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Leadership Team

The GNS Science Leadership Team comprises the member of the Executive, the Heads of Department from the three science divisions, and the General Managers from the corporate divisions.
The co-chairs are Kevin Faure and Joe Manning.

Nigel Abrahams

Risk and Assurance (Business Services Group) Manager
Nigel Abrahams
Nigel has been at GNS Science since May 2016 when he joined as a risk and assurance analyst. He comes from Western Cape in South Africa where gained a Bachelor’s degree in Internal Auditing and a diploma in forensic examination. Before coming to New Zealand, he spent five years working with councils on risk and performance management. Before that, Nigel worked for KPMG carrying out internal audits for clients including local and provincial government, and the fishing industry. In his current role at GNS Science Nigel’s responsibilities include risk and fraud management, legal compliance, monitoring the internal audit programme and reporting to the Board’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Jenny Beattie

Project Management Office (Business Services Group) Manager
Jenny Beattie
Jenny came to GNS Science in August 2018 from Kiwibank where she’d been the Portfolio Governance Manager for five years and before that, the Programme and Delivery Manager. She’s also had leadership roles at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Contact Energy. Her achievements at Kiwibank included establishing the enterprise portfolio strategy and delivery plans, establishing governance and management processes, and providing oversight of all programmes and projects.  Jenny is responsible for the Project Management Office team providing oversight, risk management and coordination of major projects.

Geothermal Sciences (Geological Resources Division) HoD
Greg Bignall
Greg Bignall joined GNS Science in 2004, after a three-year research/faculty appointment at Tohoku University (Japan), where he held a key role in a research programme for Enhanced Geothermal Systems. He has a PhD (Geothermal Geology) from The University of Auckland (1995) and previously worked for Kingston Morrison Ltd. (now Sinclair Knight Merz). At GNS Science, he is Head of the Geothermal Sciences Department, and is Programme Leader for GNS's Geothermal Research Programme. Greg has had many research papers published and has written numerous technical reports for commercial clients In New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and Chile and elsewhere, particularly related to geothermal exploration, resource assessments and well services. He was the recipient of Royal Society of New Zealand “Presidents’ Award” 2011; for “research based technology enhancing renewable geothermal energy used in New Zealand”.

Hannah

Risk and Society (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Hannah Brackley
Hannah joined GNS Science in 2005 bringing several years’ research experience in sedimentology, biogeochemistry and erosion-related carbon transfers. Originally in a business development role, in 2009 she became Head of the Tectonophysics Department. In 2014 she joined the Natural Hazards Research Platform – initially as Manager of Policy and Strategy then as Interim Platform Manager. In October 2016 she was appointed Head of the Risk and Society Department. The Risk and Society Department’s expertise includes hazard and risk modelling, earthquake engineering, land-use planning for natural hazards, emergency management, and community resilience building. It works collaboratively with stakeholders and end users like central and local government, research and commercial organisations.

Jo Bryan

Performance and Reporting (Business Services Group) Manager
Jo Bryan
Jo Bryan started in the role in August 2018. Her responsibilities include organisational planning and reporting, monitoring and advising on performance, reporting on KPIs identified in commercial and/or research contracts, and reporting tools and metrics. She came from Wellington Water Ltd where she was the principal advisor to the chief executive and has previously held senior planning and performance roles at the Ministries of Justice and Health and the NZ Police. Jo’s also worked in the private sector – at Telecom NZ as an information services planning manager and as a strategic management consultant at KPMG.

David Burbidge

Tectonophysics (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
David Burbidge.
David Burbidge is a geophysicist specialising in earthquake and tsunami hazard assessment and became head of the Tectonophysics Department at GNS Science in 2014. After completing a PhD in geodynamic modelling from the Australian National University in 2001, David started work as a Research Geophysicist at Geoscience Australia (GA) before becoming the head of the Earthquake Hazard Section at GA in 2009. He gained extensive experience in earthquake and tsunami hazard assessments and plate modelling. The Tectonophysics Department has expertise in seismology, geophysics, geodesy, crustal geodynamics, earthquake and volcano deformation modelling, hazard and risk assessment, and tsunami modelling.

Stewart Cameron

Hydrogeology (Environment and Materials Division) HoD
Stewart Cameron.
The Hydrogeology Department includes scientists with expertise in physical and chemical hydrogeology, isotopic sciences, geophysics, computer modelling and data management. Its research and consultancy projects include mapping the recharge zones of major groundwater resources, determination of groundwater age and security of supply, measurement and computer modelling of the direction and rate of groundwater flow and relationships with surface waters, characterisation of water quality, and development and modelling of novel systems for water and wastewater treatment.

