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MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Chair: Rick Liefting

Deputy Chair: Hugh Leersnyder

Treasurer: Eric Verstappen

National Regional Coordinator: Paul Klinac

University/Education Coordinator: Tom Shand

Website/Social Media Coordinator: Jose Borerro

Coastal News Coordinator: Don Neale

Central Government Representative: Michael Nielsen & Sarah McRae

Members & Partners Liaison: Vacant

Student Representative: Hannah Berger

Administrator & Communications Coordinator: Renée Coutts & Rebekah Haughey

Coastal News Editor: Shelly Biswell

Coastal News: Charles Hendtlass

Rick Liefting

Rick Liefting

Contact details

Chair

Email:

Organisation website: www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/

Rick Liefting is the Senior Regional Hazards Advisor and has 10+ years experience in the coastal, fluvial and natural hazards fields. After completing his MSc from Waikato University, Rick spent five and a half years at NIWA (Hamilton) in the coastal Hydrodynamics/Physical groups and spent a lot of time diving and doing field work. Rick then enjoyed a one year stint as a coastal scientist at Environment Waikato, 8 years at Tonkin & Taylor and now back at Waikato Regional Council. Rick joined the management committee in 2005.

Outside of the coastal realm, Rick is a part time exercise instructor, enjoys motor sport and spending time with his family.

Eric Verstappen

Eric Verstappen

Contact details

Treasurer

Email:

Organisation website: www.tdc.govt.nz

Eric is a Resource Scientist (Rivers & Coast) with the Tasman District Council, a Unitary Authority blessed with wild rivers and superb coastline. Eric has been working in the regional govt sector since 1986, having graduated from the former Ministry of Works and Development.

Eric has specialist interests in river, coastal and flood hazard processes, investigations, assessment and management. He is particularly interested in furthering his knowledge and understanding of river and coastal systems and hazard risk with respect to the impacts and management of projected climate change on development. He champions the sustainable and holistic management of river and coastal environments, particularly with respect to hazard management and mitigation.

Hugh Leersnyder

Hugh Leersnyder

Contact details

Deputy Chair

Email:

Organisation website: www.beca.com

Hugh is an Environmental Scientist at Beca with over 30 years in applied resource management. He has an extensive science (biological and physical) and coastal planning background including a detailed knowledge of regional government resource management responsibilities. Hugh has participated in the NZCS since taking the role of manager Coastal Environment for the former Auckland Regional Council from 1993 to 2005. Hugh is an accredited RMA Commissioner and has been involved in a number of resource consent roles representing either the applicant or the regulator. He has a particular interest in the facilitation and coordination of a range of environmental specialists, ensuring integration across a number disciplines. Hugh is a keen sailor, fisherman and diver, spending as much time as he can by the sea!

Paul Klinac

Paul Klinac

Contact details

National Regional Coordinator

Email:

Paul has been employed within Auckland Council since 2010, and is currently the manager of the Coastal Management Services Team (CMS), comprising specialist coastal scientists and engineers.

Paul’s technical background is in coastal geomorphology and he holds a Master of Science degree (MSc) from the University of Waikato, which also encompassed resource and environmental planning. His current role as a coastal practitioner is multifaceted, drawing on thirteen years of applied experience working with complex coastal management issues. His current role includes region wide assessments and interpretation of coastal processes and hazards, including provision of technical solutions and design support to various Auckland Council asset owners responsible for capital, new and renewal works.

Paul’s role requires an understanding of regulatory and non-regulatory measures to achieve Council obligations in respect of sustainable coastal management, and this extends to his applied knowledge and understanding of the legislation and statutory requirements that relate to the management of the coastal environment within New Zealand. 

Paul currently chairs and leads the Cross-Council Coastal Community of Practice, and facilitates the citizen science initiative “Witness King Tides Auckland”.

Tom Shand

Tom Shand

Contact details

University/Education Coordinator

Email:

Tom is a senior coastal engineer at Tonkin & Taylor. After graduating from Canterbury with a bachelor of Civil Engineering, Tom worked for T&T in Auckland before undertaking a PhD at the University of New South Wales investigating the effect of wave grouping on wave breaking and surf zone processes.

After a stint working at the Water Research Lab in Sydney, Tom returned to T&T where he now leads a specialist coastal engineering and science team who are involved in a range of consulting and research projects in New Zealand, Australia and across the Pacific.

Tom's research interests include wave breaking and surf zone processes, remote sensing techniques, advanced statistical analysis of environmental data and coastal hazard techniques and he is involved in several conference committees including Coasts & Ports 2017 and ICCE2020. Outside of work (and sometimes during) Tom can be found chasing waves around the North Island.

Scott Stevens

Dr Scott Stephens

Contact details

National Regional Coordinator

Email: scott.stephens@niwa.co.nz

Organisation website: www.niwa.co.nz

Scott is a coastal scientist in the Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes group at NIWA. He is experienced in the areas of wave and sea-level time-series analysis and modelling, extreme-value and joint-probability statistical techniques, and hydrodynamic and particle-tracking modelling. Recently projects have applied these skills to derive sea-level hazards and map inundation zones resulting from multiple hazard drivers such as coinciding high storm tides and large waves. Out of the office Scott coaches junior soccer and tennis, and enjoys fly-fishing and kayaking.

