Our People

Bill English

“Predator Free NZ is a brilliant generational challenge to restore our environment. I support the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust because this community effort makes the vision possible in this beautiful landscape, and it’s our bit of the national mission.”

WWT Patron, Sir Bill English

Mayor Jim Boult QLDC

“I’m proud to be a patron of the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust and wholeheartedly endorse their commitment towards our community goal of flourishing ecosystems that are predator-free under our kaitiakitanga. I continue to be impressed with the results the trust have been able to achieve in the co-ordination of community groups focused on the big picture solution to pest management in our district.”

WWT Patron, Jim Boult


Our Staff

Joanne Conroy, Executive Officer

Joanne has lived in the Queenstown area since 1984. She had a career in the property industry and was a previous owner of APL property where she developed expertise in the management of Local and Central Government property portfolios.

Joanne’s passion for the outdoors, conservation and wildlife stems from her early life in South Westland where she now owns a holiday home, and from walking and cycling local tracks. Joanne now sits on a wide range of Boards and Trusts both charitable and commercial, is a Chartered Company Directors, a Commander of the Order of St John and a Justice of the Peace.

Joanne Conroy


Our Trustees

  • Christina Becker-Fifield – Glenorchy, RDWT
  • Nicky Gray – Enviroschools
  • Phil Green – Conservation Officer, Queenstown Climbing Club
  • Dawn Palmer – Tuckers Beach
  • Tony Paterson
  • Ben Perchik – Forest and Bird, Fernhill Alpine Birdsong
  • David Penrose (Chairman) – Lake Hayes Predator Free
  • Warren Skerrett – Ngāi Tahu Representative
  • Daniel Sweeney – Hanley’s Farm Predator Free

Christina Becker-Fifield, Glenorchy, RDWT

Chrissy is a field ranger out in Glenorchy, carrying out both pest control and bird monitoring for the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust. As a former wildlife keeper for Queenstown’s Kiwi Park, Chrissy enjoys being able to apply her passion and knowledge of New Zealand’s taonga species in the field.

Chrissy moved over from the UK back in 2015 and has made Glenorchy her home. She fell in love with the beautiful landscape and community spirit here and feels lucky to be able to help protect this wonderful corner of the world.


Nicky Gray, Enviroschools

Nicky has lived in Queenstown with her family for the past 15 years. Originally from the North Island she has always had a passion for the environment. She was a teacher in Queenstown and is now the Enviroschools Facilitator for the Wakatipu area. She works in all the schools in the Wakatipu Basin to support learning about the natural environment and sustainability.

Nicky enjoys the outdoors especially when gardening, walking or skiing. She loves working with children and is inspired by their energy and passion for the environment. She hopes that through taking action together we can increase our fauna and birdlife in the Wakatipu for the future generations.

Nicky Gray

Philip Green, Conservation Officer, Queenstown Climbing Club

Phil heralds from the far north and after completing a Physics degree at Auckland University travelled extensively overseas, finally ending up in Scotland where he developed a passion for climbing, the environment and the outdoors.

Since returning to New Zealand, Phil and his partner settled in Queenstown, started their own tourism business and became active in the local climbing community.  In 2013 the Queenstown Climbing Club and DOC put the first predator trap line in Wye Creek and with Phil’s subsequent role as QCC Conservation Officer, he helped plan, manage and develop the Wye Creek project installing new trap lines, monitoring lines and bird count stations. He is now helping set up a similar trapping strategy for Queenstown Hill.

Phil is delighted to be involved in the Wakatipu Wildlife Trust – helping other trapping groups, sharing his knowledge, his love for the environment and representing the Queenstown Climbing Club’s mandate to promote climbing in the Wakatipu and protecting our environment for future generations of climbers.

Philip Green

Dawn Palmer, Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve

Dawn has spent most of her life in Queenstown and is ‘living the dream’ through her involvement in conservation and ecological restoration projects. She has worked in the field of ecology since the mid-1980s in South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and for the Department of Conservation here in the Whakatipu Area as the Biodiversity Asset Manager.

Dawn and her husband started their family in 2001 and she has been a self-employed ecologist since 2002. Dawn has served a variety of community groups after arriving in Queenstown in 1993 including 7 years as a Trustee on the Queenstown [Wakatipu] Trails Trust, retiring after the first trail’s ribbon was cut in 2012; she also served on the Queenstown Primary School PTA for 11 years.

She recently joined the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust and the expanding community effort to remove predators so we can better support the recovery and enjoyment of our birds and lizards. She is particularly passionate about monitoring birds, including our seasonal migratory species, improving nature literacy and supporting community conservation projects.

Dawn Palmer WWT

Tony Paterson

My love for Queenstown, both for its people and its natural beauty, has been a lifelong affair. In fact, it started before I was born; my extended family had a much-loved and visited bach in Frankton and later built in Dalefield, where we were part of a fantastic network of people.

I’ve carried this sense of community throughout my life, and am deeply passionate about working for the mutual benefit of local people and environment. A key way this manifests for me is respecting our beautiful backyard, and exploring sustainability solutions that will protect and enhance our native wildlife for years to come.

Tony Paterson

David Penrose (Chairman), Lake Hayes Predator Free

David is a senior associate of New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty and a member of the REINZ.

Having established numerous relationships with clients through property over many years David is highly recognised within the greater Queenstown community. He is well respected and understands the need throughout the Southern Lakes to protect our natural habitat, and native bird species.

This has been enhanced recently through the efforts of David to establish a group of local residents to make Lake Hayes Predator Free.

He and his family reside at Lake Hayes, and enjoy the outdoor capital of New Zealand particularly given skiing, fishing, tramping, and hunting are all on our door step.    

David knows what it takes to put the building blocks in place and is committed to passing on the baton to make a difference particularly as we face the challenge and benefits of making New Zealand Predator Free by 2050.

David Penrose

Ben Perchik, Forest and Bird

Ben is originally from the USA (Virginia) and has now been living in Fernhill, Queenstown with his wife, Sue for the last 10 years.  Ben’s career was in the sciences (experimental psychology) and spent most of his early life as an operations research analyst working for the US Gov’t.  Later in his career and after retirement, his focus turned towards nature and more earthly connections. Ben currently serves on the Board of the Central Otago – Lakes Branch Forest & Bird.

Back in the States Ben was a member of the National Wildlife Federation serving as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat Steward and also as a Climate Change Ambassador.  He also served on the Ecological Advisory Committee for his local community.  Ben has done landscaping as a hobby and for many of the organizations that he belonged to.  His efforts were to re-establish habitats for the native flora and fauna, thus helping to create wildlife corridors for Native plants and animals.

Ben’s goals for the group are to preserve and re-establish native habitat; countering the impacts of human encroachment.

Ben Perchik

Warren Skerrett

Ko Warren Skerrett toku Ingoa
Ka tangi te titi
Ka tangi te kākā
Ka tangi hoki ahau
Tihewa mauriora

Warren is an enthusiastic supporter of protecting wildlife. Originally from a Bluff fishing family, He has touched the Natural wonders of all of Fiordland’s sounds, the southern coast , Solander rock and to all of Stewart Island. He has experienced the deadly effects of a rat Invasion on the Mutton bird Islands off southern Southern Stewart Island, and then, the dramatic return of Wildlife, after an extensive aerial rat eradication program.

We are in a generation where mind sets are changing and the WWT is the crux of that change.

Warren Skerrett

Daniel Sweeney, Hanley’s Farm Predator Free

Daniel is a blow in from Scotland and has called Queenstown home since 2010. The initial 100% Pure NZ image soon gave way to the shocking reality that much of New Zealand’s native biodiversity has already been lost or is in serious trouble. Daniel is keen to help with the collective turning of the tide, with predator control efforts and native planting helping to protect the remaining wildlife of the Whakatipu. 

Daniel Sweeney