NZGA Seminar 2021: 29th July – Suncourt Hotel, Taupō

Topic: Geothermal in a Low Carbon Future

Register on the Eventbrite page here.


Please note, this programme is a draft and subject to change.


Speaker Profiles:


Kennie Tsui

New Zealand Geothermal Association

Kennie Tsui is the new Chief Executive Officer for the New Zealand Geothermal Association, commencing in this new role in July. Prior to this, she was the Principal Analyst at the Climate Change Commission, and was heavily involved with developing the recent report “Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa”. Tabled in Parliament in June, this report provided recommendations to Government on climate change action in New Zealand. She has also held previous positions at the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment. A chemical and process engineer by training, and also holding an MBA qualification, Kennie has a wealth of knowledge across the energy sector built during her professional roles and directorships, as well as strong working relationships with central government. She is based on Wellington, New Zealand.



Sandra Velarde

Senior Analyst
Climate Change Commission

Sandra is Senior Analyst at the Climate Change Commission’s land team, and worked on the Commission’s first advice “Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa”. Sandra has over 15 years of environmental research experience on bioenergy systems innovation, forest ecosystem services and environmental governance across Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally at the World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya, the Center for International Tropical Agriculture, Brazil, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Italy.

Sandra holds a PhD in Environment from the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, a Masters in Ecological Economics from the University of Edinburgh and degrees in agribusiness management, forest engineering and sciences from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Peru.



Louise Tong

Toitū Pūtea (Sustainable Finance)
Corporate & Institutional Banking, Bank of New Zealand

Louise has over 20 years’ experience in the banking industry in New Zealand, principally in corporate finance and financial markets. In her current role, she is responsible for supporting Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) customers to build and invest in a sustainable economy by allocating capital in a way that drives a positive social, economic and environmental impacts.

Prior to joining BNZ in May 2020, Louise worked for eight years in the energy sector for Contact Energy, where she held various responsibilities across funding, liquidity, financial market risks, technical accounting, credit and tax.

In 2017, Louise finalised Contact’s NZ$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) green borrowing programme – the first green certification completed by a New Zealand issuer and the largest-ever single green certification by the Climate Bonds Initiative. In late 2019, Contact entered into a $50 million Sustainability Linked Loan, one of the first of its kind in New Zealand.

From 2013 – 2020, Louise was on the board of INFINZ, a member based industry body for professionals working and participating in New Zealand’s wholesale finance and capital markets. Louise was Chair of INFINZ in from 2018-2020.

Louise has also held a position as an independent member of Auckland Council’s Treasury Management Steering Group, overseeing the treasury function whose responsibilities include the management of the Council’s then circa $8 billion debt portfolio.

Louise holds a degree with Honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Canterbury and a Masters in Applied Finance from Victoria University of Wellington.


Genelle Palmer

Manager – Sustainability
Contact Energy

Genelle Palmer is the Manager – Sustainability for Contact Energy. She is responsible for setting the sustainability strategy for the company including setting emissions reduction targets and influencing/encouraging the company to think differently in the way that it tackles sustainability problems and opportunities. Her formal training is in Geology and Environmental Science with experience across a wide range of primary industry.

She has a toddler at home and is continually working to find the balance between being a great mum and being able to bring her best self to work.




Dr. Isabelle Chambefort

Senior Hydrothermal Geoscientist
GNS Science

Dr Isabelle Chambefort is a senior Hydrothermal Geoscientist at GNS Science Wairakei Research Centre. Isabelle has over 20 years of experience in research in magmatic-hydrothermal systems in volcanic arcs. Prior to joining GNS Science in 2010, Isabelle’s research focused on epithermal and porphyry Au-Cu deposits and magmatic volatiles in Switzerland, USA and Australia. She is currently leading the MBIE Endeavour Research Programme Geothermal: The Next Generation that investigates supercritical geothermal resources in the Taupō Volcanic Zone. She is also the principal investigator of a Marsden Programme Superhot Fluids: The origin and flux of natural greenhouse gases in volcanic areas, looking at the source and pathway of CO2 and noble gas from magmas to the geothermal surface features.

Isabelle did her Masters in France at the University of Clermont Ferrand and received her PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland.




Dr. Eylem Kaya

Department of Engineering Science
The University of Auckland

Eylem has worked in geothermal R&D since 2000 and has extensive research and commercial field experience in geothermal reservoir engineering. She joined the Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland team in 2006 and has been involved in geothermal energy training since 2013. Her research interests include numerical reservoir simulation, reinjection into geothermal systems, reactive transport modelling, gas-rich geothermal systems, and well tests.

