About Us

Our Trust was formed in July 2010 by Nigel Babbage, Rhys Buckingham and Ron Nilsson. Our vision is to complement the work of the Department of Conservation by leading a planned, coordinated and community-driven strategy to make the discoveries and research needed to bring about the recovery of the species.

The Trust is governed through a Trust Deed, incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, and is a registered charitable entity in terms of the Charities Act 2005.  #CC44621

Current Trustees

Euan Kennedy (CHAIR)

Euan commenced his career in threatened species conservation in 1978, working for the NZ Wildlife Service. He is currently employed with the Department of Conservation and leads a national programme to improve biosecurity arrangements for the Department’s extensive inventory of pest-free islands.

Euan holds first-class post-graduate degrees in the social and natural sciences, a relatively rare combination of disciplines which brings to the South Island kokako cause a vital understanding of conservation’s human and biological dimensions. Through his co-founding of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust in 1987, Euan pioneered the use of the charitable trust concept to extend conservation of rare species and places to the care of the broader New Zealand community. 

Nigel Babbage (Vice chair and treasurer)

Nigel is a keen conservationist who returned home to New Zealand from New York in 2006 following a distinguished career in finance. Following a lifelong passion for the environment, Nigel volunteered for numerous stints on predator-free islands, working primarily with the critically-endangered kakapo. Late in 2007 Nigel formed an investment company, Mohua Investments Limited, and donates a portion of the company’s annual profits to native bird conservation in New Zealand.

He is also the founder of the  Mohua Charitable Trust which underwrites projects to conserve critically threatened bird species. His support has been particularly effective in enabling volunteers from local communities to participate in these formative projects. 

Ron Nilsson

Ron is an endangered species specialist whose conservation career spanned more than 24 years with the former NZ Wildlife Service and its successor, the Department of Conservation.

Most of Ron’s professional work focused on priorities in southern New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic, where he conceived, led and directed some of this country’s pioneering conservation projects. Ron’s knowledge of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna has extraordinary reach, an attribute on which he capitalises with his special ability to convey natural heritage stories to the New Zealand public. 


Andrew is a director of R&D Environmental Ltd, and specialises in the management of biosecurity projects.He has been involved with numerous South Island kokako expeditions since 2000. 

Andrew was founding chairman of the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust, and works extensively with other charitable trusts and community groups, often delivering programmes on their behalf.He is closely involved in the ecological restoration of Abel Tasman National Park through Project Janszoon and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust.


Andrew has spent over 35 years working with wildlife and conservation.  Initially with the New Zealand Wildlife Service and now with the Conservation Department.  His experience includes: waterfowl research; all aspects of endangered species management with a wide range of threatened species; monitoring and survey in a wide variety of locations; producing plans, strategies and other similar planning documents for species and ecosystem management; coordinating and managing conservancy science planning; and, national development of best practice, audit and performance measurement.

Andrew is currently a Technical Advisor (terrestrial ecosystems and species) in Christchurch.

General Manager

Inger Perkins

Inger moved to New Zealand in 2005 to work for the Department of Conservation on the West Coast.  Her roles were in business and community relations, and included planning, advocacy, education and awareness.  Leaving DOC in early 2016 enabled her to pursue her passion to promote, protect and share nature and natural landscapes.  Her three part time roles are with the South Island Kokako Charitable Trust, the West Coast Penguin Trust and the Walking Access Commission.