EMR is based in eight regions throughout New Zealand below are coordinator profiles and contact emails addresses:
Samara Nicholas - National & Northland
Kia ora, my name is Samara Nicholas, during my time as head prefect at Kamo High School in 1998, our year 13 geography class was involved in the application for a Marine Reserve in the Whangarei Harbour, the marine biodiversity around Motukaroro inspired me! After completing a Diploma in Environmental Management I went on to establish the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme in 2001. I am an original trustee of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust. As programme director for the trust and national coordinator, I have the responsibility for the overall management of the EMR programme; liaison with the national team of coordinators, funders & partners; milestone and financial reporting; and of course getting out there and doing EMR delivery! I was extremely privileged to be recognised in 2005 in the Sir Peter Blake Leadership awards as one of New Zealand 's Emerging Leaders. In 2005 I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. I am a PADI Divemaster and registered assessor for unit standards in snorkelling. I am an experienced and regular public speaker. My favourite marine creature is the nudibranch. Between EMR and being a proud mum Blaze) and wife to Shane, there is not a lot of time for much else, but I am a active member of the Whananaki community, I love to snorkel, dive, surf, ride horses or garden in my spare time!
My career highlight has been heading to the Kermadec Islands as crew member on board Young Blake Expeditions in 2012 & 2018. During October 2014, Samara was the MC at the New Zealand Dolphin Underwater Club 60th anniversary and was awarded the New Zealand Underwater Leo Ducker Award for Meritorius recognition and contribution to diving. In 2018, I won the Seaweek Ocean Champion Award.
I became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to marine education and conservation on Queens birthday weekend 2018.
Lorna Doogan - Deputy National & Auckland
Hi there! My name is Lorna Doogan nee Hefford and I am the Deputy National and Auckland Coordinator for EMR. I have been involved with EMR since 2013 and love spending my time as a hands on marine educator.
I have a passion for the ocean having spent all my summers as a child in the beautiful Opito Bay, Coromandel. I was a surf lifeguard at United North Piha for 5 years earning my Bronze Medallion. Scuba diving has always been a large part of my life. I completed my Open Water Course when I was 13 and slowly worked my way up to Divemaster over the following years. While I was studying for my BSc in Biological Sciences and Marine Science at the University of Auckland, I was lucky enough to become involved in the Auckland University Underwater Club. I became the president of the club in 2013 and during this time I received my Master of a Small Commercial Dive Vessel as well as developing essential organisational skills for my role as an EMR Coordinator. My favourite animal would have to be the sunfish because of their gloriously uncoordinated swimming.
Liz Gibson - EMR Wellington 0220378460
Kia ora my name is Liz, 2013 was my first year as an EMR coordinator based in Wellington with IBMEC.I am completing my Masters in Marine Conservation and a BSC in Zoology. My favourite marine creature is the giant squid and my other passion is music.
Amelia Saxby - EMR Otago 02108797418
Hello! My name is Amelia and I'm from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. I started volunteering for EMR shortly after I moved to Dunedin in early 2016 and love any opportunity to get into the water! My background is in marine science, I studied Marine Biology at Plymouth University and then gained an MRes in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews. I have had the opportunity to work on exciting projects such as coral reef surveys and photo ID of grey seals and am currently a Trustee for the New Zealand Sea Lion Trust in Dunedin. EMR is a fantastic way to share my passion for the ocean with others and I look forward to encouraging more people to take a closer look at all the amazing creatures and habitats we have on our doorstep. In my spare time I can be found outside, (normally gardening or on the beach) and I'm currently doing my PADI Divemaster training.
Amber Boyd - EMR Hauraki 0212598748
Hi my name is Amber Boyd, I am born and bred on the Coromandel Peninsula and I am currently based in Whitianga with my husband and 3 daughters.
I have a love for the ocean which came from father who was a commercial crayfisherman, I spent many hours with him on his boat, including my first christmas as an 8month old.
