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Meet Sera Gibson


Pou Taiao / Policy Advisor - Environment for Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust

Job description: 

I provide policy advice and support to Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust and Te Atiawa hapū, marae and whānau enabling these entities to respond to central and local government environmental plans, policies and resource consents. My role also involves encouraging and supporting Te Atiawa hapū, marae and whānau kaitiaki to participate in environmental initiatives.

Work background: 

Prior to this role I worked as an Environmental Consultant for a global consultancy Environmental Resources Management Ltd, supporting international companies to get approval to explore and produce oil and gas offshore. Before this, I worked for Canadian-based company New Zealand Energy Corp as the Environmental Manager, providing the same approval support to them for oil and gas exploration and production onshore. Prior to this, I worked for the Department of Conservation as a Marine Ranger, monitoring the effectiveness of and compliance within Marine Protected Areas in the Taranaki region, including the Tapuae Marine Reserve, Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area, West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary and Parininihi Marine Reserve. Before venturing into the employment world, I worked as a deckhand on a superyacht called Talitha, which is owned by an American family called the Getty’s, who at one point in time were the richest family in the world due to their interests in oil. I worked and travelled all around on Talitha, picking the Getty family up at various destinations and looking after them while they were onboard

Favourite part of job: 

The best part of my job is working with and supporting my hapū, marae and whānau members to work through environmental management and policy matters.

Least favourite part of job: 

This would have to be sitting at my computer for prolonged periods and not having the time to get out in the field for hands on, practical work.

What I am working on now: 

A variety of policy-related work including facilitating a targeted review of our draft Te Atiawa Iwi Environmental Management Plan, and making submissions on central and local government agency environmental plans, policies and resource consents. I am also about to start two monitoring projects with hapū, marae and whanau. The first is looking at restoring mahinga kai areas/species within the Waiwhakaiho River and the second is looking at monitoring taonga species inside and outside Tapuae Marine Reserve and Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area. Both of these projects will have a large GIS component for recording monitoring data.

A quick story about a job well done: 

Translocating 50 North Island robin (toutouwai) from Pureora Forest to Maunga Taranaki. We took hapū members over to Pureora for a feeding trip - feeding the birds mealworms encouraged them to come to us for catching. They are now being seen all over the Maunga!


Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Post-Graduate Diploma in Biological Science and Masters in Marine Science.

Interests outside work: 

Surfing and chilling with whānau and friends.

Sera Gibson. Image: LEARNZ.