Our Team

Our Team at MET

Frances van Alphen

Chairperson MET

Frances is a full time Mum in Whakatane but is a regular visitor to the Manawahe to see family. She has a degree in ecology that was going rusty so she joined the trust in 2009 to keep involved in environmental science. She is a keen believer in the corridor concept and is regularly inspired by the Manawahe Bush with its gorgeous views.

Maurice Tooke


Maurice Tooke is a retired road safety coordinator for Whakatane District Council. He grew up on the Rangitaiki Plains and feels a strong tie to the Manawahe hills. He is a founding member of the trust.

Lisa Eve


Although Lisa is a waste management professional, she has a background in ecology and environmental science, with a Masters in Environmental Science from Auckland University. She lives on a lifestyle block outside Whakatane with her family, where they fit in revegetation and pest control around work and school.
First becoming interested in the activities of the Manawahe Eco Trust through discussions about how to minimise waste on school camps with the Education Officer, Lisa subsequently became a trustee in late 2019.

Peter Murnane


Peter has worked as an engineer for the past 40 years and he brings his wealth of experience to the trust with a hands-on approach. Peter has put in many hundreds of volunteer hours to maintain the Education Centre buildings, water systems and gardens. He has also overseen several upgrades of the facilities in the Centre including improving the insulation, heating systems and security, enabling MET to continue to offer a comfortable learning space for the students that visit.

Canice O'Sullivan


Canice joined the trust as a volunteer in 2021 and formally as a trustee in 2022. He brings a local perspective to the trust as he lives and works on a farm in Manawahe. He has a keen sense of ingenuity and innovation and has been working closely with Peter Fergusson on different projects such as developing electronic trap monitors.

Norm Ngapo


Norm Ngapo is a retired Soil Conservator, living at Ohope Beach. His iwi are Ngati Awa, Ngati Porou ki Harataunga and Ngati Tamatera. He has been a Trustee and volunteer member of Manawahe Kokako Trust for over twenty years, with the last 3 years as Chairman. He is familiar with the Manawahe area, having worked closely with farmers while employed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and previously, the BOP Catchment Commission. Prior to retirement, he worked as an environmental consultant for 20 years under his own company, Waiora Soil Conservation Ltd. He has had a lifelong interest in conservation and the natural environment. Along with other MKT volunteers, Norm was closely associated with the translocation of 6 breeding kokako pairs to Manawahe Forest from Kaharoa in 2019 and Rotoehu in 2021.

John Mackintosh

Recently retired Trustee

The Mackintosh family owns the land that contains the majority of the Kokako population at Manawahe (over 55 birds). Almost all of the native forest on the family property (over 300 ha) is covered by pest control programs and QE11 National Trust covenants. John and his family were the Supreme Winners of the Ballance Farm Awards in 2006. He brings to the Trust valuable knowledge of the area.

Hannah Flatman


I am very excited to have joined the Manawahe Eco Trust working part-time as the administrator. I come from a conservation background, having worked for DOC as a biodiversity ranger for 7 years and more recently working for the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust. I’m looking forward to being a part of all the great work that the MET undertakes in Manawahe!

Peter Fergusson

Development Coordinator

I have always been interested in conservation and ecological restoration and in 2000 we brought a life style block in Awakeri that has a WDC covenant on the bush remnant. Over the last ten years we have been restoring this by replanting and undertaking pest and weed control.

We have also been involved in a number of volunteer conservation projects over the last 20years. I was a DOC volunteer for many years and have done a lot of work on Whale Island. I currently am working with Bill Clark’s Onepu care group, Fish and Game, DOC and the Regional Council on the restoration of Lake Tamurenui. This project is funded by EBOP and is an eight year project.

I am a long time member of Forest and Bird and am currently Secretary of the Eastern Bay Forest and Bird branch. We are also members of the Manawahe Kokako trust volunteer group involved in pest control and monitoring on John McIntosh’s land.

Jake Andersen

Environmental Educator

Ko Mauao, ko Otawa ngā maunga,
Ko Waitao te awa,
Nō Nōwei ōku tīpuna, engari i whānau mai au i Aotearoa. I tipu ake au i Te Puke.
Ko Jake Andersen tōku ingoa.

My name is Jake and I am the new educator here for Manawahe Eco Trust. I was raised below the next range to the north, in a little town called Te Puke. My passion for native forests and restoration of these taonga pushed me into a Bachelor of Teaching and a Diploma in Environmental Management, and I have been working with students in this space since 2017.

Native planting, predator control and environmental education has been the focus of my mahi over this period and I love igniting a passion for our unique flora & fauna within our next generations. It really lights my fire working together with community to help restore the mauri of our incredible forest ecosystems!

Trustees and Committee Members

of days gone by

Just as the Manawahe hills are continually rising and the plains sinking, so must the make-up of the trust evolve. We have nine members who are no longer on the trust or are committee members but we would like to acknowledge the huge contributions they have made both in the development and work of the Trust and socially. Yvonne Skudder and Brian Crawford, Deborah and Ian Crossan, Wiel Jongmans, Pete McLaren, Julie McBeth, Dave Wright, Darryl Howard,  Margaret Wennink, Ed Bekker, Natasja Boon, Gail Boynton, Peter Van Alphen, Andrew Collicott, Janet Milbank, Liddy Baker, Helen Dobbin, Hilary Hurst and Catharine Roozendaal we can’t thank you enough for the fantastic contributions you have all made.