The NPCA is run by a management committee of six people, two of whom are elected annually at the AGM. The management committee has four meetings a year. It currently comprises:

NPCA's National Co-ordinator is Maurice Kennedy. See also the Chairperson's Report presented at our last AGM.

Steve Ellis, Chairperson
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Steve Ellis is the Local Government representative on the committee. He is Environment Services Manager with the Taranaki Regional Council, a role which covers all aspects of Taranaki’s pest management programmes and its site-led biodiversity protection programme.

Steve began work as a possum control field operator in 1992 shortly after the commencement of Taranaki’s 'Self Help' possum control programme. His field experience includes roles in both control and monitoring. Later, Steve’s role expanded to contract management and leading a team of officers coordinating the growth of the self-help programme to include over 4,000 properties across Taranaki’s ring plain.

In 2007 he was appointed the Pest Animal Manager and then Biosecurity Manager, when the plant and animal teams merged.

Steve was recently appointed the convener of the Local Government Biosecurity Working Group and is currently the central branch chairman of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, NPCA’s partner organisation for annual conferences. He also represents Local Government on the national review of pest management qualifications. He brings experience in both plant and animal pest control at various levels of local government to the committee.

Nick Poutu

nick poutu 100Nick is a Technical Advisor in the Department of Conservation specialising in animal pest control. In his present role he is located in the Central North Island Region and provides assistance to support animal pest operations both regionally and nationally. He has worked for DOC, based in Turangi, since 2006 on aspects of animal pest management including methodology, strategic and operational planning, pesticide use, and providing direct support to operational staff.

Nick completed his MSc, investigating the ecology of possums, in 2000. His career in the pest control industry began as a technician at Landcare Research, where he worked for 6 years in a predominantly field-based role investigating mammalian pest ecology, control methods, bovine Tb transmission, and animal welfare.

Matthew Hickson

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Matt is the Programme Manager for the TBfree New Zealand programme in the northern South Island. He is based in Christchurch. In this role, he provides management and direction to contracted vector control and monitoring operations. He has worked for TBfree New Zealand since 2012. Prior to that he was Programme Manager Biodiversity for the southern portion the Department of Conservation’s Te Urewera area.

Matt has been associated with the animal pest control industry for nearly 20 years in roles that have included undertaking field operations, supervising field operations and providing technical support. He has a working knowledge of the techniques that can be used to control most forms of animal pest.

Dave Latham

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Dave is a scientist in the Wildlife Ecology and Management team at Landcare Research in Lincoln.

His wildlife career began at the University of Otago where he studied zoology. After completing his MSc there, he moved to Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, where he completed his PhD in environmental biology and ecology. His PhD research assessed the ecological interactions between four prey species – threatened woodland caribou, moose, white-tailed deer and beaver – and their shared predator, wolves. Dave was also involved in research and management of coyotes and black bears in woodland caribou ranges.

Dave returned to New Zealand after eight years in Alberta. He has worked at Landcare Research since 2011, where his role is diverse, spanning applied research in ecology, conservation, and vertebrate pest control, both nationally and internationally. Recent projects include refining aerial control of European rabbits on agricultural lands; re-evaluating the optimal size of pellet baits for aerial control of possums; managing deer in the Wapiti Area, Fiordland National Park; and predicting future distributions and impacts of wallabies on mainland New Zealand. He is a member of the Rabbit Coordination Group.

Sherman Smith

sherman_smith_100Sherman is a Senior Advisor in the National Coordination Preparedness & Partnership team of the Compliance and Response branch of the Ministry for Primary Industries. The Compliance and Response branch provides leadership and coordination for the pest management sector and the National Co-ordination team focuses on building partnerships and coordinating long-term management programmes such as the didymo management programme. Sherman’s work is focused largely around terrestrial pest animals, including helping to co-ordinate the Rabbit Co-ordination Group.

Sherman’s background is in ecology. He worked for some years with the Department of Conservation, based at Palmerston North and in the Western Ruahines. He then worked for Environment Southland as a Biosecurity Officer Pest Animals before moving to MAF in 2009.

Martin Brenstrum

martin_brenstrum_100Martin owns and manages Central Districts Pest Control Ltd, the Napier-based contracting business that he started as a one-man show in 1997. Until then, he had been a school teacher for 28 years, teaching early on in rural areas where he developed an enduring interest in deer hunting. He started trapping possums in 1958 at age 12, for the bounty, and poisoned and trapped possums for their skins during the 1970s and 80s until the market collapsed in 1987.

In the late 1990s, realising that the demands of teaching had taken its toll, he was able to escape professional burnout by turning his life-long interest into a successful business. Martin co-manages CDPC with his wife Kathy and son Tim. They employ 25-26 field staff. Martin splits his own time 50/50 between office work and field work.