Our Board


Elected Member : AGM 2014 - AGM 2017

Mark Bowater is currently the Head of Parks Services for the Auckland Council, with a portfolio network of over 4,000 parks, and a unit of over 160 dedicated parks professionals. With over 20 years' experience in parks and recreation management and senior leadership roles, he offers a strategic outlook combined with a proven track record of achievements that make a difference.

He is passionate about the role parks and open spaces play in urban liveability, and the significant contribution the wider recreation industry makes to the quality of our lifestyles in New Zealand. He is actively engaged in helping to raise industry standards, is a champion for green and sustainability outcomes, and promotes a collaborative and future-focused approach.

Mark has been a member of Recreation Aotearoa for over 17 years, and is an Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro).


Elected Member : AGM 2015 - AGM 2018

Michele's career in the recreation industry began 15 years ago when she was at Lincoln University and working as a park ranger's assistant while studying. Over the years she has developed her experience in both the local government and private sector settings.

Today Michele is a Principal Environmental Consultant with Xyst Limited. In addition to Michele's extensive industry experience, she has played a leading role in building links between young recreation professionals and the broader recreation industry particularly through her involvement with the Generate Network, which she chaired from 2011-2014.

An active member of Recreation Aotearoa, she is a passionate advocate of intergenerational dialogue and closer collaboration between the parks, recreation, conservation, sport and leisure industries.


Elected Member : AGM 2014 - AGM 2017

Alison Law has made many contributions to Recreation Aotearoa, having acted as a board member previously in 2010-2011. She is a former Recreation Aotearoa Aquatics Project Manager, and has been part of the Poolsafe Advisory Committee. She has also made a large contribution to the Wellington Regional Advisory board, serving as Wellington Chair from 2008-2011.

She has a long list of awards and achievements in the recreation industry, including running the Just Add Water Seminar, receiving the Paul Stewart Memorial Award at the 2008 National Conference, and H2O Xtream receiving the NZRA Outstanding Pool Award 2007 while under her management.

She is currently Parks and Recreation Manager for Kāpiti Coast District Council where she is responsible for swimming pools, parks and open spaces.


Appointed Member: March 2018

Born and bred in Northland, Brent graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Physical Education. He has been the Chief Executive at Sport Northland - one of the leading regional sports trusts in NZ - since 1999. Sport Northland's core business is leading and supporting sport and recreation in Northland. Brent is experienced in governance, having held a variety of directorships since 1996, from a local level right through to national level. He was a board member of Sportnet NZ for 6 years and was a Director of Northland Rugby for 5 years, and is currently Deputy Chair of the Northland Foundation.

Brent's many strengths led to him winning the Leadership Award at the 2016 Sport NZ Sport and Recreation Awards and the Mark Mitchell Memorial Award at the 2016 NZRA Awards.

He has been a keen member of Recreation Aotearoa for over 20 years and is passionate about encouraging more NZers to get off the couch and enjoy their leisure time through active recreation.


Elected Member : AGM 2018
Sarah began her career with the Department of Conservation working in recreation planning, community engagement and environmental education, before moving into local government in 2016.

In her current role as Community Partnerships Manager, Parks Sport and Recreation with Wellington City Council, she is focused on helping diverse groups and organisations work together to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders through recreation and physical activity, and protect our fantastic natural spaces.

Originally from the Bay of Plenty she has lived and worked across the country and now calls Wellington home. In her spare time you can find her out on the trails around Wellington and beyond, tramping, mountain biking, rock climbing and occasionally white water kayaking.


Appointed Member : March 2018

Fiona McDonald works in the education and outdoors sectors. She is involved in qualification development and assessing with Skills Active Aotearoa, she is a lead auditor for Qualworx, and works supporting schools deliver quality Education outside the classroom for their students. She is co-chair of Education Outdoors NZ (EONZ), and on the Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee.

Fiona is a keen advocate for the high country environment and all things conservation, in particular the removal of wilding pines and wasps.


Appointed Member : March 2019

Tania Te Whenua (Tūhoe, Whakatōhea) is principal of Te Whenua Law and Consulting, assisting organisations to realise a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and to engage confidently with Māori culture, clients and key stakeholders.

Tania has specialist legal expertise in Waitangi Tribunal and Māori Commercial law and is acting legal counsel to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Public Service Association representing their joint position on inequities facing Māori women in employment within the current Waitangi Tribunal Mana Wahine Kaupapa Inquiry; and co-counsel to the New Zealand Māori Council representing their Treaty of Waitangi claim on climate change.

Along with providing ongoing Treaty of Waitangi and Māori cultural advisory services to a number of public-sector entities, tertiary education institutions and charitable organisations Tania is also the current Māori advisor to Tourism New Zealand, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and the Federation of New Zealand Multicultural Councils.

Tania is also presently engaged by Landcare Research as a consultant contributing to research on Māori resource management practices for the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and a member of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Rivers Advisory Body.

Prior to establishing Te Whenua Law and Consulting, Tania practiced as a Waitangi Tribunal and Māori Commercial Solicitor at Bay of Plenty Law Firms - Aurere Law, Holland Beckett and Potts and Hodgson Lawyers. She was also Programme Manager Māori for both Victoria University's Centre for Executive Development and the Peace Foundation Aotearoa, and Senior Researcher Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand.

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