Our Team

"Friendly Experienced and with a Smile"
Trustees
John Kenderdine Chairman
John was brought up on a hill country sheep farm in Hawkes Bay, dabbled in accountancy, engineering, Land Surveying, 17 years overseas travel, and viticulture, before arriving in the (real) Far North in 1994 and buying a small block near Lake Ngatu. Helped set up the Far North Environment Centre in 1999, while on the CBEC board. Interests at present include: alternative energy, earth building, environmental regeneration, marine reserves, and most important of all understanding the detrimental influence of our entrenched financial systems. Member of Transition Towns Kaitaia, Kaitaia Time Bank, Kaitaia Savings Pool and Far North Organic Growers.
He now lives on a 10 acre block in an earth house with solar hot water and solar electricity, with trees and gardens supplying many of his needs, working organically and along permamculture lines. He also supplies and advises on solar systems.
Pat Davis Secretary
Born in Kaitaia Pat grew up on a dairy farm in Victoria Valley and here she developed a life long passion for animals. After a 4yr OE, during which Pat met her English husband Buzz, Pat returned with him to life in Kaitaia in the early 1960s. They worked hard to save up for their block of land up Okahu Road where Pat still lives tending the ½ acre garden along with a further 3 acres for horses. Since retiring Pat has been busy doing a wide range of community work, but it was after Buzz’s passing in 2011 that she got involved with with the Kaitaia Community Plan meetings and that led on to joining the Kaitaia Time Bank and Transition Town groups. She has now become a trustee of the FNEC and is also part of the KaiBOX project which is being run by Cheryl Toka. Being dedicated to healthy organic eating is why she supports any scheme to convert the community to do the same. This of course includes growing your own food that you know will be spray and pesticide free. Pat remains a very keen gardener and is the most happy when growing healthy food on “my patch of paradise.”
Rebecca Runam Treasurer
Originally from South Waikato, Rebecca has lived in the Far North since 2000. Rebecca has a Permaculture Design Certificate and has lived both rurally ‘off grid’ and in town, putting permaculture priciples into action in both living situations. Rebecca has been involved with the Far North Environment Centre since arriving in the Far North and has served as a Trustee since 2014. Rebecca has had formal governance training as well as learning by doing and currently assists with financial auditing and fundraising for the Trust. Rebecca has been involved in Community Gardens in Auckland and Kaitaia and has a strong interest in community development. Rebecca joined Transition Town Kaitaia in 2008 and helped start the Kaitaia TimeBank in 2009. Rebecca lives with her three teenagers in Kaitaia and works as an occupational therapist for ACC in her spare time.
Reuben Porter Trustee
22nd generation tangata whenua in Ahipara, Reuben has had a long standing connection with the Trust, now serving as a trustee for the second time.
Patrick Mason Trustee
Nancy Gregory Trustee
Nancy returned to Kaitaia in Dec 11 after 12yrs in Hamilton and 15 on Waiheke Island. Now retired. She’s a mother of 4, nana of 11. Since her return Nancy has been appalled by the high levels of unemployment, youth suicide, obesity, the trashing of the environment and the general disregard for Te Hiku O Te Ika by politicians. So she became involved at the EcoCentre as a volunteer and then as a trustee. Nancy is passionate about building local resilience and stimulating change from the flaxroots and believes that the EcoCentre and its associated groups have potential to make a difference. Her main interest, aside from whānau, is her garden and working to encourage others to take up gardening.
Volunteers
Angela Callagher Volunteer
Asta Wistrand Volunteer
With a mother who was an environmental activist Asta reckons she was influenced by her through osmosis rather than intent. She has a background in civil engineering and scientific research and development, and in the electricity retail business. Her first contact with the FNEC, and thus the EcoCentre, was in 2002 when she and her partner Gary were setting up their dwelling in remote Herekino, where there is no reticulated electricity, no telephone landline or mobile coverage. They wanted to find out the options were for powering up and were put in contact with John Kenderdine. Around 2007 they were, briefly, elected to the Board of Trustees of the FNEC. From there we became involved with Transition Town Kaitaia (TTK) and the Kaitaia TimeBank, and through them got involved with volunteering at the EcoCentre. Asta is secretary for TTK.
Gary Little Volunteer

Gary was an inaugural Transition Town Kaitaia steering group member, and past Far North Environment Centre trustee. Currently a member of the Kaitaia Time Bank and Transition Towns Kaitaia. Gary grew up in Auckland and has a very varied employment history in research, meteorological observation, management, manufacturing, timber, sales, administration, flower growing, and care work – which makes him a very versatile TimeBanker!

Gary has represented New Zealand internationally as a race walker and maintains his interest in athletics as a coach. He’s also held a number of executive positions in related clubs and societies both locally and nationally. He’s happy to coach for timecredits.

Along with Asta, Gary lives off-grid in Herekino and is enjoying his new hybrid car.
Heather Armstrong Volunteer
is a member of Kaitaia TimeBank (KTB) and found that volunteering at the EcoCentre was a way for her ‘to be useful to the community’ and earn herself some timecredits which she mostly spends on getting help going shopping and to appointments.
Michelle de Sousa Volunteer
is a member of Kaitaia TimeBank (KTB) and Transition Town Kaitaia (TTK). She is one of the KTB coordination team, looking after yearly membership fees and recording exchanges for offline members etc. For Michelle the EcoCentre provides an important umbrella for TTK, KTB KaiBOX, the Seed Swap stand etc as well as providing information on environmental issues. As she says ‘We only have and live on one planet, so we must all do our part and look after it.”
Admin & Project Coordinators
Anna Dunford Administrator
Anna came to Kaitaia for 10 weeks in 2007 and ended up staying. She does the administration and accounts for the EcoCentre. Originally from the UK Anna has a background of working for small NGOs and doing administration for Quakers both in the UK and Aotearoa NZ, and initially got involved with the EcoCentre through KTB. She is trying to work towards a Zero Waste lifestyle and downsize enough to make Tiny House living a reality. Being involved with the EcoCentre community provides a good support network for this as there is always someone who knows how to do something or solve a problem!
Waikarere Gregory Plastic Free Kaitaia 2020
Inspired by the Envision report on the case for a container deposit scheme in Aotearoa NZ, Waikarere organized our first Bottle Buy Back in 2016 and set the ball rolling for Plastic Free Kaitaia 2020 which has the goal of reducing disposable plastic in the town, especially plastic bags and water bottles. A former artist residing in Whaingaroa/Raglan, Waikarere utilised many of the treasures she dug up at Xtreme for her art pieces. Waikarere has had a long term interest in environmental issues and finding creative responses to them.
Cheryl Toka KaiBOX coordinator
Cheryl runs the KaiBOX social enterprise from the EcoCentre. After taking part in the Thrive Ākina workshops set up by FNDC in 2015 Cheryl developed the idea of setting up a veg box service providing locally grown organic/spray free/permaculture vegetables and fruit to the Kaitaia community. A passionate believer in building community resilience and strengthening local food networks as well as being a foodie who loves quality produce it felt like an obvious direction to take. As a keen grower herself Cheryl’s aware of the challenges faced by local growers and hopes to see KaiBOX empower more growers to become suppliers, and for more people to become an active part in the food processes from ground to table.