Our Executive Leadership Team

GNS is managed by an Executive Team reporting to the Chief Executive Officer.

Percy Chelydra 5653

Chelydra Percy

Chief Executive

  • Chelydra Percy is the Chief Executive of GNS Science...

    Chelydra joined GNS in May 2023, after nine years as Group Chief Executive of BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand). In that role, Chelydra oversaw both divisions of the organisation – BRANZ Inc and BRANZ Limited – as well as the subsidiary of BRANZ which operates out of Australia. She led a team of over 130 people, including 12 direct reports.

    Chelydra’s career has seen her work with a range of technology, education, and research organisations over the last 25 years, nationally and internationally. She has significant experience in the CRI sector, having held senior roles at Callaghan Innovation, AgResearch, and Scion. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington.

Benfell Peter 1840

Peter Benfell

General Manager Science

  • Peter has had more than 30 years’ experience in research, science and technology...

    BE (Hons), University of Auckland; DipBusAdmin, Victoria University of Wellington

    Currently GM Business Services (interim), Peter re-joined GNS Science in October 2018 as General Manager, Science.

    He is responsible for the leadership and management of our business services teams including property & facilities, information services & technology, finance, legal, planning & reporting, risk & assurance, and the project management office. Peter has had more than 30 years’ experience in research, science and technology and its successful application, as well as in establishing several major Research and Development partnerships. He previously worked at GNS Science as Group Manager, Environment and Natural Resources Group between 1998 and 2001.

    Prior to re-joining GNS Science, Peter was Chief Executive at the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation, Connexis. Peter has held senior management roles at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, AgResearch, and Opus International.

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Diane Edwards

Interim General Manager People and Culture

  • Diane Edwards has had an eclectic career that spans the public, private and NFP sectors, working in NZ, UK, India, Tanzania, USA and Australia....

    B.Ed (Honours) London; Dip.Acc. (VUW;) Dip.Banking, Massey;

    Diane Edwards has had an eclectic career that spans the public, private and NFP sectors, working in NZ, UK, India, Tanzania, USA and Australia.   An experienced Executive she’s led teams as diverse as human resources, organisational development, safety and wellbeing, communications, ICT, strategic foresight and innovation, change management and sustainability.

    For almost nine years Diane held General Manager positions at the Ports of Auckland and since leaving for a career break, has held contract senior leadership positions, most recently as Director People for the New Zealand Red Cross, before joining GNS Science on contract in February 2023.

    She’s a member of the US based Global Foresight Advisory Council and Global Women and held a range of Board positions, including being a former International Secretary of WISTA International (Women's International Shipping and Trading Assn), Global Chair of the IAPH International Ports and Harbors) Women's Forum, Director of Bunkershipz Ltd, Chair of HRNZ and has also been a trustee of 2 industry superannuation schemes. She is currently the (honorary) National President of the NZ chapter of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

    She is a Distinguished Chartered Fellow of Human Resources NZ, Life Fellow of the NZ Association of Training and Development, Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Management and Leadership and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.

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Gary Wilson

General Manager Research Strategy and Partnerships

  • Gary’s role is to guide the organisation’s long-term science research direction...

    BSc (HONS), BMus, PhD, Victoria University of Wellington

    As General Manager, Research Strategy and Partnerships, Gary’s role is to guide the organisation’s long-term science research direction. He has been instrumental in the delivery of the GNS Science Roadmap, which plots our 10-year strategic direction and describes the contributions our research will make to New Zealand businesses and communities.  Gary is also responsible for managing GNS Science’s international partnerships, building and leveraging global opportunities, and delivering value to New Zealand through our commercial partnerships and contracts.

    Gary is also our Chief Scientist, which means he is actively engaged in research. His two current projects involve researching natural greenhouse gas emissions in Antarctica and exploring natural carbon burial in New Zealand’s southern fiords (including Fiordland and the Sub Antarctic).

    Prior to joining GNS Science, Gary has held a range of academic positions around the world, including at the University of Oxford, Ohio State University, Stanford University and the University of Otago, where he remains an Honorary Professor in Geology and Marine Science.

    He has published more than 120 scientific papers in scholarly Journals and led a number of international research programmes. He has served as editor of a number of international journals and he is currently Editor of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

    Gary is the Vice-President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), Chair of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Committee on Antarctic Sciences, and a Trustee of the Sir Peter Blake Trust. He received a Blake Leadership award in 2006 and the Royal Society Thomson Medal for Leadership in 2021.

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Lucia Roncaglia

Surface Geoscience Manager

  • Lucia has delivered critical large-scale projects in her GNS Science department management roles...

    MSc (First Class Hons), Geology;  PhD, Paleontology 

    Lucia is an experienced geologist with interests in stratigraphy, sedimentology, and environmental research. Her expertise has been applied to the management and delivery of large-scale multi-disciplinary projects and research associated with environment and climate, natural hazards and risks and energy across many aspects of geosciences in New Zealand

    Lucia has previously led the Paleontology Department, and she joined Science Management Team in 2019 as Department Manager of Surface Geosciences.

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Tania Gerrard

General Manager Māori and Stakeholder Relations

  • Tania is leading GNS Science through a period of transformative change...

    Te Whanau a Tāpuhi, Ngāti Porou
    BA, University of Otago

    Tania joined GNS Science in November 2018. She is responsible for the development and management of our external relationships and partnerships, including with government, iwi/Māori and industry. Tania’s role recognises the interconnectedness of the science system and her team is keenly focused on the benefits our research must deliver to both end users and New Zealand communities.

    Tania is leading GNS Science through a period of transformative change, creating a new Māori Strategy. This will guide our long-term approach to iwi/Māori research and innovation, workforce development, and partner, industry and community engagement. Linked to this is the rollout of the organisation’s new Stakeholder Relationship Strategy and its continued Vision Mātauranga activities. 

    Prior to joining GNS Science, Tania was Acting Director of Water at the Ministry for the Environment. Here she also held roles specialising in iwi rights and interests, and water rights and interests. She has also held senior roles at the Waitangi Tribunal, the Office of Treaty Settlements, and Ministry for Primary Industries/Fisheries.

    Tania is currently the Chair of Te Ara Pūtaiao, the pan-Crown Research Institute Māori Leadership Group, and she is an Associate of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

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