Kevin Faure

Director Geological Resources Division
Kevin Faure
Kevin leads the Petroleum, Geothermal, Palaeontology and Marine Geoscience Departments. He specialises in stable isotope geochemistry and has researched and published on ore deposits, submarine volcanoes, gas hydrates, and geothermal springs. He joined GNS Science in 1997 and established a lab at NIC using laser technology to analyse oxygen isotopes in silicate and oxide minerals. Kevin headed the isotope biogeology department for four years. He previously worked as an exploration and mining geologist in South Africa where he is from, and spent four years as a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Japan, north of Tokyo. He has a PhD from the University of Cape Town.

Nico Fournier

Volcanology (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Nico Fournier
Nico is a volcanologist specialising in geophysics and physical volcanology. Before coming to New Zealand in 2009, he researched and monitored volcanoes in Europe, Central and South America and the Eastern Caribbean. After his PhD in Volcanology in the UK, between 2004 and 2009 he held a research fellowship at the Seismic Research Centre in Trinidad, West Indies. Nico was director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory in 2008-2009 and was heavily involved in the response to the late 2008 - early 2009 eruptions at Soufriere Hills volcano. He is Associate Editor for Journal of Geophysical Research and Frontiers in Volcanology. His team which includes include volcano seismologists, geochemists, geodesists and volcanic geologists, specialise in volcano surveillance and research. They monitor New Zealand's active volcanoes through the GeoNet project.

Rob Funnell

Petroleum Geoscience (Geological Resources Division) HoD
Rob Funnell
Rob has been at GNS Science for more than 20 years and has had several project leadership roles. He is a geophysicist specialising in thermal modelling of sedimentary basins, the development of basin models to quantify petroleum prospectively and risk, and storage aspects of carbon dioxide sequestration. Rob has MSc degrees in physics from the University of Waikato and geophysics with a postgraduate Diploma of Imperial College (DIC) from the University of London. His department’s expertise includes sedimentology, petroleum geochemistry, carbon dioxide sequestration, seismic attribute analysis and basin modelling. Their focus is better understanding New Zealand’s sedimentary basins, and leading research into petroleum systems and the potential future adoption of new energy technologies.

Bruce Girdwood

Acting Director Natural Hazards Division
Bruce Girdwood
Bruce joined GNS Science in August 2017 to lead the Stakeholder Relations group.  He has experience in industry focussed research and development and extensive management and commercial experience in private and state-owned sectors. Bruce spent 20 years in the energy sector holding senior management roles in Transpower, Vector and the Electricity Commission, where he developed and implemented national energy efficiency programmes.  Bruce previously worked at the CSIR in South Africa, where his research was focused on materials used in high temperature high stress environments. Bruce has a MSc (University of Cape Town), and a PhD in Materials Engineering (University of Wales, Swansea).

Ken Gledhill

Geohazards Monitoring (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Ken Gledhill
The main focus of Ken’s department is the operation of the geological hazard monitoring system GeoNet, though staff are also involved in other GNS Science projects. Ken has been with GNS Science for more than 20 years and in 2017 was awarded Science NZ’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He designed and built the first digital seismographs in New Zealand and was a key player in getting GeoNet started in 2001. Since 2005, Dr Gledhill has been involved in the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and his international consultancy work has included projects in the Pacific and Asia. He has worked to improve the infrastructure and capacity of countries to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami. His department has expertise in the acquisition, digital transportation, processing and storage of large quantities of geophysical and geochemical data, as well as the sciences required to develop and maintain this capability.

Jo Grenfell

Human Resources (People and Culture Group) Manager
Jo Grenfell
Jo joined GNS Science on 8 October 2018. Her responsibilities include developing fit-for-purpose people management systems and programmes to support the organisation’s culture change programme, build organisational wide capability and drive current and future high performance. Jo also manages the operational performance of the Human Resources Department. Prior to joining GNS Science Jo was the HR Transformation Manager at the Civil Aviation Authority and before that worked for several years as the People Capability Manager at ACC.

Greg Holland

Stakeholder Relations (Stakeholder Relations Group) Manager
Greg Holland
Starting at the end of 2016 as the business development manager, Greg is responsible for mapping and overseeing key stakeholder relationships in the organisation. He leads a small team that provides support for working with iwi, and advises on marketing and brand management. His background is in engineering geology. With a Masters in Geology from the University of Auckland, his former roles have included engineering consultancy in the US and analyses for the mining and minerals sector. In the ten years before joining GNS Science, Greg was Auckland Council’s environmental strategy manager and Auckland University’s research office operations manager.

