2017 Conference Speakers

Paul Johnson- Keynote Speaker

Paul Johnson-290-967-411 Paul believes that “Trees Are Key” to healthier and happier communities.
Currently the urban and community forestry coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service. Paul is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist®, an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist®, and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. He is past chair of the Southern Group of State Foresters’ Urban and Community Forestry Committee and is a member of the ISA Board of Directors.
Paul is a Municipal Forestry Institute alumni, graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in forestry, and has been a radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, extension horticulturist, university adjunct instructor, and plant health care specialist.

Talk Title: Keys to Collaborative Engagement
Abstract: Click here to view the Abstract

Talk Title: How To Be Social Without Beer (or Social Media Made Simple)
Abstract: Click here to view the Abstract

Duncan Slater- Plenary Speaker

Duncan Slater Duncan is the course tutor for the MSc in arboriculture and urban forestry, both on-campus and on-line at Myerscough College. As an academic, his PhD study was in the anatomy and biomechanical performance of branch junctions in trees, concentrating on the hazel (Corylus avellana) as a test specimen. Duncan has recently found the primary cause of bark-included junctions in trees, which is the result of 'natural bracing' - touching and rubbing branches that prevent a junction from experiencing normal loading. This finding informs important changes to tree surgery and tree assessment practices.

Talk Title: A new model for the anatomy of branch junctions
Abstract: Click here to view abstract

Talk Title: The effects of natural bracing in trees
Abstract: Click here to view abstract

Brian French

Brian French Photo-692 Brian French is founder of Portland, OR based tree care company, Arboriculture International LLC since 2013. He has been a climbing certified arborist since 2002 and is an ISA qualified tree risk assessor. Serving as coordinator for the Oregon Champion Tree Registry and Portland Heritage Tree Program Chair, his work focuses primarily on the preservation of significant, old trees and associated flora and fauna. His volunteering for the Audubon Society of Portland has paved the way for various ongoing wildlife habitat projects including salmon habitat restoration, snag development, red tree vole surveys and developing urban wildlife guidelines.

Talk Title: Arborists and Wildlife
Abstract: Click here to view abstract

Talk Title: TBC

David Glenn - Plenary Speaker

David Glenn-380 David Glenn is the manager of Tree services for the utility lines company DELTA based in Dunedin. David has worked in the Arboriculture industry for 40 years during which time he has worked in the private sector, council sector and utility sector and arboriculture education areas.
David has been heavily involved with industry organisations including a previous president of the New Zealand Arboriculture Association (NZArbor) Chair of the NZ Notable trees Trust and Chair of Certification for the ISA certification programs.
David is the current NZArbor AS/NZ standards committee representative and has been with the 1891 standards since 2003.

Talk Title: The paradox of the New Zealand “no interest” tree legislation
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract

Geoffrey Donovan

Geoffrey Donovan-877
Dr. Donovan has quantified a wide range of urban-tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits—reduced summertime cooling costs and increased home values, for example—to less intuitive such as crime reduction. More recently, he has focused on the relationship between trees and public health. He found that mothers with trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies, and when trees are killed by an invasive pest, more people die from cardiovascular and lower-respiratory diseases. He is spending 2017 at the Center for Public Health Research at Massey University investigating the impact of exposure to the natural environment on child development.

Talk Title: Trees are an essential part of our public-health infrastructure
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract

Talk Title: Tane Mahuta Public Lecture Series: The benefits of Urban trees: from the intuitive to the surprising 
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract

Karin van der Walt

Karin van der Walt3-894 Karin has an MSc (Ecology) complimented by 16 years’ experience in working with threatened plants. She participated in South Africa’s response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020, and also served as an expert on the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Non Detriment Findings for cycads from South Africa.  Lessons learned from global congresses, international partnerships and qualifications enabled Karin to author and co-author 10 publications on threatened plant conservation.  In April 2016, Karin took up the position as Conservation and Science Advisor for Wellington Gardens where she is tasked with the ex situ conservation of New Zealand’s threatened plant species.

