Based in Ōtautahi Christchurch
Currently living on the ‘free to roam in nature’ Port Hills overlooking the ever-changing light, tides and bird life of the Ihutai Estuary. As the ‘Roaming Ecologist” I delight in ‘noticing nature’ and using my ecological skills on projects to enhance nature’s and people’s wellbeing.
2009 PhD in Ecology, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
2004 Master of Applied Science in Ecology (1st Class Honours), Lincoln University.
2002-2003 Masters Papers: Conservation Biology, Ornithology, Vertebrate Behaviour, Research Methods in Applied Ecology, Advanced Ecology, Research Placement.
1977-8 Post Grad Dip Ed Papers and Sociology Stage 2 papers (Canterbury University)
1970 Bachelor of Arts (History major), University of Canterbury, Christchurch, N.Z.
1972 Diploma in Teaching, Department of Education
Environment Canterbury Councillor for Christchurch 2016-2019
Portfolio & committees: Biodiversity and Biosecurity, Urban Development Strategy, Panel member for Canterbury Regional Pest Management Strategy 2018-2038, Hurunui Zone Committee, Avon-Heathcote Ihutai Estuary Trust, Ngāi Tahu Tuia Programme and the regular Marae meetings.
The Roaming Ecologist 2014 –
Self-employed independent ecologist working on contract jobs such as advice on restoration, habitat assessment and weeds. Member of a self-employed ecologist group who meet regularly to exchange ideas.
Department of Conservation 2009 -2014
Science Advisor: Ecology 2010 – 2014
Technical Support Officer, Biodiversity (FLORA) Threats and Assets
Provide scientific and technical advice on flora including threatened plants, restoration, monitoring, biosecurity issues, invasive weeds, kauri dieback, policy, research permits and resource consents under the RMA to: Head Office; Waikato conservancy staff (area includes the Coromandel, offshore Islands and the Maniapoto); the public and community groups.
Examples of Special Projects
- 2013 – Led a team to resurvey forest plots I set up on Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands in 2002, to identify changes in forest structure since, and the impact these might have on bird habitat
- Prepared a major report for DOC policy division on “New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity: pressures; trends; legal protection and DOC’s priorities for future managagment” 2013.
- Initiated a research programme for master’s students to look at the invertebrate assemblages in mangroves 2013
- Expert witness on impact of mangrove removal on ecosystems in the Coromandel 2012
- Panel member to review the Strategic Plan for the Management of Invasive weeds (SPMIW) 2010
- Conducted a tender process to prepare a Cathedral Cove Weed Management and Restoration Plan
- Presented DOC’s view point on biodiversity and land clearance regulations at hearings on District Plans
Academic Study University of Tasmania and Lincoln University 2001-2008
Returned to study and completed a masters in ecology (6 masters papers and a research thesis) at Lincoln University. This work won me a scholarship to do a PhD at the University of Tasmania in animal-plant interactions. During this time I tutored, contributed to seminars and conferences and conducted field work for both my research and that of other students.
Co-director Eco-tourism Adventure Company 1991 – 2002
Co-director and co-founder of an eco-tourism company, Bushwise Women. Dept. of Conservation guiding concession: bushwalks, tramping, cycling and kayaking. Multi-day trips New Zealand wide, South Pacific, Australia and Europe. International client base. Sold Bushwise Women business 2001 and West Coast Lodge as going concerns in 2002. Bushwise Women operated till Febraury 2015 when the name was changed to Women’s holidays.
Bushline Photographs. Small business run concurrently with eco-tourism business. Images, photocards and commissions.
Ministry of Education Feb 1989 – June 1990
Continuing Education Officer (acting)
1. Conducted a public consultation process on a framework for establishing a West Coast polytechnic
2. Conducted a Community Education Forum on the proposed re-capitation of Burwood Primary School, Christchurch.
3. Women’s Education Officer: Policy analyst (acting).
Head of Department Special Programmes Christchurch Polytechnic 1984 – 1989
This department was established to cater for training needs arising from changing patterns of employment (redundancies, youth unemployment and women returning to the workforce). Courses: computing, engineering, building, forestry, childcare, organic horticulture. Responsible for 30 full- time and 20 part-time staff, curriculum development, staff training, financial management (full-time permanent position).
Tutor – Art and Community Studies 1979 – 1984
Tutoring – communication skills, Christchurch Polytechnic (full-time permanent position).
Teaching 1971 -77 and parenting
Teaching, Bellevue Primary, Wellington 1971-73, Shirley and Heaton Intermediates, Christchurch 1974, 1977. Two children born during this time and parenting responsibilities begin.
