scientists, threatened species specialists, invasive predator control innovators, the local community and NGO’s.

Further details to follow

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