I feel priviledged to be part of the EMR team. My favourite part is getting children in the Marine Reserve and hearing the squeals of delight when they see big fish close. Also watching children over come their anxiety and have an experience that they will never forget.
My favourite marine creature is the eagle ray, watching them underwater they are so graceful and calm.
Jordan MacDonald - EMR Northland 0273548745
Kia ora , ko Jordie MacDonald toku ingoa. I joined the EMR team in 2016. I grew up in the Marlborough Sounds and studied a Bachelor of Biological Sciences majoring in Marine Biology at Victoria university of Wellington. Since then I have been involved in a few exciting projects such as the Humpback whale survey in the Cook Straight, volunteering for EMR and conservation work with the Auckland Council as a park ranger. I have an NZQA snorkel instructor qualification and my open water PADI scuba ticket. My favourite marine creature currently is the short tailed stingray, so graceful!
Denise Rowland - EMR Taranaki - currently on maternity leave
I am lucky enough to be one of the members of the EMR Taranaki Team along with some passionate others. I assist with the delivery of the EMR programme in Taranaki with schools and help out with Community Snorkel Days. I have a Post Graduate Diploma and BSc in Ecology and Zoology and I am a Community Ranger for the Department of Conservation. My passion lies in connecting community together and I really enjoy sharing marine conservation messages.
Isabel Krauss - EMR Northland 0223212818
Hi everyone, my name is Isabel and I am based in the beautiful, winterless North in Whangarei.
I hold a Bachelor of Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science and am fascinated with the marine world. I became involved with EMR in 2014 while being part of the Auckland University Club, helping out on snorkel days around Auckland. Moved to Whangarei in 2016 and continued to be involved with EMR in Northland.
I am also an Advanced Open Water Diver and love exploring the underwater world with SCUBA gear. When I'm not in the water there is a good chance you will find me on board a sailing boat, cruising and racing around the Whangarei Harbour.
Amy-Rose Hardy - EMR Gisborne 0277139152
Joe Palmer - Gisborne
Kia ora, my name is Joe Palmer, I have been an EMR coordinator since 2008 in the Gisborne region. The Gisborne regional umbrella company is Nga Mahi te Taiao, operated by my father Murray Palmer. I am an NZQA Snorkel Instructor. My favourite marine creature is Paua. I enjoy diving, big wave surfing, fishing and water sports. I am a proud dad to 2 children.
PS this is actually Joe in this picture!
Sarah Neighbours - Wellington 0272582925
Hi my name is Sarah. I am very excited to be starting my first season as an EMR coordinator (summer 2014/2015) with the Wellington Island Bay Marine Education Centre. I have been involved as a helper for the past couple of seasons. I have had a passion for the ocean from a young age and decided to become a Marine Biologist when I was 8 years old. I have a Masters in Marine Conservation and love being able to pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm to students, teachers, parents and the general public. I am a certified diver and a snorkel instructor. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, especially being involved in marine activities. My favourite marine creatures are nudibranchs and leather jackets
Oliver Bone - EMR Northland 0276773306
Kia ora! Ko Oliver Bone toku ingoa. I’m an Ocean enthusiast and am passionate about working with communities to co-create a thriving world for all. I believe nature needs to be nurtured, restored and protected so all life on Earth can flourish. In 2012 I was awarded a scholarship by the Royal Society of New Zealand to study the effects of pollution on microbial processes in the Wellington Harbour.
Between 2014-2016 a group of friends and I joined forces to create Grow Aotearoa, a community based social enterprise working to make healthy, sustainable food accessible to all. I currently help raise environmental awareness as a guide for Experiencing Marine Reserves. I’m a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and hold a Masters degree with First Class Honours in Marine Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Ecology & Biodiversity from Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.
