Hon Eugenie Sage

Minister of ConservationMinister for Land Information

Associate Minister for the Environment

Hon Eugenie Sage’s passion for nature and a healthy environment has driven her work as a Green MP and now Minister. As Greens’ water spokesperson 2011-2014, she launched and led the party’s swimmable rivers campaign, which helped make water an election issue in 2017.   

Eugenie was a member of the Local Government and Environment select committee from 2011-September 2017; and deputy chair from 2011-2014.

She is a former Environment Canterbury regional councillor from 2007-2010. The restoration of regional democracy in Canterbury is one of her priorities this term.

Eugenie worked for Forest and Bird for 13 years and played a key role in the Society’s campaigns to protect West Coast forests and South Island high country, and in its RMA advocacy to protect indigenous biodiversity. She has degrees in law and history and a diploma in journalism.

“As a child growing up in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland I was able to climb trees, play in a stream, and swim at the beach. I want nature to thrive and all children and New Zealanders to be able to enjoy wild and natural places close to where they live. It’s part of what makes us New Zealanders.”

Dr Judi Hewitt

Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology

Programme Leader - Managing Marine Stressors



Judi Hewitt is a statistical ecologist who uses fundamental understandings of how marine ecosystems function to predict how they respond to human activities.  She leads the NIWA Coasts and Ocean Centre program on Managing Marine Ecosystem and is a professor in the Statistics Department and the University of Auckland.  For the last 4 years, she has been a programme leader in the National Science Challenge ‘Sustainable Seas”. 


Research and management in a multiple stressors world; causation and complications


Marine ecosystems today are under immense pressure from growing populations wanting higher standards of living.  From food provision to cultural and recreational opportunities, it all translates into more use and (to date) more waste and pollution.  It is rare for any marine area to be affected by a single human activity and local activities are overlain on larger scale activities and changing global processes.  In this presentation I discuss the likely changes this requires to the research we do (both fundamental and applied) and the management-knowledge interface.  I briefly summarise what we know and don’t know about the cumulative effects of multiple stressors, and the relationship between uncertainty and decision making.  Finally, I discuss some likely pitfalls and ways forward.


Dr Madeline Green

Researcher - Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Senior project leader - Otlet


Madeline Green is a molecular ecologist, shark scientist and entrepreneur who has recently completed her PhD at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia. Madeline’s recent research works to understand the movement and breeding behaviour of shark species in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Her research estimates biological stocks, parentage & kinship, providing important information for commercial and small-scale fisheries. While formally trained as a tropical marine biologist, Madeline’s diverse research career has led her to spend extensive time in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Madeline also runs the biological sample-sharing database; Otlet, helping scientist’s share, source and request biological samples from research institutes globally. Madeline’s work has been recognised with a number of awards, the most recent being the Foundation for Young Australians 2018 Environmental fellow.


Rethinking how we undertake, collaborate and communicate science


Increases in the capacity and demand of technology are driving large-scale changes to how scientists operate and collaborate. In the field of population genetics, novel whole genome approaches have critically changed how we understand movement and kinship for many species. How we as scientists use technology to our advantage and how we communicate our findings is rapidly changing. Moreover, the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and multiple analytical approaches to solve scientific problems is higher than ever. With this in mind, I will reflect as an early career researcher on different processes of problem-solving by taking advantage of technological innovations and communication tools. 

Irene Middleton

NZMSS Student Research Grant winner 2017

Massey University


Irene is a practising applied scientist with over 10 years’ experience in the fields of marine biosecurity, aquaculture, taxonomy and community engagement. She has previously worked for NIWA, DOC and Northland Regional Council, and has participated in several marine biodiversity expeditions with the Auckland Museum. Irene has now chosen to embark on a PhD to extend her research skills and has been fortunate to receive support from NZMSS through a student assistance grant. 

Irene’s PhD research is interested in the subtropical, tropical and rare fishes in New Zealand waters, that may serve as indicators of change in our marine environment. Irene has been observing, photographing, and recording new fishes and invertebrate species in northeastern New Zealand waters over several years. During her PhD, she hopes to build on these observations. Her research has involved collating historical records of subtropical, tropical and rare fishes found in New Zealand, setting up a citizen-science platform to help capture sightings, and undertaking quantitative surveys of marine debris and flotsam that may form an important vector of dispersal for organisms arriving from beyond New Zealand’s shorelines.

Edward Ellison 

A sheep farmer on the Otago Peninsula, an active member of Otakou marae and former Deputy Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu


Edward Ellison -a sheep farmer on the Otago Peninsula, an active member of Otakou marae and former Deputy Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, with experience in cultural advocacy, Treaty of Waitangi Claims negotiations, environmental management, policy development and governance.  He is current Chairperson of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and has previously served on the South-East Otago Marine Protection Forum, Otago Conservation Board, QEII National Trust Board and the Otago University Council. 

He is a qualified and independent RMA Hearings Commissioner with experience in policy, plan change and resource consent hearings for councils across the South Island.  He is the chairperson of Otago based environmental consultancy Aukaha and the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu HSNO Committee and holds advisory roles with the South Island High Country Forum (LINZ), the NZ Biodiversity Strategy (DOC) review and the Kāhui Kaumātua (EPA).


Te Ao Maori


Any actions that will impact on our environment the world of our ancestors becomes an important reference point, a world of demigods and reciprocal relationships, and lore that govern the actions of tangatawhenua.  

Legislative tools and authorities set in place a marine management regime including commodification of the oceans natural resources, over fishing led to a quota system.  The introduction of fisheries quota triggered the granting of a percentage of all fisheries quota to Maori.  

The Marine Reserves Act 1971, set up to preserve areas of sea and foreshore in their natural state as the habitat for marine life for scientific study.  Off the Otago coast, marine reserve proposals pitted tangata whenua into an uneven and adversary role against a department or NGO’s.  

SEMPF (2015) was a model for community to assess and identify values and places to apply protection or management tools.  Marine reserves still alienate iwi, and do not reflect the changing nature of the ocean, eg; climate change, sedimentation from land or quota shortcomings.

For iwi co-management and generational reviews were a requirement.  To maintain connectedness, matauranga, while each generation has a role to review a marine reserves effectiveness.



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Registrations NOW OPEN

Abstract Submissions CLOSED

Author Notification 20 May

Programme Available 6 June

Earlybird Registrations Close 7 June

Social Function 2 July

Conference Begins 3 July

Conference Ends 5 July


Liz Slooten (University of Otago)
Kim Currie (NIWA/University of Otago)
Will Rayment (University of Otago)
Sam Thomas (University of Otago)
Ani Kainamu-Murchie (NIWA)
Rob Lewis (University of Otago)
Marta Guerra (University of Otago)

Jerusha Bennett  (University of Otago)


Tracy Young

On-Cue Conferences
Tel: 03 928 0620