Talk Title: Myrtle Rust in New Zealand
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract


Clinton Yeats

clint yeats-115 Clinton is a business consultant who has worked with over one hundred companies, organisations and Government agencies in Australasia in the development and implementation of operational and business improvement programmes. Clinton is a "Lean Thinking" specialist with a strategic focus on the design and implementation of business improvement programmes including the training and development of staff at all levels.
Prior to moving to New Zealand in 2004, Clinton's career spanned 18 years in the motor industry with Toyota South Africa and then Nissan Motor Company in the UK and Japan. He managed multiple concurrent projects in vehicle and process development and in plant preparation. The continuous improvement ("Kaizen") of the manufacturing process through "Lean Thinking" was a central function within his roles in engineering and production management. Clinton developed his training and mentoring skills through numerous supplier development programmes within the Nissan European supply chain.

Talk Title: Lean Thinking – Improving Business Processes to Reduce Time and Cost!
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract

Rieke Behrens

Rieke Behrens-651
Dr Rieke Behrens currently works as an ecologist for Tonkin & Taylor in Auckland. She began her career in horticulture about 20 years ago and later moved on to study Landscape Ecology. She moved to Christchurch after her graduation and completed her dissertation work ‘Selecting public street and park trees for urban environments: the role of ecological and biogeographical criteria’ at Lincoln University in 2011. 
In 2016 she helped developing tree planting guidelines with Auckland Council with emphasis on creating urban forest providing year-round food source for native birds. 
Rieke’s focus and passion is in understanding and promoting how smart tree planting choices can create an ecosystem that is both ecologically sustainable and enjoyable.

Talk Title: Are you selecting trees for their ecological function yet?
Abstract: Click here to view the Abstract

Marie Brown

Marie Brown-767 Marie holds degrees in science and law including a PhD from the University of Waikato, which focused on compliance with ecological compensation requirements under the RMA. She has a long-standing interest in regulatory outcomes and a particular affinity for trees. Marie has a background in local government, both in RMA compliance and strategic policy with  tree protection being a speciality. Following a stint in local government, Marie completed her doctorate and joined the Environmental Defence Society of New Zealand. From 2013 to 2017, Marie led several significant research programmes in addition to preparing submissions, acting as an expert witness in Board of Inquiry processes and conducting media interviews and presentations. Marie lives in Upper Hutt with her partner Aaron, German Shepherd Sasha and new baby Lucy and now works as an environmental consultant

Talk Title: An important branch of the law – regulatory tree protection in New Zealand
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract
 Cate Macinnis-Ng
Cate MacInnis Photo-561 Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng is Senior Lecturer in Ecology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. Her research specialty is plant ecophysiology and she is particularly interested in the influence of climatic conditions on water and carbon cycling of native forests. Since moving to Auckland in 2010 with her family, Cate has been working on the ecophysiology of kauri. Her current focus is the kauri drought experiment, a drought simulation at the Huapai scientific reserve in west Auckland. Cate is also working with students using remote sensing and shade house experiments to improve our understanding of impacts of extreme climatic events on endemic species.  

Talk Title: Drought and native trees in Aotearoa - New Zealand
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract
 Matt Smillie
Matt-Smillie -168 Matt Smillie has been looking out for large and tall trees since he was a lad.  After the opening of the New Zealand Tree Register in 2009, he has been a regular contributor of new and updated measurements of some of the largest and tallest trees in NZ.  His arboricultural qualifications are limited to second in 6th Form biology at school and ownership of an old Stihl chainsaw inherited from his grandfather.  Matt has a PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Canterbury and in his non-spare time works as a consultant engineer in Lower Hutt. 

Talk Title: The Tech of Tracking Tall Trees in New Zealand
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract
Howell Davies

Howell Davies has an arboricultural background with 23 years’ experience in the tree care, management, and urban streetscape redevelopment in Auckland. He has worked in the practical tree care industry and began his career in the USA, before moving to New Zealand in 1994. He has a Diploma in Arboriculture, with Distinction and awarded the best research topic for his final diploma year.

