All of our work is carried out according to Working Waters Trust's 5 Principles:

1. Partnership: Working in partnership with key groups at both local and regional community levels.
2. Relationship: Building open, honest and respectful relationships based on trust and common goals.
3. Creative communication: Utilising creative means of communication to effectively engage with a diverse range of people.
4. Passion and enthusiasm: Inspiring people to action through passion and enthusiasm for native freshwater fish and ecosystems
5. Quality Science and Knowledge sharing: Providing quality information based on robust science, through respectful and cooperative knowledge sharing.

Matt's captive bred Giant kokopu with attitude

Credits: Nicki Atkinson

Matt Wylie

Matt developed a love for the environment at a young age while growing up on a sheep and beef farm in Southland. His father was always occupied with safeguarding wetland areas, fencing off waterways and planting trees to encourage wildlife on their property - which left a real imprint on him. During this time he began to appreciate the importance of freshwater as a natural resource and the need for it to be conserved for future generations. Matt is of European and Maori (Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Kāi Tahu) descent and whakapapas back to Te Runanga o Waihao. Matt’s vision is to see whanau being actively involved in the protection of their galaxiid taonga (treasures). Matt has a Masters in Science where he studied the reproductive biology and captive breeding of Giant kokopu (the largest Galaxiid species). Matt is now completing his PhD project at the interface of academia and applied research at the industry level. He is studying aspects of hapuku (groper) aquaculture in collaboration with the University of Otago, NIWA and the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Emerson Yeoman
Emerson is a Transportation Planner, with experience in strategic planning, project development, management and facilitation. He has worked for Dunedin City Council and more recently Christchurch City Council, and has also owned and managed a small business. Emerson has previously worked for the Department of Conservation delivering community-based conservation training programmes. He is passionate about the conservation New Zealand’s natural environment and giving communities the knowledge and tools to develop locally relevant responses to conservation challenges.

We are a charitable trust formed by a group of people who share a love of New Zealand’s native freshwater fish and ecosystems.

Our Board of Trustees is made up of passionate individuals who are dedicated to celebrating and enhancing our native freshwater biodiversity and addressing the deeply concerning state of New Zealand's freshwater environment.

Lan Pham
Lan was absolutely gobsmacked learning about native fish during her BSc in Ecology from Massey University where she first became concerned about how little information and education was out there about these incredible species. Since then, Lan has worked with galaxiids and the local communities surrounding them over the last 5 years in Otago and beyond. She has a Masters in Freshwater Ecology and a Certificate of Proficiency in Law from the University of Otago looking into the benefits of removing trout from native fish habitat in ZEALANDIA (Wellington) and the inadequacies of legal protection for native freshwater fish in New Zealand. Lan is passionate about communicating the wonders of New Zealand native fish to local communities and working towards practical conservation solutions.

Nicki Atkinson

Nicki completed a masters degree in Freshwater Ecology in 2008 at Massey University focusing on migration behaviours and patterns of native fish. It was this wonderful experience that cemented her intrigue and passion for protecting New Zealand freshwaters. She then worked for the Freshwater Fisheries Board in Ireland where she monitored waterways as part of the then recently implemented European Union directive on water quality. Nicki has carried out ecological contract work for a variety of organisations from DOC to Fish and Game and various City and Regional Councils. Seeing the increasing pressure on New Zealand's freshwaters, she decided to change tack and head back to university in 2012 for a second masters degree in Science Communication documentary film making. She has recently completed her graduate film on Lake Horowhenua, and is planning on continuing on the same path putting both her scientific and film making skills to good use.

Sophie Allen

Soph grew up splashing around in streams in Marlborough and Nelson, excited by glimpses of freshwater koura, scared of giant longfin tuna biting her toes, and making multiple mud pies.

After undergraduate studies at the University of Otago, Sophie headed off to the land of lakes, beautiful Sweden, where she completed her Masters at the University of Uppsala studying human pathogens in algal blooms in streams and in the Baltic Sea. Sophie has worked for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu as a Senior Environmental Advisor, working on the restoration of Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and mahinga kai monitoring,
Ministry of Primary Industries as an advisor for pest management, and for an urban stream restoration (Project Twin Streams) in Auckland - among many other roles, such a making wine in Italy and working at an outdoor school in the fjords of Norway. Her specialty is in the area of advising communities on management, restoration and conservation of freshwater resources.