About Tītoki Landcare
Tītoki Landcare are a team of qualified, experienced, and skilled restoration ecologists working to restore New Zealands unique indigenous ecosystems.
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We are driven to restore NZ’s unique biodiversity and ecosystems
New Zealand is home to an incredibly unique assemblage of plants, animals, and ecosystems. Over 80% of our native vascular plant species are found nowhere else on earth and the story is similar for our birds, bats, lizards, frogs, and invertebrates. At Tītoki Landcare, we take great pride in, and have enormous passion for, the sustainable management of our natural heritage.
Through the implementation of best practice ecological restoration methods, we aim to restore our unique indigenous ecosystems to resilient and sustainable states.
Tītoki Landcare was formed in 2021 by Waikato ecologists Adam Purcell and Nathan Smith, when it became evident that there was an opportunity to contribute to ecological restoration across the country.
Together, Adam and Nathan have more than 30 years of experience in ecological restoration and consulting and are eager to use their expertise to restore indigenous biodiversity and natural landscapes.
New Zealand is identified as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, however, the last 200 years have seen more than 97% of many areas of New Zealand cleared of indigenous dominated ecosystems.
Our mission is to reverse this decline and contribute to the restoration of diverse and resilient indigenous-dominated ecosystems through a combination of sound science and best practice ecological restoration.
A healthy environment is critical for healthy communities. We undertake our work under principles of:
- Best practice ecological restoration is a combination of knowledge and action.
- Ecological benefits are optimised by focusing restoration in high-priority areas.
- Restoration is collaborative with iwi, councils, landowners, community groups, and businesses.
Adam Purcell (MSc Hons, CERP)
Adam is an Ecologist with seven years of experience in restoration ecology. His background is primarily in terrestrial ecology but he has also worked and studied in the freshwater and marine ecology fields and has a Master of Science degree in wetland ecology.
Adam first got involved with ecological restoration as a student in 2013 when he began volunteering on various community-led restoration projects around Hamilton city. He has since worked as a consultant ecologist for Kessels Ecology and Tonkin + Taylor before founding Tītoki Landcare with Nathan in 2021.
Adam has worked on many ecological restoration and enhancement projects, undertaking the full breadth of tasks required for restoration projects including pre-restoration site assessments, development of restoration plans, funding acquisition, project management, implementation works, ecological monitoring, and community/stakeholder liaising and education.
Nathan Smith (BSc, Cert. 4 Bush Regeneration NSW)
Principal Restoration Ecologist/Director
Nathan has more than 25 years of experience in ecological restoration and consulting.
Nathan moved to New Zealand from his native Sydney in 2016 and has since worked as an ecological consultant, guided by a desire to deliver enhanced biodiversity outcomes, especially for remnant forest stands, throughout the country. Since arriving in Hamilton, he has been heavily involved in Significant Natural Area assessments in various districts, desktop vegetation mapping validation (GIS), Environmental Benefit Lots (EBLs) and Kahikatea Green Wheel assessments (condition assessment methodology used in the Waikato for kahikatea remnants).
Prior to moving to the Waikato, Nathan worked as a restoration ecologist in Australia, including eight years in the bush regeneration industry. From 2003, Nathan was primarily engaged as a consultant developing management plans for mine-site rehabilitation and offset sites. Nathan was an accredited BioBanking Assessor in NSW (biodiversity offset method) and is a member of the Society for Ecological Restoration (Australasian chapter) and the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators.
Dr Briar Smith (PhD)
Briar is an experienced terrestrial ecologist with a broad range of skills and experience. Since completing a PhD in 2015 investigating ground wētā distribution and diversity across New Zealand, she has worked as a field botanist for the Department of Conservation and a consultant ecologist before joining the ecological restoration team at Tītoki Landcare.
Briar has extensive experience with vegetation surveying around the North Island, including forest and wetland plots, wetland delineations, and biosecurity monitoring of kauri dieback and myrtle rust. She has also worked with a wide range of fauna including invertebrates, bats, Powelliphanta snails, birds, lizards, and invasive newts.
Since 2017, Briar has been restoring her own gully within the Chedworth gully system in Hamilton, and has incorporated her passion for ecological restoration into her work since joining Tītoki Landcare.
Bibishan Rai (PhD candidate)
Bibishan is in his third year of a PhD in urban forest restoration at the University of Waikato. He moved to New Zealand in 2019 for his doctoral studies which involves investigating the reassembly of belowground arthropod communities in urban forests undergoing restoration from the pioneering plant stage. Prior to his move to New Zealand, he completed a Master of Science degree in Germany, specializing in wildlife and biodiversity.
Bibishan has participated in several biodiversity and ecological restoration projects in various parts of the world. These include studying freshwater invertebrate diversity in Ireland; pollinator communities, herbivorous arthropod development, and ecological farming in Germany; ecological farming in Finland; and the effect of urbanization in plumage patterns in birds in the Netherlands.
Trainee Restoration Ecologist
Brady joined the Tītoki team after working as a Gully Restoration Trainee in the Mangaiti Gully in the Jobs for Nature programme. Brady has a broad range of practical skills and is learning to apply these to practical ecological restoration as he develops his ecological understanding. Brady has also volunteered with pest control projects and assisted PhD students with their fieldwork.
Prior to shifting his focus to the world of ecological restoration, Brady was a Logistics Manager for New Zealand’s leading bike shop. Outside of work Brady is often found enjoying the forest, whether it be hiking, mountain biking, or just exploring our natural areas.
Erin Steed (BSc Tech)
Trainee Restoration Ecologist
Erin joined Tītoki Landcare while in the first year of a Masters in Environmental Sciences. Erin has a keen interest in all things ecology and environmental sciences and has taken her learning to the field via a range of applied ecological restoration projects with Tītoki Landcare.
Erin has been a key member of the Tītoki team since joining the team in mid-2021 and has been involved with vegetation management, native planting, lizard surveying and management, and ecological reporting.
Additionally, Erin enjoys tramping and spending time in nature, and has participated in some volunteer pest control work at Pureora Forest.
Trainee Restoration Ecologist
Daniel joined Tītoki Landcare in November 2021 after completing his first year of a Bachelor of Science at the University of Waikato. He continues with his studies whilst assisting us with our ecological restoration work. He is an aspiring botanist and an active member of the Waikato Botanical Society.
Daniel was raised in Hamilton and is an active member of the community. Outside of his work and studies he has assisted with volunteer predator control work as part of the Predator Free Hamilton initiative and gully restoration in Mangaiti Gully.
Islay McDougall (MSc)
Islay joined Tītoki Landcare after returning to NZ following the completion of her Master of Science at the University of Melbourne. Her primary interests lie in fauna surveying, modelling, mapping and research. For her Master’s thesis, Islay built models to predict the distribution of a critically endangered grassland bird only found in Australia.
Since joining Tītoki Landcare, Islay has been a key member of our field team, assisting with vegetation management and native planting, and is enjoying learning about New Zealand ecology through our applied ecological restoration work.