Howell works for the Auckland Council and has had various roles in council over the last 16 years. He has experience with a number of Auckland’s large urban redevelopment projects. He has worked with a number of specialist teams including, engineers, designers and landscape architects on the development and implementation of specialised tree planter pits in large urban redevelopment of street and park spaces in central Auckland. The designs allow for trees to be incorporated into storm water management structures, as well as providing passive irrigation.

His work is ongoing with council’s urban designers providing input into the design of a range of tree planting devices in urban spaces and is currently working on the city’s biggest infrastructure project that is the CRL (central city rail link) to develop and design space for trees.

In December 2016, Howell took on the new role of Senior Urban Forest Advisor for Auckland Council, and has been busy working on development of a regional tree strategy for Auckland. This has involved consultation with a range of council experts from the Chief Sustainability Office, Parks, Biodiversity and Auckland Transport.

The Forest Strategy for Auckland will be the first of its kind for the region and will be a guidance and reference document based on research and data analysis. The strategy aims to set the direction for the future growth, management and where possible protection of tree cover for the region. The development of the documents is aimed at giving a clear strategic direction for the current and future landscape management of the regions public and private tree asset. Howell will give an overview of the strategies development and discuss the analytical and consultative work that has taken place.

Talk Title: The development of the wider Urban Forest Strategy for the Auckland region
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract

Elliot Fitzjohn
Ellito Fitzjohn-398-107-126

Elliot has completed a cycle in which he graduated as an arborist from Wintec in the year 2001 and is now back at Wintec working as a tutor. After graduation, the new millennium took him as far abroad as England and France where he lived and worked for many years. Elliot was part of many different crews and experienced many styles of tree work. He would probably tell you the importance of discerning ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practices to ensure you only add ‘good’ to your experience. 

Talk Title: What's your angle?
Abstract: Click here to view the abstract


Andreas (Rossy) Ross
Rossy Pic-462-166

Rossy is the founder of Pro Climb Limited – Tree Care Auckland, a tree climbing, horticultural abseiling and tree care company based in Auckland, New Zealand. He holds qualifications in forestry, arboriculture, and industrial rope access. His passion for a safer work environment has led him to developing safety and training concepts that he shares through training days and workshops. Rossy has worked as a moderator for the Primary ITO and is an expert witness to Worksafe. He has served on the education & training committee, conference committees, and he volunteered at regional, national, and international tree climbing events for the New Zealand Arboricultural Association. Rossy is the co-founder of the annual work bee Hackfalls Arbor Camp. Rossy believes that true understanding is crucial to working safely.

Talk Title: Emergency Response for Tree Climbers – Medical emergencies and their required first aid response

Hans van der Wal
Hans Van der Wal-44-171
I am a natural resources and local government law specialist at a national law firm, who has acted for both private and council clients. I have also worked for Regional Councils and a City Council, first in enforcement and consenting roles, and later as in-house counsel.  This gives me unique insight into the sector’s legal issues. I have acted in Council, Court and Appeal hearings on matters involving vegetation and tree protection. I enjoy helping clients, be they councils, companies or private individuals, with finding the best way through contentious issues surrounding the protection and use of natural resources including trees and other vegetation.

Talk Title: Trees, Vegetation and the Expert Witness – A Cocktail of Conflicting Considerations
Abstract: Click here to view the Abstract

Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson-359
I've been working in the arboricultural industry for 15 years, beginning like every good arborist on the end of a pile of brush feeding a chipper. I moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2006 and continued to 'ply my trade'. In 2008 I began a correspondence degree course in arboriculture through Myerscough College and graduated with distinction in 2011. I then worked in Auckland as a consulting arborist with a heavy focus on tree protection and development sites. During this time, I began to question some of the practises relating to root pruning and tree protection that we adopt as an industry. In the absence of finding any other alternatives, in 2016 I set out to find out for myself and enrolled as a Ph.D student at the University of Canterbury's School of Forestry. I've spent the last six months carrying out research in Florida. The talk will follow on from the presentation delivered at the ISA conference in Washington DC, introducing the topic with basic theory and show preliminary results.

Talk Title: Root pruning: are we doing it wrong?
Abstract: Click here to view the Abstract
Encouraging, fostering, improving and educating in all aspects of arboriculture throughout New Zealand.