Sophie Journee- EMR Auckland 0210645125
Kia ora my name is Sophie, I started volunteering for EMR in 2016 and have just begun as an assistant coordinator based in Auckland. I studied biological science at the University of Auckland, which inspired me to pursue a career in ecological conservation. I am involved in many conservation projects around Auckland and am extremely passionate about protecting the Hauraki Gulf’s marine life. I am a qualified snorkel instructor and rescue diver and love helping kids gain confidence in the water. My favourite marine creature is the hammerhead shark, and I am hopeful that I will eventually see one in NZ waters!
Ellan Young - Wellington
Ellan hails from California and currently lives along the South Coast of Wellington with her family and several furry friends; she has always loved all things water related. A passionate snorkeller, Ellan is also a certified diver who has been fortunate enough to work as an EMR volunteer for several years which uncovered a hidden love for marine conservation education.
Ellan is now privileged to be part of the Mountains to Sea Wellington team as an endorsed EMR coordinator working with the local schools and helping out at community events. Seeing the excitement, curiosity, endless ideas and personal connection generated in students is her energizer. And, being an enterprise business analyst, Ellan is able to bring a different perspective to the Wellington team. Ellan holds a BSc in Computer Science and a Masters in Systems Management.
Zoe Studd - Wellington 0211707881
Kia ora my name is Zoe and I have been involved with EMR for the last 5 years. Ex-dive instructor (Kaikoura and Samoa), gained my marine and coastal science degree from Australia, then worked in environmental policy for several years in NZ and the US. I became involved in EMR whilst retraining as a teacher and coordinated in Wellington for a couple of years before going full time in the classroom. Missed it too much, so I am back on board again for 2014. Favourite creature of the moment- Hermit Crab.
Jude Heath - EMR Nelson 0210636785
Kia ora, My name is Jude Heath and I have been the Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka coordinator working for the Mountains to Seas Trust since 2016. I have continued on from our area ambassador Megan Wilsons’ amazing work!
My background is in adventure since I could walk and I have lead groups into the outdoors for recreation and adventure since 1991. Initially Working at Whenua Iti Outdoor Pursuits Centre for 5 years and teaching others to white water raft and sea kayak in Canada and Switzerland from 2004 until 2006, I tutored and coordinated Environmental Studies Programmes for North Tec in the Maungaturoto and Mangonui in the Northland areas.
During 2007, I trained as primary teacher, mainly to educate students “outside the classroom”.
I live by the moana at Riuwaka near Motueka with my partner Scott and my two children Jade 16yrs and Hunter 13yrs.
I am passionate about protecting and educating others about our local marine reserves and why we need more of them in Nelson, Tasman, Golden Bay and the Marlborough Sounds by actively showing people what lives beneath the ocean and how marine reserves protect our fish species and habitats.
In my spare time you will find me outdoors taking photos, swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding, tramping and paddling my Waka around our local waterways.
Michael Ramsbottom - EMR Northland - assistant
Eryn Hooper - EMR Northland - Monitoring focus 02108109858
Kia Ora. I first got involved with EMR back in 2014 when came to New Zealand and discovered the wonderful underwater world that this amazing country has. I have a Biology degree from the UK and have worked on Marine Protected Area monitoring developments in the UK and the South West Pacific. I have my advanced PADI open water and snorkel guide qualification. When I’m not in New Zealand, you’ll find me in Vanuatu where I am working on projects that engage communities with their marine ecosystems. I love sharing my knowledge and experience of the underwater world with people of all ages and backgrounds. I am a firm believer that responsible attitudes towards the marine environment comes from people engaging with and understanding our oceans – the world’s life support system that bought us here and keeps us alive today.
Stew Robertson - EMR Nelson
Stew Robertson loves everything to do with the aquatic realm. As well as being an EMR co-ordinator, Stew is the founder of Abel Tasman EcoTours and spends every day observing and communicating the marine ecosystems in the top of the South Island. He has also recently founded Tasman Bay Guardians, a group focused on marine conservation, leading action projects, community based management strategies and of course education in the form of EMR and Whitebait connection.
