[14 December/NZ Herald]

NZ Landcare Trust’s long-time chairman, Richard Thompson, has retired after 22 years on the board. Fiona Gower will replace Thompson as its first woman chair; Ms Gower is also Rural Women New Zealand National President. Mr Thompson started as a board member at Landcare before taking on the chairman role in 2005 and he said that it has been a really great experience being involved with the organisation that long – from starting up from nothing to where it is at the moment. One of Mr Thompson’s project highlights was working with landowners to improve the water quality in the Aorere River which has resulted in significantly improved shellfish harvesting. He added that his biggest frustration was getting appropriate funding and resource for the trust, commenting that it was an ongoing conversation with Government. Mr Thompson is now focussing on his business, MacBlack Timber, which produces sustainable wood products from timber grown in New Zealand. He has also picked up another role chairing a revegetation advisory group to NZ Carbon Farming Ltd.