Mark Hooker, Greater Wellington Regional Council

Mark is a Natural Resources Engineer, and the team leader for the Investigations, Strategy and Planning team of GWRC’s Flood Protection Department. Since graduating in 2003, Mark has spent most of his career in engineering consultancy, both in New Zealand and in Scotland, with a more recent move to local government. His current focus is river engineering and floodplain management after an earlier emphasis on water infrastructure, water resources and flood risk assessment.

Mark has a passion for rivers, their values and the interface of human interactions with natural systems. He joined the Rivers Group Committee in 2015 to meet other like-minded people and to give something back to the professional community.

Mark is originally from Christchurch and has an affinity with the Waimakariri River (especially its mountainous headwaters) but has lived in Wellington since returning from overseas in 2009.


Kyle Christensen

 Kyle is an Independent Consultant with over 15 years’ experience in River and Stormwater Engineering. He has a Bachelor of Natural Resources Engineering as well as a Masters of Engineering specialising in the interaction of river control works and morphological processes in river systems. Kyle is a Chartered Professional Engineer and a practice area assessor for Engineering New Zealand.  Kyle is passionate about integrating geomorphology and engineering in the development of long term sustainable solutions for river management.


Jo Hoyle, NIWA

Jo has a PhD in river geomorphology and a natural resources engineering degree. Jo worked as a river engineer for MWH in the Tasman District prior to completing her PhD at Macquarie University in Australia. She has spent the past 10 years working for NIWA in Christchurch, where she manages the Sediment Processes group. Jo’s research focuses on how river geomorphology influences river ecosystems, and feedback relationships between flow, vegetation and geomorphology. Her current research is focused on braided river systems. Jo is also a keen whitewater kayaker and spends much of her spare time playing in rivers.

Sjaan Bowie, DOC

Sjaan is a national Freshwater Technical Advisor for the Department of Conservation. She has been involved with the conservation and management of native fish, invertebrates and their habitats for the last 17 years. She is a coordinator of the multi-agency New Zealand Fish Passage Advisory Group, and is working with NIWA to lead better national coordination and development of national resources to support improved fish passage management in New Zealand. Sjaan has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Ecology and a Master of Science degree with honours in Ecology specialising in Freshwater Ecology from Massey University. Her masters research focussed on finding and identifying spawning locations of whitebait species and considering migration needs. She is a member of the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society.

Graeme Campbell, Greater Wellington Regional Council

Graeme’s experience in the field of river and floodplain hydraulics has included extensive studies of computer modelling of flood extents, river characteristics, sedimentation, channel management, risk and damage assessment, planning and project management. He has personally undertaken design and investigation work on rivers and floodplains in Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay, East Coast, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and the Kapiti Coast. Since 2006 Graeme has been the Manager of the Flood Protection Department, Greater Wellington Regional Council (including both the Wairarapa and Wellington Flood Protection staff).

Laddie Kuta, e2Environmental Ltd

Laddie is a partner in a civil engineering consultancy based in Christchurch. As a chartered engineer with interest in a stochastic approach to hydraulic problem solving, he has worked both in-house and as a consultant for numerous regional, unitary, and district authorities around the country to help overcome challenges we face in the sustainable management of our rivers. He’s been involved in floodway and flood hazard mapping in North America, wastewater design in the Arctic, closed-channel optimization on Canada’s east coast, and hydraulic project management throughout the Middle East. Laddie has been with the RG committee for a number of years now and currently serves as our treasurer.

