Making the World a Better Place For All of Us
Join the Movement
The Rotorua Climate Action Forum is a membership based organisation and its success is dependent upon the active contribution of regular people who wish to make a difference.
As an incorporated society, we have a small governance group of 5 to 6 people who ensure we meet our legal and financial obligations.
A steering group of 10 to 15 people meet quarterly. This is the group that determines and drives strategy.
The Climate Change Commission (CCC) convened a consultation hui in Rotorua in March 2020 for people from all over the Bay of Plenty as part of an intended national series of community meetings.
It was the first and only CCC hui before the COVID-19 lock down. A few of us had exchanged emails and we kept in touch through lockdown via zoom hui, agreeing that if a disparate group like us could find common ground in our desire to make a difference in our community, maybe there were others.
We agreed that a citizens’ forum to discuss matters of climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience was needed and we formed the inaugural Steering Group. The Rotorua Climate Action Forum was initiated!
Eugene was raised in Rotorua by his grandparents and graduated from Waikato University with a Bachelor of Management Studies. He has worked locally and globally in multinational sales, marketing and market research roles.
“He returned to Rotorua in 2003 where he has worked in the health and iwi environmental and social service sectors. Late 2021 he moved to the Ministry for the Environment into a Māori Senior leadership role.”
A chartered member of the Institute of Directors, Eugene is on the boards of Korowai Aroha Health Centre, Te Rau Matatini Ltd (Maori Mental Health and Addictions workforce centre), Pakihi BK Ltd, Ngati Manawa Charitable Trust, QE Health Ltd and TARIT Group Holdings. Eugene is of Ngati Kea Ngati Tuara, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Pukeko and Ngati Manawa descent.
A finalist in the 2015 New Zealander of the Year, Roana’s background is in the not-for-profit sector, Iwi development and education. A graduate of Waikato University’s Bachelor of Management Studies, her strengths are strategic planning and organisational change.
In a previous role on the board of Amnesty International New Zealand, she saw the impact of climate change on the world’s vulnerable populations, particularly in countries where human rights were not well protected.
She is a board member of Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Te Arawa Management Limited and has roles with Te Runanga o Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu, REAP Central Plateau and the Pongakawa Waihi Estuary Restoration Group. Roana is of Ngati Whakaue descent.
A forest technologist for over forty years, Graham acts as an independent consultant through his company West Land Use Solutions. He has a deep and diverse experience in forest technology, forest management, land use science and economic modelling.
He has been running his own small farm and forestry joint venture for the last 25 years. He is a frequent submitter to local and regional council plan changes and to proposed new government policy at a national level. His desire to make a different through the Rotorua Climate Action Forum is driven by his commitment to his children and grandchildren.
Toni is an Environmental Scientist and Aboriginal Woman from the Gamilaraay nation advising on climate change in New Zealand, Australia and globally – including providing advice to the IPCC.
Her areas of expertise are Environmental and Sustainability Science, and Indigenous and Local Environmental Knowledge. She was recently announced a winner in the 2020 Queensland Women in STEM award.
George has a long-term commitment to the dairy industry and believes in the importance of people, sustainability and diversity. He is an active member of the Waikato Rural Support Trust and a farmer panel member of DairyNZ’s P21 project.
George’s previous roles include Chair of the Fonterra Farms Advisory Board, a member of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council and NZ Dairy Group Shareholders’ Council and the Chair and instigator of the Great Milk company and Func-nutrition. He is also a previous Trustee and Chair of the South Waikato Economic Development Trust and a government-appointed Landcorp Director. George and Sharon own two small dairy farms milking between 170 and 180 cows. The couple also own a 40 hectare dry-stock block that has both dairy grazers and forestry nursery lease.
Niki is the Environmental Health Performance Manager at Rotorua Lakes Council, with responsibility for the road safety and sustainable transport programmes, waste, climate change and water quality. She has a background in marketing and market research; a strong interest in environmental and social issues and is committed to sustainable living.
Justin has a long involvement in New Zealand with farming, forestry and land-use change relating to climate change. He has recently completed a project advising the Palm Oil Industry in Malaysia and Indonesia around deforestation and exploitation issues and continues to advise the Palm Oil Industry in New Zealand.
Justin holds a certificate of recognition from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for his contribution to the organisation’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning project on global warming. His brief was to identify and study how forestry and other land-use activities such as farming contribute to overall climate change and how bio-energy such as ethanol can be used to replace fossil fuels.
Marie is a senior social scientist having been employed as content lead in five national research projects. She has been an Editor of an academic book in the field of Maori wellbeing and development, and more recently has published in area of community resilience and natural disasters.
She has worked for the OCED, the NZ private sector and the university sector. She has been the recipient of a number of national scholarships including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade scholarship. Her lead in the climate and community resilience research space has led her more recently to be employed in the Climate Directorate for MfE with a specific interest in equity, vulnerabilty, risk and Maori. She is of Ngati Whakaue, Te Whanau-a-Ruataupare and Ngati Tama/Ngati Whiti descent.
Dr Paul Bennett
(Former Steering Group Member)
Paul is the Science Leader for Clean Technologies at SCION and has spent over 30 years working on a range of fuels, biofuels and bioenergy issues. He has worked as an independent consultant, for quasi-government organisations and large corporates developing new technologies and business opportunities in biofuels.
Paul and his team at Scion are investigating new economic opportunities in such things as industrial biorefining, bioenergies and bio-based substitutes for petroleum and other declining resources. His research background includes national energy system modelling and the impact of fuel quality on vehicle emission. He is the Vice-Chair of International Energy Agency
Graeme Gleeson is a sheep and beef-cattle farmer, and has been involved with sector advocacy for many years. Having a broad knowledge of issues regarding natural resource usage and impacts, coupled with understanding the importance of pragmatic balance and reasonableness when assessing mitigative options has enabled Graeme to promote adaptive solutions that are achievable.
Jeff’s passion for climate change issues began in the late 1990s when based in the Forest Management Research Group at the Forest Research Institute (now Scion) where climate change research pioneers, Piers Maclaren and Justin Ford-Robertson, were researching this new topic of interest for Aotearoa.
His forest consultancy business has a strong focus on providing specialist services to forest growers as an Authorised Representative and Account Operator under the ETS. Jeff was deeply involved in the public consultation process that resulted in the ETS reforms legislation. His current drive is for the creation of permanent forests via nurse crops of radiata pine that naturally transition to native forests and act as an urgently needed national carbon sink. Jeff’s interests and work are also internationally based particularly in Chile which provides a forward glimpse of climate change issues that are beginning to impact Aotearoa.
How to Join
If you would like to be a part of this grass roots movement, join us. Membership is free and will entitle you to receive regular updates on news, events and the latest research, policy proposals and climate change projects.