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Protecting our precious places

Board member profiles

Chairperson, James Guild


Appointed 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, Donna Field


Elected by members in the 2016 member elections. Donna has a background in resource management and is a Director of Cleardale Station, a 1400ha sheep and beef property in the Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury. She has governance experience and is interested in plant, ecosystem, and landscape conservation. Donna is Chair of the Ashburton Water Zone Committee and the Whitcombe Landcare Group, and worked with DOC and Solid Energy on the Stockton plateau to establish the Millerton Plateau Protection Society. She is a financial member of the National Trust and is currently (March 2016) in the process of covenanting a 37ha forest remnant on her property.


Director, Michael Legge


Elected by members in the 2016 member elections. Michael is a retired Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Pathology at Otago University. He has knowledge and skills in conservation and environmental planning and has been involved with a number of environmental organisations and initiatives including the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, the National Plan of Action for Sea Birds, and the Dunedin City Council's waste water committee and solid waste planning group. He currently chairs the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board. Michael and his wife, Kathleen, have two covenants (49ha and 7.3ha) protecting coastal forest bordering the Paparoa National Park on the West Coast where they live. They manage their covenants on sustainable 'organic' principles.

Director, Gina Solomon

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation after consultation with the Minister of Maori Development. 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, Bruce Wills



Appointed by the Minister of Conservation. 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, Susan (Sue) Yerex

Appointed by the Minister of Conservation. 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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