Management Committee

Chairman: Hugh Leersnyder

Deputy Chair: Tom Shand

Treasurer: Eric Verstappen & Michael Allis

National Regional Coordinator: Paul Klinac & Mark Ivamy

University/Education Coordinator: Murray Ford

Website/Social Media Coordinator: Jose Borerro

Coastal News Coordinator: Don Neale

Central Government Representative:Sarah McRae

Relationship Liaison: Tom Shand

Young Professional Representative: Hannah Berger

Administrator & Communications Coordinator: Renée Coutts & Rebekah Haughey

Coastal News Editor: Charles Hendtlass




Hugh Leersnyder Chairman

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!

Tom Shand Chairman

As a second generation coastal scientist I have spent my entire life on the coast; it is destructive, dynamic and captivating. I now live in Whaingaroa (Raglan) and work as a Coastal Engineer for Tonkin + Taylor on a range of consulting and research projects throughout NZ and the Pacific.

I currently have the privilege of chairing the NZ Coastal Society. I am passionate about this organisation as a leader in promoting sustainable management of New Zealand's coastal environment. With a dedicated team of administrators, committee members and regional representatives we are working hard to promote this vision and to make our coast great again.

Eric Verstappen Treasurer

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.

Paul Klinac National Regional Coordinator

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”.

Mark Ivamy National Regional Coordinator

I live at Papamoa Beach with my wife Storm and two kids, Siena and Rico. We love getting outdoors and exploring Aotearoa and have recently completed our 3rd Great Walk.

My background is in coastal science and I was lucky to study at both Waikato and Auckland University alongside some amazing people. I now work for Toi Moana (Bay of Plenty Regional Council) as the Natural Hazard Advisor.

I enjoy working with the community to increase our understanding in this area. Building partnerships and collaborating across organisations to capture and communicate this knowledge is a rewarding challenge.

The NZCS supports this challenge by bringing together planners, scientists, engineers and community leaders.

Jose Borrero Director, eCoast Marine Consulting and Research

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. In 2012, Jose transitioned over to a Director role at the newly formed consultancy, 'eCoast Marine Consulting and Research.' 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.

Don Neale Coastal News Coordinator

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.

Sarah McRae Central Government Representative
Sarah is an RMA Planner at the Department of Conservation with over 25 years' experience in coastal resource management. Sarah's work covers a range areas such as spatial planning, aquaculture, coastal hazards planning and the NZCPS 2010. Sarah has been an expert planning witness before the Environment Court. Sarah joined the NZCS National Committee in 2012. As 'Central Government Representative' Sarah liaises with other central government agencies with an interest in coastal management. Sarah is a keen mountain biker, kayaker and tramper.

Hannah Berger Young Professional Representative

Hannah currently works as an Environmental Scientist/Coastal Geomorphologist at GHD Limited in Auckland. Hannah's technical background is in geology, hazard management, coastal geomorphology and she holds a Master of Science degree (MSc) from the University of Canterbury. Hannah loves to be outdoors. She enjoys walking/ tramping, kayaking, and wakeboarding during the summer.

Hannah is an active member of GHD's Young Professional committee as a sustainability representative. She has also become involved with Futureintech and is excited to promote coastal science in schools.

Hannah enjoys being involved with the NZCS committee and is looking forward to organising student and professional mentoring events around the country.

Renee Coutts Administrator & Communications Coordinator

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 Administrator & Communications Coordinator

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.

Charles Hendtlass Coastal News Editor

Charles has been a copy editor and technical writer for some 30 years, following short stints as a high school teacher and as an energy researcher at Canterbury University. After completing undergraduate degrees in Physics and English, Charles completed a Masters in Resource Management that led (accidentally) to a career in writing and editing. Much of this was spent at the Centre for Advanced Engineering at the University of Canterbury where he ran the Centre's publishing programme, though he has been a freelancer for the past eight years. Charles' involvement in NZCS goes back 20 years, when he first started desktop publishing Coastal News.

Michael Allis Deputy Treasurer

Mike is a coastal engineer at NIWA. After graduating from Canterbury University with a bachelor of Civil Engineering, Mike worked for Opus in Christchurch before undertaking a PhD at the University of New South Wales (Sydney) Water Research Laboratory investigating the complex hydrodynamic processes which take place throughout wave breaking in deep-water.

After a post-doc working in swash-zone sediment transport at the Water Research Laboratory in Sydney, Mike returned to New Zealand where he is now a member of NIWA’s coastal and estuarine processes group in Hamilton, and works across a number of coastal projects in both consulting and research projects in New Zealand.

Mike’s professional interests include wave breaking processes, swash zone hydrodynamics and beach sediment transport, coastal hazards and extreme conditions, and recently has been involved developing strategies to help communities adapt to coastal changes. Mike is involved in conference committees including Coasts & Ports 2019 (Tasmania) and the recent NZCS 2018 conference (Tauranga Moana). Outside of work Mike can usually be found spending time with his family on the beach in Tauranga.

Amy Robinson Communications Coordinator

Amy is the Planning and Land Manager at the Department of Conservation.  She has a Masters degree in physical coastal science from University of Waikato and has previously worked at Waikato Regional Council for 12 years in coastal resource management, including managing the coastal consenting team.  Amy’s primary area of interest is in coastal hazard management and preservation of natural character in the coastal environment.  She has been a member of NZCS since 2001.