Sustainable Trails Conference 2024 Central Otago, New Zealand
Janet Mackay - TRC Tourism
Janet is an accomplished tourism professional with more than 30 years’ practical experience in the public and private sectors. As the Director of TRC’s Australian, New Zealand and global operations, Janet is well-known and respected for her expertise in strategic planning for regional destinations, nature and culture based tourism, practical feasibility assessments and business planning, and her successful and inclusive approach to stakeholder and community engagement. Janet is a leader in innovative planning and development of solutions for trail destinations and experiences meeting community and visitor needs. She has assessed and planned for numerous walking, cycling, mountain biking and shared trail networks and iconic trails
Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana - TRC Tourism
Kylie is an experienced tourism marketing specialist with over 20 years’ working in the tourism sector, in both a public and private capacity. Kylie has an extensive portfolio of knowledge related to international and regional trade marketing, visitor strategy development, event management, stakeholder relationship management and small business management. She has in-depth knowledge of New Zealand and global tourism in general, but she has passion and expertise in values-based tourism, specifically Māori and Indigenous tourism experiences.
Mark Inglis - ONZM
‘Do not let a disability define your life’
Between losing his legs at 23 years old due to frostbite and being the first double amputee to have stood on the roof of the world, the summit of Mount Everest, Mark has carved out a variety of careers, most recently as a mountain bike trail builder, and Trail Manager of the St James Cycle Trail – NZ’s 1st paralympic cycling medal, a silver at Sydney 2000), “Attitude determines your Altitude”
Simon Noble - Envisage New Zealand
Simon has spent many years in management, marketing, strategic and advisory roles in parks and recreation. Much of his early career was with the Department of Conservation, including managing the recreation experiences of Nelson Lakes National Park and working in the national Quality Management Unit. Simon formed Envisage New Zealand in 2012 to advocate for quality, meaningful visitor experiences for New Zealanders and their guests. He is driven to help people have an enriching experience living or visiting here.
Jo Larkin - TRC Tourism
Jo is enthusiastic about life and everything outdoors. She is most at home on a mountain bike and in 2014 launched Bike Betty providing progressive and supported mountain bike coaching for every rider. Jo specialises in all-inclusive retreats for women in NSW locations at Tathra and the Snowy Mountains and junior academy programs. Jo also coaches for Thredbo Mountain Bike Park where she hosts the Gravity Girls program and is passionate about the development of professional trail management. Jo is also a strong communicator with a passion for business and cultural development. She has a Bachelor of Business degree and is a qualified marketing specialist with over 20 years of practical experience in the tourism, recreation and the events industry with successful executive roles held at Tourism Snowy Mountains, Tourism Thredbo, and Lake Crackenback Resort.
Chris Rose - TRC Tourism
Chris has had a long career in working to grow and improve economic outcomes to regions and cities, particularly through tourism. He has strong experience in community engagement, service delivery, investment facilitation, tourism infrastructure and product development and working with land management agencies and regional tourism organisations (RTOs). He has developed numerous business cases and tourism plans for clients throughout Australia and New Zealand. These have included developing a business and governance model for ecotourism developments in Victoria, investment frameworks for Tasmania, accommodation supply and demand assessments (3) for Tasmania, a business case and feasibility for a new hotel in Victoria, business frameworks for investment in Marlborough, and the Wellington Regional Trails Framework. Other projects include preparing a business case for trail development in Rutherglen and Yarra Valley (successful in attracting grant funds), regional Tasmanian Destination Management Plans, and the Gippsland Destination Management Plan.
Lachy Mackay-Wiggins - TRC Trails
Lachy Mackay-Wiggins is the director of TRC Trails, specialising in trail planning and construction/maintenance project management. With a trade background, Lachy brings expertise in managing teams to implement practical on ground projects such as trails, signage and other land management activities.
Chris Hay - Locales Ltd
Chris Hay is the founder and Creative Director at Locales, a place-based storytelling and design agency based in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris works with clients across New Zealand and Australia to re-imagine parks, trails and public spaces through the lens of storytelling and public engagement. He and his team have delivered award-winning public history experiences such as Te Ara Wai Journeys – a multi-media exploration of New Zealand Wars sites of significance throughout the Waipa district; and Ngā Ara Tipuna – a sculptural, graphic and digital storytelling experience across significant pā and wetland sites in Central Hawke’s Bay.
Carl Solomon - Director, Destination Marketing Store (DMS)
Carl, a Director of DMS, has created and executed award-winning destination brands, marketing strategies, and digital engagement campaigns. He has achieved significant results in nature, cultural and regional tourism; engaging communities and delivering innovation solutions to attract more visitors and increase revenue. Carl’s passion is understanding and maximising the potential of the motivations, behaviours, and interests of those markets who destinations wish to attract.
Scott Ketley - Director, Swell Design Group (Swell)
Scott, a Director of Swell, a creative design agency, is dedicated to his craft, efficiently delivering exceptional projects. His work is sleek, refined, and thoughtful, showcasing his attention to detail. With expertise in designing destination and experience-based brand identities, he thrives on pushing his skills across the entire design spectrum and takes pride in helping destinations and small businesses succeed.
