Posted By QEII National Trust | August 4, 2020

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has appointed Bruce Wills as Chairperson of Queen Elizabeth II National Trust for a term of three years, following the retirement of James Guild on completion of his maximum 9-year term as a director.

The QEII National Trust (QEII) is an independent charitable trust that partners with landowners to protect native biodiversity and cultural heritage values on land across NZ through covenants.

Bruce comes from Hawke’s Bay and is a current board member, having served five and a half years on the QEII board. He has been a sheep and cattle farmer for 14 years, having previously spent 20 years in banking and investment and has held a number of governance roles.

Bruce is excited about his appointment as chairperson and enthusiastic about continuing his involvement with QEII in a new role.

“This is a great opportunity for me to further the incredible work that has been done to-date promoting conservation on private land,” said Bruce.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to advocate for greater protection of biodiversity and cultural heritage on private land across Aotearoa New Zealand. We have a talented team of directors, staff and regional representatives and I am excited to lead QEII as we look to inspire more landowners to partner with us to protect biodiversity and support current covenantors to maintain and enhance the natural and cultural values within their covenants.”

The Minister of Conservation also appointed three new directors for terms of three years – Neil Cullen (Otago), Alan Livingston (Waikato) and Karen Schumacher (Taranaki). Bruce Wills is looking forward to working with the new board.

“These new appointments bring a huge amount of skills and experience with them to the QEII board. They represent the diverse sectors that comprise QEII’s wider family and I look forward to working with them to increase the protection of our natural and cultural heritage on private land,” said Bruce.

Bruce replaces James Guild as Chairperson and recognised the outstanding role that James has played throughout his nine years as Chairperson, and acknowledged the two other outgoing board members, Gina Solomon and Sue Yerex for their input.

“QEII has benefitted enormously from James’s leadership and dedication and I would like to formally acknowledge him for his contribution to QEII. I also sincerely thank Sue and Gina for their commitment and input into QEII and wish them all the best for the future.”

The QEII National Trust Board comprises six members, four appointed by the Minister of Conservation and two elected by QEII National Trust members. The two member-appointed board members, elected in 2019, are Donna Field and Graham Mourie.


  • Mr Bruce Wills of Hawke’s Bay. Bruce has served 5.5 years on the Board. He has been a sheep and cattle farmer for 16 years, having previously spent 20 years in banking and investment. The Wills family was the 2008 winner of the Hawke’s Bay Farm Environmental Award. Bruce was the National President of Federated Farmers from 2011 to 2014 and has held a number of governance roles. Currently he is Chair of the NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust, the Deer industry PGP, Apiculture NZ, Motu Research and Primary ITO, as well as a Director of Ravensdown and Hort NZ and Trustee of two of the National Science Challenges and Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay.
  • 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.
  • Mr Alan Livingston of Hamilton. Alan has extensive governance experience and is the current 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.
  • Mrs Karen Schumacher of Taranaki. 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.