Brian Kouvelis, Director Sustainable Futures NZ Ltd

BE ( Canterbury) ; Dip Mgt ( NZIM) , PG Dip Hydrology and Groundwater Resources UNSW; Fellow Engineering New Zealand
Brian has over 40 years experience as a professional engineer, 28 of which were with MWH. During his time with MWH he had direct involvement in Company’s river engineering and drainage programmes, flood risk assessments, water management and water resource studies, water supply projects, and environmental assessment reporting. During his career he has been directly involved in a range of Engineering New Zealand, NZ Hydrological Society and Water NZ activities and roles.
Brian is currently Director of Sustainable Futures NZ Ltd which is an environmental engineering consultancy company which provides advice on a range of water sector projects across NZ Asia and the Pacific. Before retiring from MWH NZ Ltd he was the Company’s water sector Technical Leader and led a number of Climate Change Adaptation Projects with an emphasis on infrastructure adaptation.During his time as Deputy Chief Engineer for the Manawatu Catchment Board he was responsible for the river and flood control scheme reviews being undertaken at the time along with the associated ratepayer consultation programmes. As Regional Water Manager he also provided technical direction for the Board’s surface water and groundwater resource investigation programmes.

As a consultant, he has project managed a number of flood control programmes, water resource development schemes, and climate change adaptation training programmes across New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific. His more recent work has included working as part of the Global Support Facility (GSF) team for the Global climate Change Alliance (GCCA) programme being undertaken by the European Union throughout Asia and the Pacific. This work has focused on the development of climate change adaptation policies, projects and programmes for the participating countries.

Jon Tunnicliffe 

Jon Tunnicliffe is a lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Environment. He has been working on issues related to gravel-bed river morphodynamics and response to environmental change for 15 years. He is interested in the application of geophysical instrumentation and modelling to better understand the response of rivers to sedimentary disturbance. Jon received his PhD from the University of British Columbia, worked at NIWA in Christchurch, and held a lecturing position at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada before coming to Auckland. He has worked in a range of environments from West Africa to Canada’s far North to New Zealand’s South Island.

Sarah Basheer, Tonkin & Taylor, Auckland

Sarah is a Water Resources Engineer at Tonkin & Taylor in Auckland. Sarah’s 8 years’ experience is in river engineering, with a focus on flood hazard identification and assessment through hydrological and hydraulic analysis. Sarah’s experience ranges from hydrological and hydraulic modelling for urban and rural rivers, streams and stormwater systems, to design of flood protection schemes and erosion control works. It also includes assessment of sediment and gravel movement and their effects on channel capacity, as well as flood damage assessment and flood risk analysis. Sarah has been a member of the rivers group since its inception in 2009 and has recently joined the committe.

Heide Friedrich, University of Auckland

Heide Friedrich is the Head of the Water Engineering Laboratory at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and leads the Water-worked Environments Research Group ( She is also the Deputy Head Research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She has over 15 years’ experience, both in industry and academia, having worked and lived in Germany, Taiwan, UK, Australia and NZ. Her main research focus is on studying the physical processes in natural aquatic environments, such as rivers, and how water interacts with and shapes its surroundings. She has been involved with the Rivers Group since 2014.

Dr Catherine Knight

Dr Catherine Knight is an author and independent consultant based in the Manawatu, specialising in policy and communication. She also holds an Honorary Research Associate role in the School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University. She is the author of New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history (Canterbury University Press, 2016), which was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017, short-listed for the New Zealand Heritage Book Awards,and selected as one of the Listener’s Best Books for 2016. Her 2014 book Ravaged Beauty: An environmental history of the Manawatu (Dunmore Press) won the J.M. Sherrard Award in New Zealand Regional and Local History, and Palmerston North Heritage Trust’s inaugural award for the best work of history relating to the Manawatu. Her third book, Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand, published by Canterbury University Press, will be released in May 2018.

Selene Conn

Selene is a fluvial geomorphologist at Tonkin & Taylor based in the Tauranga office. With over eight years’ experience, Selene specialises in geomorphic condition assessments of waterways, evolutionary trajectory assessments of river systems, compliance monitoring and development of prioritisation frameworks for river restoration in both New Zealand and Australia. Selene’s focus has been on combining catchment and/or reach scale geomorphic processes with vegetation dynamics, especially in modified landscapes. Selene has been a member of the Rivers Group since its inception, and recently joined the committee with a focus on developing and delivering regional events.