As the Director of Taranaki Mounga Jan’s role is to lead the successful partnership and development of the ecological restoration of the revered Mounga and its nearby volcanic peaks. He is particularly excited about how this project aligns with the Government’s vision for a predator free New Zealand by 2050.
Of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga descent he grew up near Waiuku on the shores of the Manukau Harbour in South Auckland. Over the years Jan has regularly visited Taranaki for work and adventures, and more frequently Mokau, just north of Taranaki, through his wife’s connections. No matter how many times he travels to the region the Mounga never fails to take his breath away.
Jan is also the Environmental Director for the NEXT Foundation. Before joining NEXT, he spent seven years with DOC, most recently as Director of Conservation Partnerships for the north and western South Island working to enable large-scale collaborative restoration projects.
Jan’s early career was as an electronics and systems engineer mostly in the New Zealand Airforce. His passion for the outdoors and the environment led to a career change in his late 20s when he spent time at Canterbury and Lincoln University completing undergraduate and post grad work in Natural Resources Engineering. For the next 10 years he consulted and worked for clients including regional government, in hazard mitigation, water resource protection and large environmental restoration both in New Zealand and overseas.
Jan believes Taranaki Mounga is an amazing step forward for conservation and he is excited to be working on an ecological project of this scale, which he thinks could ultimately solve some of the more difficult ecological issues this country is facing. He is heartened at how iwi, the community and business are working collaboratively to achieve such an aspirational and ambitious ecological transformation and says a collaboration of this scale would not be achievable without support from all of the parties involved.