The Styx Living Laboratory Trust Trustees

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Hannah Watkinson became Chair of the Trust in October 2022, with the stepping down of former Chair Rex Williams. She also still coordinates our Creative Communicators for Project Kotare. Her career to date has been embedded in the arts and environment communities, and she is passionate about forming connections and making pathways easier for our talented people to function and flourish in Otautahi. Hannah holds a Masters degree in Photography, and regularly lectures at the University of Canterbury. She has sat on a number of Trusts, including Te Tira Kahikuhiku, the Red Zones transformative land use group. She first became involved with the Trust in 2020, when she was contracted as Project Manager to work through the final stage of the Project Kotare funding application. Hannah looks forward to working strategically on the future of the Trust and our mahi, alongside the talented Trustees - in our monitoring programmes, research and the continuation of the excellent work that Project Kotare is achieving. 




Mike Davidson has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environment. He was previously a Christchurch City Councillor from 2016 - 2022 and a member of the Community Board (which has a large amount of the Pūharakekenui within its boundaries) from 2013 - 2022.

Dale is General Manager at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, which is an MOU partner of the Styx Living Laboratory Trust.

Dale moved to New Zealand in 2006 from South Africa. He studied mechanical engineering, but changed careers to work and focus on the family business. In his spare time Dale enjoys watching the kids' sports and running.


Piper lives in the catchment and loves exploring and running around the Styx. She is studying Law and Economics at the University of Canterbury and is particularly interested in resource management law. Piper has been working at the Ministry for the Environment as a Policy Analyst on the Emissions Trading Scheme and has a background in youth engagement. Her aspiration is to grow awareness and generate interest in the Styx River as an example of what urban waterways can be. 

Rex was Chair of the Trust from October 2018 - October 2022 - he previously chaired the Board of Management as well. Since "retirement", Rex has taken up many governance positions, including being the Chancellor of Canterbury University, Chair of the West Coast District Health Board, and an Ecan Commissioner, among other positions. Rex was a key founder in the Water Rights Trust, formed to address increasing concern about poor water management and deteriorating water quality in Canterbury. He is a keen recreational angler and enjoys a number of outdoor sports.

John says, "My involvement with the Styx River was as a response from returning to Christchurch after living for many years in national parks in Australia. Noticing how Christchurch was rapidly pushing out into the country with urban growth, I thought it would be a good thing to be involved with conserving the Styx River in its natural state. It's not over yet, there is still plenty to do and to know that future generations, wildlife and the river will benefit from what is being accomplished."

During my first term as a Community Board Member I learned so much about the Styx River and what is being done to conserve and restore it - things that I would not have known otherwise. I want to help share this knowledge about what the Styx has to offer, and how people can get involved. I am excited to have this opportunity as a trustee to be a part of the work that is going on, and to enhance the Styx for my children and future generations.

Richard is a retired businessman and company director. He has a keen interest in the conservation of the natural environment and in particular our rivers and waterways. Richard was also a past member of the Water Rights Trust and is a current Patron of the Wild Life and Habitat Trust and Trustee of the Styx Living Laboratory Trust. He is a keen fly fisherman in his leisure time.

Mike Henderson - Rauter is a lawyer who specializes in employment law. He supports clients by providing tailored advice and guidance on any employment query or dispute. With his background as police detective Mike has a unique set of skills in negotiation, investigation, critical thinking, and problem solving. In 2022, Mike was awarded a New Zealand Police Commissioner's Bronze Merit Award for leadership, professionalism, and commitment to duty for the role he held following the Christchurch Mosque Shootings, in particular, as an investigator and preparing the case for prosecution. As a lawyer, Mike is noted for helping clients achieve a resolution in an effective and timely manner. He has worked with a range of businesses providing pragmatic and commercial solutions across a broad spectrum of employment work. Outside of work Mike enjoys snowboarding, hiking, running with his husky and is passionate about the outdoors, football, and travelling. 

Nick Moody was the National Whitebait Fishery Manager at the Department of Conservation and is now on sabbatical exploring the great rivers of the Americas, fly-rod in hand. Nick grew up in Brooklands on the Styx River, joined the Styx Vision 2040 project in 1998, and loves working to restore the river on which he grew up. He previously worked at Environment Canterbury where he led catchment restoration projects by bringing together science and compliance. He was the ECan rep to the Trust for 6 years, as well as the ECan lead on the $4.2M Styx River Freshwater Improvement Fund project. He is a keen fly-fisherman, and a passionate advocate for both fish and public access to rivers.

Johno Ridden is the Associate Curator Natural History at Canterbury Museum. He also serves on the New Zealand Entomology Society executive committee as the Membership Officer. He has a Bachelor of Science (Hon) with a major in Conservation and Ecology. He has a keen interest in Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural history, profiling and highlighting our unique flora and fauna. The group he is most interested in are the invertebrates. Johno is keen to contribute his knowledge and experience to conserve and promote the Styx River vision of being Living Laboratory. In his spare time, he will most likely be walking somewhere around Ōtautahi or the Waitaha Canterbury foothills with his wife and dog Namu the Springer Spaniel.