Katie Owen - Recreation Aotearoa
As the Disability and Inclusion Programme Manager at Recreation Aotearoa, Katie leads a national initiative to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities to be active across Aotearoa, with a particular focus on the outdoors. Katie holds a Bachelor of Physical Education from the Otago University, and Masters in disability coach education at the University of Waikato. She is also a recent Alumni of the Global Sports Mentoring Programme delivered by the U.S Department of State.
Gerard McHugh - World Trail
Gerard has been designing and developing trails for over twenty years. Starting with World Trail in early 2007, Gerard manages the consulting and planning arm of the business, and generally takes the lead role in most of the consulting projects. Gerard has played a key role in every big project World Trail has undertaken, including Falls Creek, Atherton, Hidden Vale, Smithfield, Derby, St Helens, George Town and Warburton, all of which are amongst the most successful mountain bike trail projects in Australia.Gerard has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Monash University and a Graduate Certificate in Landscape Architecture from the University of Melbourne.
Daniel Leblanc - Dungog Common Reserve
Daniel is a seasoned project manager with 35 years’ experience in delivering durable impact projects in complex environments. These last 18 months, he’s directed the development of the emerging Dungog MTB Park where he now resides. His previous work includes six years with the UN in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, leading the campaign that triggered Canada’s largest river restoration project (Petitcodiac – $250 million) and the founding of several charities. He thrives on big challenges and on reclaiming communities.
Craig Meinicke - Blue Sky Trails
Craig is the Founder and Director of Blue Sky Trails. Combining his skills in system and process development, with an in-depth knowledge of trail design and development, and a degree in environmental science, Craig has established businesses that facilitate the creation and management of trails for generations to enjoy. Craig was previously the Chair of the Mountain Bike Australia Trails and Advocacy Commission which developed the Australian Mountain Bike Trail Guidelines, and is a member of the AusCycling Queensland State Advisory Council.
Bess Nolan-Cook - CEO of Tourism North East
Bess is the CEO of Tourism North East, the regional tourism board for Victoria’s High Country. Bess has a background in marketing, communications and major events, and prior to joining Tourism North East, was the Director of Marketing & Communications at DoTerra ANZ.
Bess holds a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Technical Production from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Certificate in Business Administration from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Andy Causebrook - Senior Ranger Queensland Parks & Wildlife Services
Andy has over 18 years of experience in protected area management, working across a range of locations for National Park agencies in South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
Currently based on Yunbenun/Magnetic Island as the Senior Ranger for Priority Projects in the Northern Great Barrier Reef Region of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, he is responsible for leading the delivery of major projects on island National Parks within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Jo Peterson - Visitor Management Coordinator, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Services
Jo’s career with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has spanned the past 20 years –primarily based from Yunbenun/Magnetic Island, she has extensive experience in protected area management across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Island National Parks.
Currently the Visitor Management Coordinator for the Great Barrier Reef Region, she has always pursued an interest in communications and exploring her passion for connecting people with parks.
Dave Hockly - Founder, Data Story
Dave Hockly is the founder of Data Story Ltd, an analytics & performance agency based in Queenstown. Dave has worked with some of NZ’s leading brands using data to drive better customer experiences and to increase client’s revenue by millions. Brands include Destination Queenstown,The Co-operative Bank, RealNZ, Tas Walking Co, Microsoft, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Ferg Burger, NZTE, QLDC, Govt.nz, Horowhenua District Council and more. I’ve spoken at Marketing Leaders Summit, Marketing South, UXNZ speaker twice, Victoria University, Queenstown Resort College & Southern Institute of Technology Guest lecturer and much more, often with great feedback for storytelling and passion.
Jake Taoi is a young Fijian conservationist. Jake has worked for 8 years in the area of island and terrestrial species conservation and sustainable management of Fiji unique natural heritage with Fiji’s only domestic conservation NGO, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti.
As a Trip Leader and Conservation Officer with Talanoa Treks since 2022, Jake provides biodiversity and species information to both the guests and communities and leads environmental conservation and regeneration projects within Talanoa Treks’ indigenous partner communities.
Ratu Peni Semira a.k.a Ben
Ratu Peni Semira a.k.a Ben is from Nabulini village in the Wainibuka district, of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. With experience in banking and finance he is also passionate about community development. Ben helped establish his village’s food processing facility, which is Fiji’s first rural community based food production facility producing cassava, sweet potato and plantain chips. Now a Trip Leader and Community Engagement Officer with Talanoa Treks, he acts as the main focal point for Talanoa Treks’ four partner communities.
What did past attendees think?
The Sustainable Trails Conference provided an excellent opportunity to share best practice across a variety of topics from trail building to governance. Each session was valuable in its own right. Great to see the collaboration between our two countries as we all strive to make the most of this growing community.
The sustainable trails conference is a must do for all those involved in the planning, development and marketing of tracks and trails.
Anthony Burton | Principal | Anthony Burton & Associates
A well run and organised conference, excellent speakers who certainly provided a range of information in the topics presented. Took away some key learnings.
Jane Tito | Marlborough
I have been to a lot of conferences before, this was one of the best I have ever attended.
Mick Tucker | Mayor, Break O'Day Council
A fantastic conference. Great speaker line-up with leaders in the field. Learned a lot and made new connections.
Francesca Governali | Conservation & Tourism Fellow | Dartmouth College
The Sustainable Trails Conference provides a unique opportunity to appreciate the importance of trails to local economies and tourism, the amount of work going on in this space, and to share and learn from others working in the field.
Suky Thompson | Trust Manager | Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust