Forever Protected
QEII National trust

Our mission is to inspire private landowners to protect and enhance open spaces of ecological and cultural significance. Almost 70% of New Zealand is in private land ownership, so protecting biodiversity and heritage on private land is critical to reversing the decline of indigenous biodiversity and preserving our history. 

We are an independent charitable trust that partners with private landowners to protect sites on their land with covenants. A covenant is an agreement between us and a landowner to protect land forever. The landowner continues to own and manage the protected land, and the covenant and protection stays on the land, even when the property is sold to a new owner. 

Our partnerships have created a growing network of over 4,900 protected areas throughout Aotearoa, ranging from small backyard patches to huge swathes of high country. These covenants protect more than 190,000 ha of private land, and play a hugely critical role as a refuge for some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered biodiversity and ecosystems. 

Our mission is to inspire landowners to protect and enhance open spaces of ecological and cultural significance. Waim to do this by: 

  1. Increasing the area of high-value land under robust protection 
  2. Enhancing the values within protected areas 
  3. Working as part of large-scale projects 
  4. Inspiring people to connect with QEII-protected places 

Learn more about how we are working to achieve our mission by viewing our QEII National Trust Strategy 2020-2025 one-pager. 

We have around 20 people in our head office in Wellington – this team covers legal, ecological, health and safety, and policy, and coordinates nationwide activities. You can find the contact details for our Senior Leadership Team here. We also have 27 Regional Representatives nationwide. You can find your local Rep here.

Board of
Directors

Our Board is responsible for executive control and management of the QEII National Trust.

Our Board is made up of six directors. The Minister of Conservation appoints four directors who have the right mix of environmental and conservation values, and who can reflect the interests of rural landowners, and the interests of the Maori community. QEII National Trust members elect the remaining two directors.

Bruce Wills
chair

Bruce farms sheep and cattle and grows grapes in Hawkes Bay having previously spent 20 years in Banking and Investment, most of this time being in Hamilton, Wellington, and Auckland.

In 2008 the Wills family won the Hawke’s Bay Farm Environmental Award. Bruce is Chair of Ravensdown, Primary ITO, Biodiversity Hawkes Bay and several MPI/Industry SFFF investment projects. He is a previous President of Federated Farmers and was a director on the QEII National Trust board for five and a half years before being becoming chair. Bruce was appointed chair by the Minister of Conservation in 2020. In 2021 Bruce was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to agriculture and the environment.

Karen Schumacher
Director

Karen is a dairy, beef, and forestry farmer with four QEII covenants on two farming properties. She is a chartered accountant with experience in both the commercial and not for profit environment. She has extensive experience at Board level in the area of evaluating’ supporting and funding conservation efforts by the community and is the current General Manager and Chair to the East Taranaki Environment Trust. Karen was appointed by the minister in 2020.

Alan Livingston
Director

Alan has extensive governance experience and is a former Chair of the Waikato Regional Council. He has served on the Waikato River Authority, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the Waipa River Catchment Committee, and numerous Joint Management Committees with Waikato-Tainui, Raukawa, Maniapoto, Tuwharetoa, and Te Arawa. He also offers skills in financial acumen with over 20 years of experience preparing, consulting, approving, and monitoring large budgets. Alan was appointed by the Minister in 2020.

Neil Cullen
Director

Neil is a farm owner with a 50-year career in forestry and farming. He has extensive experience in the farm and forestry sector and has previously won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment award. Neil is the current president of the NZ Farm Forestry Association. His family whakapapa to Ngāi Tahu, and he has an understanding and appreciation for the Māori concept of Taiao. Neil has five QEII covenants on his farm. Neil was appointed by the Minister in 2020.

Donna Field
Director

Donna has a background in resource management, and is a Director of Cleardale Station, a 1400 ha sheep and beef property in the Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury. There are two QEII covenanted areas on the property. She has governance and fund allocation experience and a strong interest in plant, ecosystem, and landscape conservation. Donna is Co-Chair of the Whitcombe Landcare Group, a representative on the High Country Advisory Group, a trustee of the Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust and is an initial founder of the Millerton Plateau Protection Society on the Stockton Coal plateau. She has worked extensively with DOC, ECAN and Ashburton and Selwyn district councils on biodiversity enhancement projects and has established an interpretive walking track in conjunction with Arowhenua on their Gorge property. Donna is serving her third term on the board, originally being elected by QEII National Trust members in 2016, 2019 and again in 2022.

GRAHAM MOURIE
Director

Graham was raised on a Taranaki dairy farm, with the first of the four QEII covenanted areas he has been involved in establishing on his family farm in the late ‘80s. Being an early adopter of riparian planting and pest management, his current farm partnership was recognized with a Taranaki Regional Farm Environmental award 2012. Graham is a shareholder and Executive Director of farming for dairy fund Southern Pastures and has worked with DOC, WAC and regional councils on conservation/management projects including access to the Mokaihaha Kokako conservation area and access  along the Rakaia River. He is also a trustee of the Rugby Foundation and The Graeme Dingle Foundation Wellington and is a former director of New Zealand Rugby and the International Rugby Board where he chaired the Rugby Committee. He is serving his second term as a director, he was originally elected by QEII National Trust members in 2019 and then again in 2022.

Bruce Wills
Chair

Bruce farms sheep and cattle and grows grapes in Hawkes Bay having previously spent 20 years in Banking and Investment, most of this time being in Hamilton, Wellington, and Auckland.

In 2008 the Wills family won the Hawke’s Bay Farm Environmental Award. Bruce is Chair of Ravensdown, Primary ITO, Biodiversity Hawkes Bay and several MPI/Industry SFFF investment projects. He is a previous President of Federated Farmers and was a director on the QEII National Trust board for five and a half years before being becoming chair. Bruce was appointed chair by the Minister of Conservation in 2020. In 2021 Bruce was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to agriculture and the environment.

Karen Schumacher
Director

Karen is a dairy, beef, and forestry farmer with four QEII covenants on two farming properties. She is a chartered accountant with experience in both the commercial and not for profit environment. She has extensive experience at Board level in the area of evaluating’ supporting and funding conservation efforts by the community and is the current General Manager and Chair to the East Taranaki Environment Trust. Karen was appointed by the minister in 2020.

Alan Livingston
Director

Alan has extensive governance experience and is a former Chair of the Waikato Regional Council. He has served on the Waikato River Authority, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the Waipa River Catchment Committee, and numerous Joint Management Committees with Waikato-Tainui, Raukawa, Maniapoto, Tuwharetoa, and Te Arawa. He also offers skills in financial acumen with over 20 years of experience preparing, consulting, approving, and monitoring large budgets. Alan was appointed by the Minister in 2020.

Neil Cullen
Director

Mr Neil Cullen of South Otago. Neil is a farm owner with a 50-year career in forestry and farming. He has extensive experience in the farm and forestry sector and has previously won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment award. Neil is the current president of the NZ Farm Forestry Association. His family whakapapa to Ngāi Tahu, and he has an understanding and appreciation for the Māori concept of Taiao. Neil has five QEII covenants on his farm. He was appointed by the Minister in 2020.

Donna Field
Director

Donna has a background in resource management, and is a Director of Cleardale Station, a 1400 ha sheep and beef property in the Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury. There are two QEII covenanted areas on the property. She has governance and fund allocation experience and a strong interest in plant, ecosystem, and landscape conservation. Donna is Co-Chair of the Whitcombe Landcare Group, a representative on the High Country Advisory Group, a trustee of the Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust and is an initial founder of the Millerton Plateau Protection Society on the Stockton Coal plateau. She has worked extensively with DOC, ECAN and Ashburton and Selwyn district councils on biodiversity enhancement projects and has established an interpretive walking track in conjunction with Arowhenua on their Gorge property. Donna is serving her third term on the board, originally being elected by QEII National Trust members in 2016, 2019 and again in 2022.

Graham Mourie
Director

Graham was raised on a Taranaki dairy farm, with the first of the four QEII covenanted areas he has been involved in establishing on his family farm in the late ‘80s. Being an early adopter of riparian planting and pest management, his current farm partnership was recognized with a Taranaki Regional Farm Environmental award 2012. Graham is a shareholder and Executive Director of farming for dairy fund Southern Pastures and has worked with DOC, WAC and regional councils on conservation/management projects including access to the Mokaihaha Kokako conservation area and access  along the Rakaia River. He is also a trustee of the Rugby Foundation and The Graeme Dingle Foundation Wellington and is a former director of New Zealand Rugby and the International Rugby Board where he chaired the Rugby Committee. He is serving his second term as a director, he was originally elected by QEII National Trust members in 2019 and then again in 2022.

Senior
Leadership Team

Dan Coup
CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Jane Strachan
MANAGER LAND AND LEGAL PROTECTION

Legal, land protection, ecology
04 474 1682

Laura Dalby
MANAGER COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION

Communications, media, publications, events, membership, GIS, signage
027 240 2487

Deirdre Parag
MANAGER BUSINESS AND FINANCE SERVICES

Finance, HR, IT, office administration, accounts and invoicing
04 474 1686

Dan Coup
CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Jane Strachan
MANAGER LAND AND LEGAL PROTECTION

Legal, land protection, ecology
04 474 1682

Laura Dalby
MANAGER COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION

Communications, media, publications, events, membership, GIS, signage
027 240 2487

Deirdre Parag
MANAGER BUSINESS AND FINANCE SERVICES

Finance, HR, IT, office administration, accounts and invoicing
04 474 1686

Our
Legislation

QEII National Trust was established under the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act in 1977, to aid in conservation on private land. The purpose of the Act is “to encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space.”

We were named after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to mark her Silver Jubilee.