Anna Jellie

General Counsel (Business Services Group)
Anna Jellie
Anna is the GNS Science lead for legal advice on contractual arrangements, intellectual property and other aspects of our operation. She is also the Privacy Officer and governance and executive advisor – she supports the Board and Executive Leadership Team and acts as the Company Secretary. Anna joined GNS Science as Legal Counsel in 2015. She came from Fonterra where she spent eight years as Corporate Counsel advising on legal issues across the Fonterra business. Her key practice areas there were innovation and intellectual property. Before joining Fonterra, Anna worked in private practice at major New Zealand law firms, where she specialised in commercial and intellectual property law. She also has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Otago.

Andy Juniper

GLOBEClaritas (Stakeholder Relations Group) Acting COO
Andrew Juniper
Andrew is an experienced Product Owner and seismic processing geophysicist. Before coming to New Zealand and joining GNS Science in 2007, he had over 20 years seismic processing experience with a number of organisations in the UK, processing both land and marine seismic data from sedimentary basins around the world. The GLOBEClaritas team produces world class seismic processing software with a Global client network. His team includes R&D geophysicists, software developers and software support specialists

Simone Keough

Communications (People and Culture Group) Manager
Simone Keough
Simone joined GNS Science in August 2018 after her role at EQC as the corporate communications manager. Originally from Canada, Simone’s had an early career as a journalist. For the last 20 years she’s worked across a wide range of sectors, honing her expertise in risk and issues management, stakeholder engagement including media, crisis planning and change management. Simone was a senior consultant with public affairs agency, BRG Inc, for six years and before that held communications management roles with NZ Post, and in Canada. She is responsible for a team of communications advisors, desktop publishers, and outreach education, website, and graphic design people.  

Nicola Litchfield

Active Landscapes (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Nicola Litchfield. 
Nicola is an earthquake geologist / tectonic geomorphologist, who joined GNS Science in 2001 and became head of the Active Landscapes Department in 2014. She has extensive experience in active faulting, fluvial and marine terrace, and landscape evolution studies. She was leader of the MARGINS Source-to-Sink New Zealand research programme, a project manager of the Port Hills landslide life safety risk project and has been involved in numerous national and international seismic hazard studies, including developing a global active fault database for the Global Earthquake Model project. Her department focuses on understanding landslide, geomechanical, active fault, and landscape processes. It houses two nationally significant databases, the New Zealand Landslide Database and the New Zealand Active Faults Database.

Joe Manning

Materials and Air (Environment and Materials Division) HoD. 
Joe Manning.
The Materials and Air Department has a range of specialist capabilities in nano-materials analysis and fabrication. It has a history of developing novel nanostructured materials for applications in electronics and manufacturing industries through the use of its sensor and coatings technologies. The Department operates a range of techniques that enable manufacturers to develop materials - usually metal - with superior physical, magnetic, electrical, and optical properties. This gives improved lifetime performance and greater utility. Industries where this technology can apply include medicine, agriculture, energy production, food processing, high-value manufacturing, transport and construction. The Department also provides an extensive research programme on air quality, assessing the sources of air particulate pollution for regional councils in New Zealand as well as agencies throughout South-East Asia.

Guy Maslen

Acting GeoNet (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Guy Maslen
Guy moved to GeoNet in March 2018 to lead the Enhanced Geohazards Monitoring (EGM) project, transitioning to programme leadership and Acting HoD. He started at GNS Science as Commercial Processing Manager in 2000, to expand the seismic reflection data processing services offered to industry.  This led to establishing a separate business unit to develop, sell and support the GLOBE Claritas seismic data processing software.  Guy comes from the UK and from 1992 to 2000 he worked in the UK and the Netherlands in the seismic survey industry. He has a Master’s degree in Applied Geophysics from the University of Birmingham.

Steve Meads

Health and Safety (People and Culture Group) Manager
Steve Meads
Steve has been GNS Science’s Health and Safety manager since 2016. Originally from Essex in England, he came to New Zealand in 2006 and worked in food safety with Foodstuffs and the SOE, Landcorp Farming Limited. He has a NEBOSH certificate in occupational health and Safety, an internationally recognised UK qualification. Steve and his small team work as internal business partners to redesign systems and improve attitudes to health, safety and wellness. They work with staff to develop policies, systems and processes and provide training and tools to ensure these are implemented effectively.

