Predator Free 2050 Ltd has been created and is responsible for directing a significant amount of Crown investment into the Predator Free Programme, with a focus on breakthrough science and large scale predator control and eradication initiatives.
The board of Predator Free 2050 Ltd will select large landscape projects for funding via an Expressions of Interest (EOI) and a Requests for Proposals (RFP) process.
Ed Chignell co-founded Treescape New Zealand and has spent 37 years as co-CEO. The company specialises in tree, vegetation and environmental management and is a trans-Tasman company with more than 500 employees.
Board Chair Jane Taylor says Chignell has the perfect credentials to guide Predator Free 2050 Ltd, which is responsible for managing and leveraging $6 million a year of the Crown’s investment into ridding New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050.
She notes Chignell’s proven track record as a CEO and passionate leader with strong commercial and strategic nous. “That’s what the Predator Free 2050 Ltd CEO role requires – passion, commitment, and the ability to develop powerful strategic partnerships.”
Chignell says that throughout his career he has always been keen on the environment and conservation. “I’ll be looking to bring the required skills of collaboration, coordination and development to take Predator Free 2050 Ltd towards the goal of eliminating all possums, rats and stoats in our country.”
Noting that there are multiple agencies and community organisations involved in predator eradication, Chignell adds that Predator Free 2050 Ltd will work to draw these stakeholders together. His focus in the first six months is to meet with all key players, stakeholders and organisations currently doing work and research in this field, while also meeting with philanthropic companies committed to New Zealand’s biodiversity.
However, he also stresses the necessity of every Kiwi getting on board with the programme.
“An estimated 25 million eggs or chicks of native birds are killed by introduced predators every year. That’s a huge number and it is the path to extinction for many of our endemic bird species. In turn, those species are indicative of New Zealand’s total biodiversity; if they are under threat, it means all our fauna and flora is under threat. This makes the task ahead a crucial one for all New Zealanders.”
Chignell says that while the task ahead is a daunting one, he believes it can be achieved. “When Edmund Hillary first took on Everest, that was an impossible ask. But it proved to be achievable and I believe our goal is similarly possible. But it will depend on everyone pulling in the same direction.”
Project Manager – Science Strategy
We are delighted to welcome on board Dr Dan Tompkins to lead our science strategy. Dan has already been involved with the Predator Free 2050 initiative via Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research where he was leading the team to design the strategy for achieving the interim 2025 research goals.
Dan is currently on secondment from his role as Portfolio Leader for the Managing Invasive portfolio Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, where he oversees a broad research programme on the management of invasive weeds, pests and diseases both across NZ and internationally. Dan is also a Member of the New Zealand National IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Council and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Otago.
Dan specializes in the ecology and management of pests and diseases. An ecologist and epidemiologist by training, with degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Oxford, Dan’s past research includes: developing novel high-tech approaches to pest control (including the ‘Trojan Female Technique’ approach to fertility control); understanding the interactions among species in the New Zealand mammal pest community; demonstrating the efficacy of oral BCG vaccination for TB control in brushtail possums; and demonstrating the role of shared diseases in native species declines (including the UK red squirrel).
Dan will be an integral figure in helping Predator Free 2050 Ltd achieve its goals via the science strategy and assisting in providing expert advise in our large landscape funded projects.
Board of Trustees
Jane Taylor has been appointed as chair of the nine-member Board. Ms Taylor is also the chair of Landcare Research and NZ Post.
The other eight directors are Sir Rob Fenwick, Jeff Grant, Gary Lane, Traci Houpapa, Warren Parker, Devon McLean, David MacLeod and Arihia Bennett.
Jane Taylor Chair of Landcare Research Ltd and Chair of NZ Post, has extensive public governance experience and understanding of science investment.
Sir Rob Fenwick Chair of the Predator Free NZ Trust, has a strong grasp of the strategic vision for the company and the Predator Free 2050 goal, with extensive business experience, conservation networks and understanding of science investment.
Jeff Grant Chair of OSPRI, has extensive governance experience in both public and private sectors and is also well connected to the agriculture and tourism sectors.
Gary Lane Brings practical experience of pest management, alongside related investment decision making. He has built his own sanctuary fence around the Wairakei golf course and Sanctuary.
Traci Houpapa Chair of Landcorp Farming Ltd and of W3 Wool Unleashed Primary Growth Partnership, with strong governance and business skills. She is also Chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities.
Warren Parker Chair of New Zealand Conservation Authority, and retiring Chief Executive of SCION, has proven science and conservation credentials and science, industry and conservation relationships.
David MacLeod Chair of Taranaki Regional Council, a Director for Fonterra and PKW Farms; a successful businessman, and has Iwi connections to Ngati Mutunga / Ngati Ruanui / Ngai Tahu / Ngati Porou.
Arihia Bennett Chief Executive of Ngai Tahu’s Runanga, has strong connections to Iwi, with a strategic and principled focus to deliver socially responsible outcomes.
Devon McLean is the Environmental Advisor to the Next Foundation and is a Board member of the New Zealand Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.