Jose Borrero

Jose Borrero

Contact details

Website/Social Media Coordinator

Email:

Organisation website: www.ecoast.co.nz

Jose earned a Ph.D. in Coastal Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles in 2002 and worked as a Post-Doc and Research Professor before coming to New Zealand in 2006 to join the team at ASR Ltd. in Raglan. Jose's background is in civil and environmental engineering with an emphasis on water resources and specialised in numerical modelling. He is particularly interested in tsunami hydrodynamics and the coastal effects of tsunamis. Other research interests include coastal processes, sediment transport, wave breaking and design of erosion control and beach protection structures and schemes as well as laboratory physical modelling.

Jose is keen to participate in the NZCS management committee because it is a great way to become involved in the process of coastal management and to help out with the organization of important events such as the annual Coastal Society meeting and the Coasts and Ports Conference when it is held in New Zealand.

Don Neale

Don Neale

Contact details

Coastal News Coordinator

Organisation website: www.doc.govt.nz

Don is a Technical Advisor in the Department of Conservation Marine Ecosystems Team. He has worked for the Department in Hokitika since 1987, in the fields of marine ecology and coastal management. He has an MSc in Coastal Geography (with some Ecology) from Canterbury University, and has developed a broad interest in the natural environment in general. His works ranges throughout New Zealand with topics as diverse as coastal hazards, estuarine ecology, marine protected areas, whale strandings and seaweed taxonomy. In his spare time, he is a keen advocate for Hokitika and the West Coast, and he gets involved in hockey, drama, art, the great outdoors and huhu grubs.

Michael Nielsen

Michael Nielsen

Contact details

Central Government Representative

Email:

Organisation website: www.mpi.govt.nz

Michael works as an Aquaculture Analyst for the Aquaculture Unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries. After completing a Bachelor of Planning from The University of Auckland, he spent five years working as a planner for MWH in Whangarei and Dunedin prior to joining the Aquaculture Unit when it was established in 2010. Michael joined the management committee in 2013.

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, and is an avid follower of NBA basketball.

Sarah McRae

Contact details

Central Government Representative

Email:

Organisation website: www.doc.govt.nz

Tom Shand

Tom Shand

Contact details

Email: TShand@tonkintaylor.co.nz

Organisation website: www.tonkintaylor.co.nz/

Tom is a senior coastal engineer at Tonkin & Taylor. After graduating from Canterbury with a bachelor of Civil Engineering, Tom worked for T&T in Auckland before undertaking a PhD at the University of New South Wales investigating the effect of wave grouping on wave breaking and surf zone processes. After a stint working at the Water Research Lab in Sydney, Tom returned to T&T where he now leads a specialist coastal engineering and science team who are involved in a range of consulting and research projects in New Zealand, Australia and across the Pacific. Tom’s research interests include wave breaking and surf zone processes, remote sensing techniques, advanced statistical analysis of environmental data and coastal hazard techniques and he is involved in several conference committees including Coasts & Ports 2017 and ICCE2020. Outside of work (and sometimes during) Tom can be found chasing waves around the North Island.

Hannah Berger

Hannah Berger

Contact details

Student Representative

Email:

Hannah has her Bachelor of Science in Geology and is currently working towards her Masters qualification at the University of Canterbury. Her MSc thesis assesses shoreline response to future sea level changes in a tectonically active environment. The focus of the research is to integrate coastal hazard research and management, to help coastal communities develop resilience to future hazards.
Hannah loves to be outdoors. She enjoys walking/ tramping , kayaking over the summer and spending time at the beach. She is excited to be a part of the NZCS committee and is looking forward to represent the society as a student advocate.

Renee Foster

Renee Coutts

Contact details

Website & Digest Coordinator
Administrator & Communications Coordinator

Email:

Renee completed her MSc degree at the University of Waikato where her thesis focused on the physical shoreline change and beach rotation of Pauanui and Tairua Beaches, with regards to changes in wave climate due to the presence of offshore islands. Renee's interest in all things coastal has developed from a young age with hobbies including scuba diving, boating and fishing. She joined the Management Committee as coordinator in 2012.

Rebekah Haughey

Rebekah Haughey

Contact details

Administrator & Communications Coordinator

Email:

Rebekah is currently studying towards completing her MSc at the University of Waikato. Her thesis is focused on developing a numerical model to help understand the sediment/mangrove dynamics in the Firth of Thames. She has a strong passion for the coastal environment and is excited about developing a career in coastal science. Rebekah enjoys being a part of NZCS as it provides great networking opportunities.

Outside of study/work Rebekah loves surfing, snowboarding, tramping and fishing.

Shelly Biswell

Contact details

Coastal News Editor

Email:

Charles Hendtlass

Contact details

Coastal News