Established a Housing Community
1974 with five couples founded an urban community ‘Creekside’ in Christchurch. This involved building self-contained adjoining houses on an acre of land. The community continued till the Christchurch earthquake destroyed the houses in February 2011.
Community Involvement and Memberships
- Trustee Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust (2015-2021). The trust, linked to CCC, has a budget of $3m and works on improving biodiversity and access to recreational and cultural aspects of Banks Peninsula.
- Trustee Avon-Heathcoate Ihutai Estuary Trust (2016-2021)
- Te Awa Kura/Barnett Park Regreening & Restoration Committee (2019-
- Member of Christchurch 360 Trail Committee (2015) and organiser of the official launch of the trail October in 2015
- Membership, as well as an active committee participation of many organisation over the years, examples include: Volunteer Service Abroad – a year as a volunteer in Fiji, Forest and Bird, Canterbury and Waikato Botanical Societies, EDS, NZ Birds, active in anti-racism groups in the 1970s (ACORD) and 1980s when I was chair of CARE (Citizens Association for Racial Equality).
- Roberts, C.M (ed) 2013. “New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity: pressures; trends; legal protection and DOC’s priorities for future managagment” Internal DOC publication.
- Roberts, C.M., Kirkpatrick, J. B., & McQuillan, P.B. (2011). Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation. Austral Ecology 36, 303-309.
- Roberts, C.M. (2009) Marsupial grazing lawns in Tasmania: maintenance, biota and the effects of climate change. Thesis (unpublished), University of Tasmania, Australia.
- Roberts, C.M., Duncan, R.P., Wilson, K-J. (2006). Burrowing seabirds affect forest regeneration, Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 31: 208-222.
- Roberts, C.M. 2004. The effects of burrowing seabirds on the forests of South East Island (Rangatira), Chatham Islands M. Appl Sc. Thesis (unpublished), Lincoln University, Canterbury.
- Roberts, C.M. 2002. “Matagouri – Weed or High Country Icon?” Wilderness Magazine February Issue pp30-33.
- Roberts, C.M. 1990. Group Skills, Learning How to Learn, Distance learning papers Advanced Studies for Teachers Unit (ASTU), Palmerston North College of Education.
- Roberts, C.M. 1987. The Response of the N.Z. Continuing Education Sector to Rapid Scientific and Technological Change and Changing Patterns of Employment, Department of Education, under contract for UNESCO Continuing Education Unit, Paris
Special Awards (relevant selection)
- New Zealand Ecological Society “Best publication by a new researcher” Sept.2008
- University of Tasmania Graduate Scholarship 2005 – 2008
- Certificate of Distinction – Post-graduate Conference, Lincoln University 2003
- Macpac Sponsorship Award 1994-1999 (NZ outdoor gear manufacturers)
- Nuffield Foundation Study & Travel Bursary to Britain, Scotland and Europe 1986
Professional development and training – a relevant selection
- Attend at least 2 ecological conferences annually to keep abreast of current research. Recent examples: NZ Ecological Society conference 2015, NZ Plant Conservation Conference 2015, Birds NZ 2015, Plants Australia Conf (Tasmania 2014), VII Southern Connections Congress (Dunedin 2013), Wetlands Symposium (Invercargill 2012), NZ Biosecurity Institute (Auckland 2011), Society for Conservation Biology (International conf. 2011)
- Designing studies – statistical sample design for observational studies and monitoring 2011
- Wilding pines workshop – basal bark spray 2011
- Tutsan workshop Taumarunui 2010
- Expert witness course Tauranga 2010
- Te Pükenga Atawhai – Marae Course 2010
- Biosecurity Act training workshop and trialling of new Lucid key for weed ID key 2009
- First Aid (Wilderness) 2013 (NZCEA accredited) and Mountain Safety Training
- Treaty of Waitangi workshops, Tikanga and Te Reo Maori Courses, between 1971-2022 I attended a variety of marae stay overs, courses and workshops regularly, as part of organisations that I was active in such as ECan, DOC, CARE (Citizens Association for Racial Equality) and Christchurch Polytechnic.
- Management training courses which included conflict resolution courses and action research methods (inservice training for HoDs Christchurch Polytechnic 1981-1989)
Dr Colin Meurk Research Associate
Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua
DDI: 03 3219740 M: 027 702 8325
Dr Catherine Beard
Science Advisor Ecology Terrestrial Ecosystems
Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai
Hamilton Service Centre, Waikato
DDI: 07 8581034 M: 027 337 4337
3 Barrer Lane Christchurch 8022
P 03 332 6973 M 021674 107
Botanist and Manager
Long Bay Rd RD3