Jorge Jimenez Senen - EMR Wellington 0211238961
Jorge is an ocean enthusiast that loves being in the water. He has been interested in the marine environment since a young age. Borned in Madrid, Spain, he would have to drive at least 3 hours to get to the nearest beach. After completing his BSc in Biotechnology, he decided to leave Europe and explore more in depth the oceans of the world. He volunteered for 5 months in a turtle conservation, rehabilitation and education centre in Indonesia. Duriing the volunteering, he discovered his passion of marine conservation education, teaching students and tourist the effects of human activity in our marine environments and how to mitigate these effects. After completing the volunteer, Jorge decided to study a MSc in Marine Conservation at Victoria University of Wellington. During his master degree, he would volunteer with the Wellington team taking the school kids snorkelling around the Taputeranga marine reserve. This is how he got involved with the team, the EMR program and the trust.
Andrew Penniket - EMR Otago - Ambassador
Andrew is a marine biologist and free-lance film-maker. Andrew is leading the pilot study and development of EMR in the Otago region.
Pat Swanson - EMR Taranaki - Ambassador
Hi there – My name is Pat Swanson and I am the lead regional EMR coordinator for Taranaki. We are very lucky here to have the help of the Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society as our umbrella organization, and also we have the dedicated help of Mike Tapp, our local educator from the Department of Conservation. I helped establish EMR in Taranaki in 2011, initially with my class of Year 5 and 6 students at St Pius X School in New Plymouth. I am now the marine studies teacher at Highlands Intermediate. I have in my past life been a commercial diver and also a fisheries research technician. I have a Bachelor of Education, I am a PADI qualified Open water diver, and also an NZQA qualified snorkel instructor. My wife Debbie and I have three children, who are all nearly as keen on the sea as myself! When I am not doing EMR, I am still more than likely in or on the water, or else in the kitchen cooking. If I had to choose a favourite marine creature it would be the John Dory – I always find them fascinating, despite their rather depressed expression!
Megan Wilson - EMR Nelson - Ambassador
I was the lead EMR coordinator in the Nelson region from 2010 - 2015. I now support as an ambassador. I have my PADI dive certificate although have not scuba dived in recent years preferring the freedom of less gear when snorkeling. I also have NZQA Snorkel Instructor qualification. I have a Home Science degree and I am a primary trained teacher. I work three days teaching technology to year 7&8's. That is in old school terms, cooking, sewing, woodwork, electronics and ICT. For six years I also taught a Gifted and Talented programme (Future Thinkers) to year 5 to 8 students which included experiential learning and environmental education. I have always had an interest in conservation and the marine environment and feel most connected when I am in or on the sea. I enjoy taking education onto the outdoors and seeing and hearing the delight of EMR participants as they become more confident at snorkeling and experience the marine environment close up. I have two grown up children who are mostly left home and have recently expanded my whanau having moved in with my partner and his son. I am a keen waka ama paddler enjoying social and competitive paddling but mostly I value time away from the busyness of everyday life while paddling along the beautiful Abel Tasman coastline.
Kim Jones - EMR Northland/Auckland - Ambassador
Tena Koutou, my name is Kim Jones, I lead the development of the Whitebait Connection programme (our freshwater sister programme) www.whitebaitconnection.co.nz I was involved as a EMR coordinator from 2006- 2015. During high school I achieved my Open Water SCUBA Diving certification and surf lifesaving bronze star and medallion. I am a graduate of the Diploma in Environmental Management and Conservation at Northland Polytechnic. During this time I received the Golden Bay Cement student scholarship in recognition of my achievements, which has helped fund my education and experience working within the environmental management industry. I am a trustee of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust and lead the development & delivery of our freshwater programmes and projects and national expansion. I have a National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing. I love SCUBA diving and I am a PADI divemaster. Together with my husband Blair, we have our own charter business that we operate from Snells Beach. I am a proud mum to son Zayne and my girl Oceana.