Our People

Passionate about what we do

About Our Trustees


Our Trustees are all volunteers with a driving passion for a sustainable future and an ironclad commitment to keeping a small piece of paradise protected, yet available for everyone.

Dave Parsons - Co Chair
Dave Parsons - Co Chair

Dave is a foundation Trustee of the Mistletoe Bay Trust and is currently serving as the Trust’s co-chair. He is immensely proud of the achievements of past and present members and the positive impact on his local community. Dave has been involved in education for 36 years, firstly as a teacher and for the past 23 years as a school principal in the Marlborough region. His community involvement and leadership has seen him formally recognised for his 15 years service as a volunteer firefighter in Picton and also for his service as a volunteer Team Leader in Marlborough’s Emergency Response Team for the past 7 years. Dave is an important liaison with local schools and community groups who support the Trust’s work. His keen interest in outdoor education and the benefits it provides to children has been a key driver for him to ensure that the Bay continues to develop and grow its quality facilities and educational programmes. Dave is personally committed to learning sustainable living, maintaining and conserving our unique and wonderful Marlborough Sounds environment and this motivates him to ensure that our future generations receive knowledge and skills, so that they can fulfil their role as kaitiaki (guardians).

Cathie Bell - Co Chair
Cathie Bell - Co Chair

Cathie is co-chair of the Trust and brings strengths in relationship-building and crisis management. She has held governance roles for more than 20 years and is an energetic, highly-professional communicator and storyteller with an extensive career in journalism, media and PR management within government sectors both local and national, and the public sector. Cathie provides proven analysis and advice, strong leadership and strategic vision for team and organisational success. Adept in establishing trust and credibility with stakeholders, she can identify key priorities, translate and communicate concepts to senior management, groups and individuals in order to assist in achieving organisational goals. Cathie has exemplary relationship management skills and is an articulate written and verbal communicator, experienced at facilitating meetings, networking and public speaking. She has extensive experience developing close working relationships with people from a broad cross-section of society. Cathie is also an effective project manager with the ability to analyse, design, implement and co-ordinate policies, procedures, resources, systems and events.

Simon Heath
Simon Heath

Simon is a foundation and immediate past Chair of Mistletoe Bay Trust overseeing the establishment of the Mistletoe Bay Eco Village and Camp Ground in the Marlborough Sounds over the past 12 years. This project of Environmental Education and Sustainability has been and remains his passion. Of Ngāi Tahu descent, Simon has been an educator for 35 years, the last 24 years as a school principal in Marlborough. He is currently appointed to the Board of the Education Council Aotearoa NZ, a member of the Ministerial National and Regional Cross Sector Forum and Co Lead Principal of Piritahi Kahui Ako - Blenheim Community of 21 Schools and 6 Kindergartens. He has been Lead Principal for the Marlborough e-Learning Project and Eco Schools, and is also president of the Marlborough Principals Association as well as being an establishment member of the Ministry of Education's Principals Reference Group. In 2012, Simon was one of four school principals awarded a Woolf Fisher Principals Fellowship to complete a course of study at Harvard University School of Educational Leadership. He was also sworn in as a New Zealand Justice of the Peace in June 2013.

Jon Cunliffe
Jon Cunliffe

Jon has been a Trustee since November 2006, was Deputy Chair from 2010-15 and Trust Chair from 2015-2018. He has had a career in Resource Management in Marlborough and joined the Marlborough Catchment and Regional Water Board as a graduate engineer in late 1975 and spent his early years on river works and evaluating ground water resources within the Wairau Catchment. In more recent years Jon has managed a range of infrastructure related projects with an environmental tinge for the Marlborough District Council; the common threads among them including problem solving and facilitating effective and meaningful consultation with stakeholders. Jon and his wife Lyn’s three adult children all attended school camps at Mistletoe Bay in the days before the Trust was formed. Jon has been an active contributor to the community in a variety of areas including through Blenheim Round Table (Service Club), the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and the Marlborough Cricket Association where he has been a former Chair (14 years) and is a life member. He is passionate about the positive impact that experiential learning in an environment such as Mistletoe Bay can have on our awareness of and respect for the planet in general and in particular its coastal ecosystems.

Grahame Smail
Grahame Smail

Grahame has been involved with the Mistletoe Bay Trust for just over three years as a Trustee and the Trust Secretary. He has a Masters of Social Work and Diploma in Parks and Recreation Management. His career background in youth and community work along with extensive parks and recreation management and operations experience provides significant benefits to Trust activities. Grahame’s hope for the Trust is that it will continue to provide unique Marlborough Sounds educational and personal development opportunities for school children, and that Mistletoe Bay remains a special holiday destination for families and individuals to visit and enjoy.

Robin Cox
Robin Cox

Robin has been involved with Mistletoe Bay and the Trust for the last 12 years and has been active in the management of public conservation land for almost 50 years. He first joined the Forest Service and then the Department of Conservation (DOC) when it was established in 1987. During his career in Marlborough he has met and been involved with many individuals and groups whose aspirations were the protection and enhancement of the Sounds environment. Two years ago, Robin retired his position as a well-known Partnership Ranger at the DOC Picton Office and is no longer an ex officio member of the Trust. He remains active in the various conservation groups he was a part of and his interest is still in providing a location where New Zealanders can visit, learn, enjoy and draw inspiration from the environment without having a massive impact. Robin gets great satisfaction in seeing and being involved in what a community group like the Mistletoe Bay Trust can achieve with the support of their community and the passion and wisdom of the Trustees.

Scotty Tait
Scotty Tait

Scotty is the most recently appointed Trustee having observed from close range the activities of the Trust at Mistletoe Bay over the last 15 years. He has previously volunteered his time and support at Mistletoe Bay helping where possible, so it was a natural progression for him to become involved at governance level. Scotty is passionate about the Sounds having lived locally since the late 1990's and has worked in both property management and hospitality. He is a firm believer in educating our young people to understand and respect the delicate nature of our Sounds environment and strongly believes that Mistletoe Bay is the right place to deliver these lessons. Scotty's daughter is a school student who has been on numerous camps to Mistletoe Bay and he has been impressed by how much she has learnt from these experiences. Scotty is enjoying the opportunity to give back to the community through his involvement with the Trust and help to hold front the centre the values of conservation, education and sustainability for this beautiful place.

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