Sean Zieltjes
Pouārahi Taupua/Acting Project Director

As our Acting Project Director, Sean’s role is to lead the successful partnership and development of the ecological restoration of the revered Mounga and its nearby volcanic peaks.

Stratford-born Sean comes from a farming family, raised on farms around the Mounga, including Inglewood, Mangatoki, Tataraimaka and New Plymouth. As our Acting Project Director he is making sure we are on target to secure the Mounga from predators and weeds, and then restore species to it, revitalising the ecology across the landscape.

The local lad loves the region’s natural environment, which he says offers plenty of outdoor opportunities on the mountain and in the ocean. Sean believes it’s a fantastic place to raise a family and he loves the people’s ‘let’s get it done’ attitude.

He started work in local government and has held various roles in resource management, including leading a number of projects in monitoring, regulatory approvals and strategy roles, as well as work with a multi-disciplinary company (surveying, engineering, planning).

Through these roles he regularly worked with the wider Taranaki community in the biodiversity space, and with iwi and hapū on a broad range of resource management issues. He said iwi and hapū in north Taranaki have invested a lot of their time educating him and he looks forward to applying this learning in his role.

Sean says the Mounga Project is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the community to restore ecosystems and he’s keen to ensure the project outcomes are sustained in the long term by promoting involvement and ownership by iwi and the community. He is excited about the collaborative approach to deliver the project, the innovation required to solve some of the challenges, and supporting the experts on the project team. Indeed, he says the project is a ‘perfect storm’ of ecology, iwi, hapu and community.

Sean joined the Taranaki Mounga Project in 2017 as Pou Whakahaere / Project Manager and in 2021 he received a NEXT Foundation Fellowship.