it takes a village to raise a child and a community to protect our fresh water and ecosystems

Our team and trustees come from a range of backgrounds in science, local government, academia, community fundraising and more.


Marissa Adelstein


Prue Kane

Programmes Manager

Parental leave

Cat Dillon

Operations Manager

Dr Amanda Bell

Project Director

Jose Cranfield

Education Lead

Julie Perry

Strategic Funding

Kelly Humphries

Admin Superstar

Sarah Taylor

Finance, HR and H&S Manager

Ben Youngman

Science and Research Lead

Eva Fernandez

Volunteer Coordinator

Jaylene Harper

Education Support & Communications

Michaela Blacklock

Strategic Projects

Louise Aubrey

Rural Lead


John Rodwell

Board of Trustees Chair

John has extensive experience in the primary sector, both in corporate finance and governance, and in national science work supporting the sector. Currently serving as a director of Manaaki Whenua / Landcare Research and the Biological Heritage Challenge, John has also chaired national agri industry entities like the Bio Protection Research Centre (CORE) and the Minister of Agriculture’s Wool Working Group (now known a Wool Impact), where he retains a Board Advisory role. Additionally, he serves on the board of several farming businesses, as well as being a director of WoolWorks Ltd., the New Zealand wool scour operator. With a background in international business development and a commitment to industry improvement initiatives, John is a Co-Chair of the Te Taiao Steering Group and was previously on the Minister of Agricultures Primary Sector Council. John’s leadership skills and belief in community-driven initiatives promises positive impacts for WAI, our communities, and the local environment.

Kate Scott


Kate, a resource management planner by trade is an Executive Director of Landpro Limited. Kate lives in Bannockburn with her husband and three young sons, where they enjoy all that Central Otago has to offer. In 2018, Kate was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, which enabled her to undertake a period of international travel and study, completing a research paper entitled ‘Enabling Better Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture’. Kate is interested in facilitating community engagement and change from the ‘ground–up’. As a trustee of Wai Wānaka, Kate is able to bring these skills to the governance table, to help support the fantastic initiatives run by the Trust in the interest of achieving integrated catchment management across the Upper Clutha.

Dr Don Robertson


Don is the Chair of Guardians of Lake Wānaka and a member of Guardians of Lake Hāwea. His background includes 40 years in marine fisheries science & management, marine ecology, biodiversity and biosecurity. He held senior research and management roles in NZ Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries & NZ National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA), including NIWA Vessels Ltd. Don led the campaign to design, fund and build the NIWA research vessel “Tangaroa”, commissioned in 1991.

Don was the NZ member on the Governing Board of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, as a member of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System Management Committee & Node Manager for the Southwestern Pacific Ocean (part of the global Census of Marine Life programme). He has also served on a number of government and Royal Society research committees.

Dr Mara Wolkenhauer


Originally from Germany, and after 17 years living in Australia, Mara moved to Aotearoa 10 years ago. With a background in marine biology, waterway health and science translation, Mara worked for organisations such as CSIRO, the University of Queensland and Healthy Waterways (Brisbane). Since moving to Dunedin, she has worked for the University of Otago, DOC and now MBIE as a Business Development Manager, Science Investment Advisor and Principal Policy Advisor. Mara has a deep interest in strategic governance and environmental education to support our tamariki. With a PhD in Science and an MBA, Mara offers a diverse set of expertise to support WAI Wānaka and the wider community. A positive, humorous and creative person, Mara excels when working with and for people. Her values are: honesty, integrity, equality and happiness.

Katie Hart


Katie has over 20 years’ experience as a fundraising & marketing professional for not-for-profits across the UK, Australia and NZ. She’s played a key role in the strategic development and growth of many high-profile charities, including The Fred Hollows Foundation in Australia and Amnesty International in Australia and the UK. Katie currently works for Orange Sky New Zealand, a start up charity supporting people experiencing homelessness. She’s helping them to build a sustainable future and long-lasting, meaningful relationships with their supporters as awareness of their work grows in Aotearoa. Prior to becoming a trustee, Katie was involved with WAI Wānaka as a project manager.

Andrew Gawith


Andrew is a lapsed economist with experience in setting up and managing an economics consulting business and an investment management firm. He is currently a Trustee at Te Kakano, a founder and Trustee of the New Zealand Rivers Trust, which is involved in the Cawthron NZ River Awards. He is a director of two farming businesses and is acutely aware of the biological and economic tensions between land use and the health of freshwater eco-systems.


We couldn’t achieve what we do without the combined effort, help and support of our amazing funders, stakeholders and the Upper Clutha community. Thank you for your continued partnership and support!