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Protecting our precious places

Board member profiles

Chairperson, James Guild

James GuildAppointed 1 July 2011 by the Minister of Conservation. James is a high country farmer and has a diverse background in agri-business, game animal management and conservation. He was the inaugural chair of the Canterbury/Aoraki Conservation Board and Pohatu Marine Reserve; past chair of NZ Deer Farmers Association; past Director of the Deer Industry New Zealand and the President of the NZ Association of Game Estates.

The Guild family have a QEII covenant on their High Peak Station property located near Darfield in Canterbury, protecting 94 ha of braided shingle riverbed, sedgeland, tussockland and shrubland.

Director, Dr Megan Balks

Megan BalksOriginally from a Wairarapa sheep farm where her father established an early QEII covenant, Megan has over 20 years of teaching and research experience in soil and environmental sciences at Waikato University including four years as Earth Sciences Department Chair.

She served two terms on the Waikato Conservation Board including one as Chairperson. Megan is a fellow of the NZ Society of Soil Science.

Megan and her husband Errol Balks, a land surveyor, have a small sheep farm on Mt Pirongia near Te Awamutu with 24 hectares of lowland forest protected with QEII covenants.

Director, Bruce Wills

Bruce Wills and his family farm sheep and cattle on the hills north of Napier.He completed a B.Com (Ag) at Lincoln and subsequently qualified as a Registered Valuer and an Investment Adviser. He has been farming for 10 years having previously spent 20 years in Banking and Investment, most of this time being in Hamilton with time also in Wellington and Auckland.

The Wills family has a strong interest in the environment. In 2008 they won the Hawke's Bay Farm Environmental Award. Around 15% of the family farm has areas protected with QEII National Trust covenants. Bruce is Chair of the NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust and Chair the East Coast region Ballance Farm Environmental Awards (which encourage sustainable farming practices). He is also on the Board of Motu Research and is a Trustee of the Todd Foundation. He has recently stepped down from 6 years on the Board of Federated Farmers NZ, the past 3 years as National President. 

Bruce says his greatest joy and accomplishment is being the proud father of four wonderful children. In 2004 he took two of them to 20,000ft on Everest just to enjoy the view!

Director, Gina Solomon

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation after consultation with the Minister of Maori Development on 9 July 2013 for a two-year term. Of Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kuri descent, Gina was raised in Oaro and now lives in Peketa, south of Kaikoura. She has extensive community and iwi involvement and is a committed conservationist. She sits on a number of boards and trusts including the Kaikoura zone committee for the Canterbury water management strategy, Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board, the Kaikoura Marine Guardians Te Korowai o Te Tai o Karokura, and the Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust.

Director, James Hunter

James HunterJames, a sheep and beef farmer at Porangahau in coastal Hawke's Bay, has a B.Com (Ag) Lincoln. He is a former Rural Bank appraiser and has had diverse farming experience and a 12 year spell as a councillor on the Central Hawke's Bay District Council.

James has a bush covenant of 42ha to which a 10ha wetland is being added.

He is a strong believer in the QEII Trust ethos of voluntary protection, describing the QEII Trust as 'a quiet achiever'.

Director, Susan (Sue) Yerex

Appointed 1 September 2012

Sue lives in Turangi and runs a beef and sheep farm in partnership with her husband, James. She brings governance skills, scientific knowledge and a pragmatic farming perspective to the board. Sue has a strong academic background in agricultural commerce and horticulture and was a Lincoln Kellogg Scholar in 2008. She serves on a number of private and voluntary trusts, boards and charities, including two that advocate for the care of Lake Taupo and its water.

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