Stacey Perrett

Information Services and Technology (Business Services Group) Manager
Stacey Perrett
Stacey Perrett joined GNS Science in 2015 as General Manager of the Information Services Team. The team provides Software Development, IT support and Infrastructure, Records Management and Library services to GNS staff and external stakeholders. Stacey has a background of 20 years in IT with a range of organisations such as Deloitte, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Opus and SKM. His most recent roles before his current position were NZ IT Manager at Opus International Consultants and CIO at the NZ Commerce Commission. 

Adele Quill

Administration (Business Services) Manager
Adele Quill
Adele joined GNS Science in August 2018 from Inland Revenue in Wellington where she was the facilities management team leader, leading and supporting a team of 15 direct reports delivering business and facilities management services to 2000 internal customers.  

Adele previously worked as business services team leader at Ministry for Primary Industries supporting the setup of a newly created administration team providing executive support to Policy Directors, and at  Wellington City Council creating a newly centralised administration team across City Housing and the Wellington Service Centre.   Within these roles she led teams ensuring robust processes and service delivery were effectively implemented.

Adele is the first point of contact for all general business. Her key responsibilities include managing the efficient delivery of administration functions across four GNS sites,  improving and reviewing systems and processes, and overseeing facilities services such as the OCS cleaning and waste management / recycling contracts.

Lucia Roncaglia

Paleontology (Geological Resources Division) HoD
Lucia Roncaglia.
Lucia received her MSc in Geology (1991) and PhD in Paleontology (1995) from Modena University, Italy. Before joining GNS Science in 2006 she worked in Denmark (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and DONG Energy Ltd) and Italy (ENI). Her main expertise is in the study of stratigraphy and depositional environments of Late Cretaceous to Recent sediments through the analysis of marine palynology and she is the senior author of several scientific publications. She is also a trained operations geologist and coordinated well operations in the Danish sector of the North Sea from 2005. Lucia leads a team who specialise in stratigraphy and paleoenvironmental studies. The department includes the largest group of paleontologists in the Southern Hemisphere and houses the National Paleontology Collection. It provides services to the petroleum industry and has much sought-after capability in forensic palynology.

Mike Sim

Acting Director Environment and Materials Division
Mike Sim
As well as having the role of acting director of his division, Mike is Head of Department for Isotope Biogeosciences, which includes the Rafter Radiocarbon Lab, the GNS Science Stable Isotope Lab, the Cosmogenic Isotope & Radiochemistry Labs, and the National Ice Core Research Laboratory. The department works in wider environmental research using isotopes to find solutions. Mike is also the Business Development Manager for Isotope Biogeosciences and manages the commercial services offered by these labs. Mike holds a BSc(Chem) from Victoria University of Wellington and joined GNS Science in 2009 following a 25-year career in oil, petrochemical, and energy companies in New Zealand and overseas, plus a period at MED (now MBIE) advising Government.

Rob Smilie

Regional Geology (Natural Hazards Division) HoD
Rob Smillie
Rob is a geologist with a background in mining and minerals exploration.  For 25 years he worked with commercial and public-sector companies throughout New Zealand, Australia and SE Asia in their search for new mineral resources. Rob also has an interest in Information Economics and the role this plays in the allocation of resources property rights. He received his MSc degree from Otago University in 1989 and MBA degree from Victoria University in 2001. His team acquires, manages and provides authoritative underpinning regional geoscience information and knowledge that is used by a range of stakeholders. Through fieldwork and technology, they also make New Zealand’s geological maps using skills including petrology, geochemistry, geochronology, geophysical interpretation, GIS and cartography, and 3D geological modelling. The Department is also custodian to several Nationally Significant Databases.

Vaughan Stagpoole

Marine Geoscience (Geological Resources Division) HoD
Vaughan Stagpoole
Vaughan is a geophysicist specialising in basin modelling and research on the formation and development of sedimentary basins. He has been involved in the assessment of the petroleum prospectivity of New Zealand's frontier sedimentary basins and has been part of the technical team providing advice to New Zealand’s Continental Shelf Project. Vaughan has been at GNS Science since 1992. After receiving his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in 1998 he has worked in the Geological Resources Division. For over 20 years the team of geologists, geophysicists and geochemists have been leading voyages to study the structure, evolution, and resources of the Southwest Pacific, Ross Sea and other oceans. With large parts of New Zealand’s ocean territory still relatively unknown, exploration is an important component of the team’s work. Studies of active hydrothermal systems offshore give insights into the thermal and fluid flow history of the plate boundary as well as the processes of mineral deposit formation. They help lead New Zealand’s UNCLOS Continental Shelf Project so that government policy can guide the use of the ocean rather than react to it.