Nick Humphries remembers the moment he fully grasped the power of conservation.
It was 2015. He was 18 years old, and stationed at Scott Base as a BLAKE Antarctic Ambassador.
“I took a snow-bike for a ride around the base and at one point I stopped, looked around, and realised this breath-taking environment – the most successful conservation project on the planet -had been protected by the foresight and conservation efforts of people from my grandfather’s generation. Since then, I’ve never worried about whether I’m being too forward-thinking.”
Nick, now 22, began his association with BLAKE a decade ago as a recipient of the BLAKE Young Leader Award – and he’s participated in many of BLAKE’s programmes since.
Now he’s connected with BLAKE again; this time as a board member.
Nick attended his first board meeting in May and says fellow board members made it clear they welcomed and valued a youthful perspective, and his personal experience of the BLAKE suite of programmes.
And Nick is excited to learn from others on the board.
“There are some very talented, very intelligent people on the board. They come from top organisations and it’ll be so invaluable being around them and learning from them.”
Nick was raised in Southland. He began his environmentalist journey in Year 7, aged 11, when he joined an enviro-school club. By the time he was 17, he had become the youngest person ever appointed to a Conservation Board – he spent three years on the Southland Conservation Board. And somehow he still found time to be Dux and Head Boy of Fiordland College, gain his Queen Scout award, and run ultra-marathons.
In 2018, Nick completed a Waikato University computer science degree, and resigned from his role as president of the university’s Computer Science Students’ Society. He now works in LuminateOne, the Matamata-based software development firm he co-founded.
With his career underway, Nick is happy to have secured the board position, continuing his commitment to conservation-focused community work.
“I wanted to give back to BLAKE because I just felt so lucky for all the chances and experiences I’ve been given.”
TE AUE ADDISON-TE WHARE
Te Aue Addison-Te Whare grew up in the same small community where her whānau have lived for generations. Her papakāinga is the village of Waitahanui, on the eastern shore of Lake Taupō. Her grandmother lived next door, and three aunties and about 20 first-cousins lived down the road.
“We lived rurally and had a daily connection with the lake. I grew up being very grounded in environmental stewardship and with a very strong commitment to my hapū.”
Te Aue went to Wellington to study resource management at Victoria University, armed with first-hand experience of community-led environmental action. Her hapū had lobbied local government for assistance in protecting the lake from the impacts of population growth. Ngāti Tutemohuta wanted help to eradicate introduced pests, and to plant species which would stop lakeside erosion.
When they didn’t get the response they wanted, Ngāti Tutemohuta took the lead.
“I grew up seeing community leadership.”
In her career, Te Aue has worked for the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Massey University, the Environmental Protection Authority, and, currently, in strategic and engagement roles with Auckland Council. As part of her work on the Auckland Climate Action Plan, she helped facilitate the opportunity for rangatahi to address the Council’s community and environment committee. The young peoples’ views formed part of the body of research and opinion that led the Council to declare a climate emergency.
“I’m motivated to work in purpose-driven organisations,” Te Aue says.
“Pretty much every day that I go to work, I am fulfilled.”
Te Aue is just 26 but already has extensive experience in governance, ranging from the YWCA to Auckland Council’s human participant’s ethics committee. She is a passionate supporter of organisations aimed at improving outcomes for youth, and says a place on the BLAKE board is an exciting opportunity to learn, and to share her perspective.
“I’m a strong advocate for young people having a seat at the table.”
André Lovatt was destined for community service the day he started nippers at the Ruakaka Surf Lifesaving Club, north of Auckland. From a young age, he desperately wanted to be a volunteer lifeguard and continued his quest at South Brighton Surf Club when his family moved to Christchurch.
André, 44, is General Manager, Airport Development & Delivery, at Auckland International Airport. Since March 2018, he has led the team focused on implementing the 30-year vision to build a world-class airport. It was the first of many goals he has chased down, on a journey halfway around the world and back again.
André and his wife Kate spent 15 years living overseas, where André was involved in the delivery of significant infrastructure projects, such as Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. On such projects, his day-to-day work revolved around bringing to fruition the seemingly impossible – achieving audacious but achievable goals.
The September 2010 Christchurch earthquake destroyed André’s childhood home in Dallington, and the entire neighbourhood around it. He travelled home to support his parents, and started to feel the pull to bring his civil engineering expertise home and be a part of the rebuild.
“I always felt a really strong sense of purpose about coming home. The earthquakes created that purpose – and a real excitement about making a difference.”
“It was a great opportunity, after being away for so long. It gave me an excuse to get to know so many people and I felt so privileged to be a part of rebuilding a place that everyone in Canterbury and Christchurch has a connection with.”In 2012, the Lovatts moved home to Christchurch, now with two daughters in tow. André became chief executive of the Arts Centre of Christchurch, a UNESCO award-winning restoration of the largest collection of heritage buildings in New Zealand.
He was also chair of Regenerate Christchurch, the organisation tasked with planning the redevelopment of the ‘red zone’, and a member of the Christchurch International Airport board.
In 2015, André was made a BLAKE Leader, and now he’s utilising his skills and experience in his new role on the BLAKE board.
“I’m really excited about being part of the journey. I’m looking for a pathway to contribute.”