Our People


Founder - Geoff Chapple


In 1994, journalist/author/musician/playwright Geoff Chapple wrote a piece for the Sunday Star-Times outlining a proposal for a walking trail to run the length of New Zealand. This suggestion was not new, though previously had been discarded as unachieveable. Geoff and a group of willing people who shared the vision formed the Te Araroa Trust shortly after and set about raising publicity, and funds, for the concept.


In 1998, having plotted, negotiated and mapped a route Geoff set off to walk the North Island - reporting his progress regularly with internet updates, this was one of New Zealand's earliest blogs!


Come 2002 Geoff again hit the trail, this time through the South Island - coinciding with the signing of an MOU with DOC to develop Te Araroa through the Southern Alps.


Geoff saw his dream realised in 2011 when Te Araroa was officially opened by the Governor-General, coinciding with the release of the magnificent publication Te Araroa: A Walking Guide to New Zealand's Long Trail.

Geoff stood down as CEO of Te Araroa Trust in 2012, and was shortly thereafter awarded an ONZM in recognition of his achievements.

Click here to read more of Geoff's early Te Araroa adventures.


Te Araroa Trustees

David McGregor (Chair)

David is a resource management specialist with extensive experience in central and local government relations and previously a senior partner for Bell Gully (retired). As a legal adviser to many of Auckland’s regional governance authorities, he has advised on the most significant resource management issues related to the Auckland region’s strategic planning and infrastructure and in particular its transport needs.

David holds a number of elected, voluntary and honorary posts in a diverse range of government, charitable and community organisations which reflect his diverse interests. These include as Chairman of the Ranfurly Trust, Settlor Trustee of the Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters Trust and Advisor to the Auckland Conservation Board. He is a Member of the Order of the British Empire and was awarded the New Zealand Commemorative Medal in recognition of services to his country.
Throughout his legal career, he has had extensive involvement with the New Zealand armed forces, and he is currently a Judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court, Chairman of the War Pensions Appeal Board and a Trustee of the National Army Museum.

Trevor Butler (Deputy Chair)

Trevor has been a Te Araroa Trustee since 2006 and is the current deputy chair, and convener of the Trust’s Operations Committee. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers NZ, and has tertiary qualifications in Civil Engineering and Business Administration.

Trevor currently holds the position of managing director of Frame Group Ltd, an Auckland based consultancy team that specialises in the design and construction management of recreational walkways, tracks, cycleways and associated visitor facilities in parks, reserves and conservation land throughout NZ. He is a recognised authority on recreation trail development and has participated in the development of standards and providing training to the parks industry in this field.
His previous experience includes a range of civil engineering projects, production forestry, and wood technology. Since 1987 he has been involved in the inspection, assessment and design of tracks and visitor structures on many of the high profile Department of Conservation walks and visitor sites throughout New Zealand, the design for several of the NZ Cycle Trail Great Rides and also providing advice and design on some international recreation sites. He provides advice to several city and district councils on recreational development of their parks and reserves.

Trevor is an active outdoor recreation participant in tramping, mountaineering, cycling, kayaking and skiing, and he has visited several recreational walking sites internationally. He has a strong interest in sustainability and community development, and the structuring of recreational development projects to facilitate regional employment and use of local renewable resources as well as encouraging people to lead active, healthy lifestyles. 

Jennie Langley

Jennie is a Director of her public affairs and issues management consultancy, JL Associates Ltd and has worked both in house and as a consultant in New Zealand and overseas.
She is currently involved in a variety of not-for-profit organisations and as government appointee on the Tourism Growth Partnership Panel and the New Zealand Council of Legal Education.
She was previously with the New Zealand Hotel Council for ten years as Chief Executive Officer then Independent Chair, representing the interests of international chain and independent hotels in this country.

Jennie has been a Director of the New Zealand Tourism Board, Positively Wellington Tourism, the New Zealand Wool Board, Opus International and a member of the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee.

The Right Honorable Paul East CNZM QC

Paul was educated at King's College, Auckland and the University of Auckland.

Prior to becoming an MP, Paul was a lawyer and barrister with East Brewster, a Rotorua-based legal firm, from 1973 to 1978. Paul also engaged in local politics as a member of the Rotorua City Council, which has now been subsumed into the Rotorua District Council. 

Paul is married and has three daughters. Paul was first elected to Parliament in the 1978 election as MP for Rotorua, and retained that seat until he opted to become a list MP in the 1996 elections.
Paul served in a number of ministerial roles, including those of Minister of Defence and Attorney-General in the fourth National government. When Jenny Shipley replaced Jim Bolger as leader of the National Party, Paul was one of the minority who remained aligned with Bolger.
In the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours, Paul was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Parliament and the law. He was appointed a member of the Privy Council in 1998. In 1999, he resigned from Parliament to take up
the position of New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in London. He was replaced in Parliament by Alec Neill, the next candidate on National's party list.

As Attorney-General, Paul advocated on important international issues, including a case brought before the International Court of Justice in 1995 on behalf of New Zealand against France's nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean. Paul also headed the development of an advisory opinion to the UN General Assembly on the legality of nuclear testing in 1995. Paul was awarded the status of Queen's Counsel (QC) while Attorney-General.

Standing down in 2002 as New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Paul changed course and became the independent chairman of the Charity Gaming Association (Inc.) (CGA), which is the industry organisation for charitable trusts that operate electronic gaming machines ("pokies") to raise funds for community purposes. In 2008 the CGA's members operated 75% of non-club gaming machines in New Zealand and generated $250 million worth of grants for worthwhile community purposes.

Jason Hill

Jason Hill, Manager Tourism at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
Jason is responsible for the international and domestic marketing of Auckland as a visitor destination, as well as trade and new tourism product development. Jason is on the Cruise NZ Board, and is a trustee of the Te Araroa national walkway.

Prior to his current role, Jason was Regional Manager Japan and Korea at Tourism New Zealand, based in Tokyo for five-and-half years. While in Japan, Jason implemented the 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND global marketing campaign. In Japan, he was elected Chairman of the Association of National Tourism Organisations, representing over 50 national tourism offices, and was a regular
advisor and contributor to the Japanese government and travel industry. Jason is a fluent Japanese speaker. In addition to a variety of other roles within the tourism industry, spanning 19 years, Jason spent five years as GM Marketing at Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism. Jason holds a Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons) in international marketing and Japanese from Waikato University.

Kim Ollivier

Kim started his career in civil engineering. After some years overseas he returned to New Zealand to work in regional government, on buildings, roads, water and sewerage systems. He moved into computing full time as the manager of PrimeShare, an engineering computer service bureau, applying computers to engineering problems, which led to GIS systems.

Since 1989 he has installed and supported Geographic Information Systems in over 50 organisations including 20 District and Regional Councils throughout New Zealand. In 1996 he set up his own consultancy based in Auckland with a particular focus on GIS applications and software development. He has specialised in innovative internet mapping tools, cadastral and services mapping, data translation and analysis. Outside of his mapping work, Kim enjoys walking and spending time with his grandchildren.


Chief Executive - Mark Weatherall


Mark comes to us with over 20 years of experince of working in the not for profit sector, having held CEO and Senior Management roles with Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Canoe Racing New Zealand and Poverty Bay Rugby.  Mark comes from a very outdoor orientated family, having grown up in Otago around the ocean, lakes and our back country.  Feel free to contact Mark on mark@teararoa.org.nz