As well as our own Act, we also often interact with the following legislation:

Conservation Act 1987
Overseas Investment Act 2005
Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998
Resource Management Act 1991
Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
Walking Access Act 2008

QEii Act

Our Act establishes the QEII National Trust as a statutory organisation independent from Government, and gives us power to protect open space in Aotearoa. Specifically we can:

  • Register open space covenants to protect land forever
  • Manage land we own
  • Advise the Minister of Conservation, and other Ministers as appropriate, on matters related to open space
  • Promote research into matters related to open space
  • Provide grants for projects related to open space

Working
With others

We work closely with regional and district councils around the country, as well as the Department of Conservation, to get the best outcomes for open space around New Zealand. This can be in the form of financial support, as well as advice and training for landowners so that they can best manage their protected land.

We strongly support Weedbusters, the interagency weeds awareness and education programme encouraging communities and landowners to work together to stop weedy plants taking over New Zealand’s amazing natural areas. If you would like to be involved, please contact your Regional Rep. For more info check out their website here.

We have been fortunate to receive Jobs for Nature funding through the Department of Conservation for a range of projects.  

This funding will support us to expand our ‘business as usual’ work, partnering with more landowners to protect the special places on their land, while also supporting us to undertake some exciting new conservation projects with landowners in existing QEII covenants. 

We’ll be doing this through several projects:

Protecting the Gains

This is an $8 million investment over four years, where we are working with government agencies, local government, community groups and landowners across Aotearoa New Zealand to provide legal protection of other Jobs for Nature-funded projects.

This funding is to protect and secure enduring outcomes where Jobs for Nature investment is being made on private land. We’re working with recipients of Jobs for Nature funding on private land to offer two forms of legal protection. Where suitable, our gold standard form of protection, Open Space Covenants will be used. A new form of legal protection, called a ‘Restoration Agreement’, has been developed for Jobs for Nature projects that do not have strong enough existing biodiversity values to meet the Open Space Covenant criteria for protection in perpetuity.

Find out more about our ‘Protecting the Gains’ work here.

 

QEII covenant deer eradication project (NZ wide)

This is one of two Jobs for Nature projects that is funded through DOC’s Private Land Biodiversity Fund, supporting landowners with existing QEII covenants.

Funding of $2 million over 3 years will support this project to exclude pest deer from existing QEII covenants where this work has been identified as the highest conservation priority. The project will engage fencing and ungulate-culling contractors to exclude pest deer and upgrade conventional fencing to deer-proof status in participating covenants.

This is an internally run project. QEII regional representatives are identifying priority areas for this work and will be in touch with you if your covenant may be suitable for inclusion.  


Accelerating stewardship of rare and threatened species (Eastern South Island)

This is the second Jobs for Nature project funded through DOC’s Private Land Biodiversity Fund, supporting landowners with existing QEII covenants.

This project will work over 3 years with selected covenants in Eastern South Island that support and protect some of Aotearoa’s most rare and threatened indigenous biodiversity. The project will involve a combination of ecological survey and planning, as well as a range of site-specific on-the-ground conservation actions.

This is an internally run project. QEII regional representatives in the project area are working to identify and finalise sites to be included in the project.  

Remarkables Station is a nine-hundred-hectare farm located at the foot of the Remarkables Range near Queenstown, on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. It is currently leased as a working deer, beef and sheep farm. The station has been in the ownership of the Jardine family for almost 100 years.   

In 2020 Dick and Jillian Jardine announced their intention to gift Remarkables Station to the QEII National Trust to be held in perpetuity. QEII will take over the property in 2022 and we are currently planning for our future role as custodian and manager of the station. As part of this process, we have commissioned Abacus Bio and e3Scientific to prepare a long-term strategic plan for Remarkables Station. The strategic plan will articulate a vision, long term objectives, guiding principles and actions for the management and conservation of Remarkables Station to 2050.    

More information about the planning for the future of Remarkables Station can be found here.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) is a unique network of forest conservation initiatives, which involves all 52 countries of the Commonwealth. The QCC is committed to raising awareness of the value of indigenous forests, and to saving them for future generations.

QCC uses the Commonwealth network to facilitate a programme of knowledge exchange activities, to share best practices, and to create new collaborative initiatives that contribute to forest conservation across the globe.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to support the QCC. The Government allocated $1 million over three years to help the QEII National Trust extend the network of protected private land. The first of these covenants was Mt Terako, which was established by Sue and Peter Turnbull in partnership with QEII National Trust.

A QCC covenant provides the same legal protection as a standard covenant. The landowner will need to be willing to have additional signage on their covenant, be happy for the possibility of some publicity of their covenant and have the QEII National Trust compile a summary of the values being protected and sent to the Governance Groups of the QCC initiative.

The criteria for a site to be eligible as a QCC covenant include:

  • Be permanently protected as an open space covenant by the QEII National Trust
  • Be at least 3 hectares
  • Be predominantly a closed canopy of primary or advanced secondary indigenous forest
  • Meet at least one national priority for biodiversity protection on private land or add to a protected corridor/landscape
  • Have a willing landowner who agrees to the branding conditions, publicity, and aggregate info sharing linked to the QCC programme

When an area proposed for protection meets the following criteria, and the landowners don’t mind some potential publicity, the covenant proposal can be put forward as a ‘Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy covenant’. We report back to the Commonwealth about these covenants, which make up some of our most spectacular protected areas.

Other Organisations &
Groups

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