Eylem develops numerical models of the geothermal systems, which can help assess the potential sustainable utilisation of the resources, better management of the fields, and more effective guardianship of environmental and cultural values. She enjoys living in Aotearoa/New Zealand, especially the opportunity to view the world through Te Ao Māori (a Māori worldview).

She is an elected member of the board of directors of the IGA for 2020-2023.


Paul Bennett

Clean Technologies Science Leader
Scion Research

Paul started with BP in the UK as scientist in 1988, and held a series of roles in R&D, Product Management, Policy Development, Strategy and Business Development. In 2005, he was part of a small team that established BP Biofuels business unit and has been working on bioenergy and biofuels ever since. In 2009, he left BP and has worked in a variety of bioenergy roles from business development through to Government Strategy.

In 2014, he took the role of Science Leader of the Clean Technology Group at Scion in Rotorua. Amongst the key activities of this Group has been bioenergy, for the example the development of New Zealand’s Biofuels Roadmap, and a principle author of the Royal Society’s “Climate Change Mitigation Options for New Zealand” report. During this time, Paul has been an active member of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Group and has recently been elected Chair from 1 January 2021 for a 2 year period. This raises our awareness of latest international developments on new conversion technologies, bioenergy deployment, policy development and key sustainability issues.

New Zealand Positions held:

2021 – 2022 Chair, International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Executive Committee
2017 – 2020 Vice-Chair, IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee
2014 – onwards IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee member
2017 – onwards Alternate Board Member of Bioresource Processing Alliance
2017 – onwards Board Member of Bioenergy Association NZ
2018 – onwards Board Member of National Energy Research Institute. NZ


Kererua Savage

Consulting Manager
Glenn Hawkins and Associates

E noho ana anō i raro i te maru o tōku maunga tapu,
Ko Pūtauaki he ngārara tāna kai, e.
Kei raro iho ko te waiū oranga o aku tīpuna,
Ko Tarawera te awa e rere haere nei ki Te Awa-o-te-Atua, ki te Moana-nui-a-Toi
Takahia te whenua kura o aku tīpuna, te ōtitapu, te aumangea o te pō,
Whakaeke rā ki te marae ātea, te hekenga o te hūpē me te roimata, ko Te Ahinaanga tērā,
Tū mai Hahuru, te whaea, te whakaruruhau o Ngāti Tūwharetoa i te Aupōuri.
Tuwhera mai rā te tari o te ora, tēnā koe Hinemotu
Hei whakaau i taku moe, e.
E kokoia, e ara e!

Kererua is currently the Deputy Chair of Toi Kai Rawa Trust, Bay of Plenty economic development agency. Part of this work involves the Maori STEAM strategy, connecting rangatahi to industry in the geothermal sector. Kererua spends his normal business week working as a consulting manager at GHA bringing with him a wealth of experience in the government, housing and banking sectors. Previously, Kererua worked in several government departments including Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, The Treasury and the Ministry of Justice holding roles ranging from Principal Analyst to Policy Director. His most recent role was with Westpac NZ as the Area Business Development Manager for Iwi / Māori for Te Puku o Te Ika ā Māui.

Kererua did his Master of Business Administration at Victoria University and undergraduate business degree at Massey University. Kererua spends a lot of his spare time doing voluntary work on Ahu Whenua Trusts around the Bay of Plenty, including the Savage Papakāinga Land Trust (which has the GDL station and former TG2 plant) and Kawerau A5A Ahu Whenua Trust.


Mana Newton

Group CEO
Tauhara North No.2 Trust

No te iwi o Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa.

In 2018 Mana took up the role of Group Chief Executive Officer at Tauhara North No.2 Trust. Previous to this he spent many years at Deloitte in both the USA practice, specialising in external audit, and as a partner in Deloitte New Zealand business advisory where he helped establish the Maori business development team. He is passionate about Maori development and has held various roles of governance supporting Maori entities to grow their commercial capability in a kaupapa Maori framework.

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.




Mitch Collins

Pink & White Geothermal Gin

What started as a shared geothermal distillery dream a couple of years ago in a Lynmore garage is fast becoming a reality. Mitch, with Distiller Kurt Matthews and Brad Christie, have been running Pink & White – Geothermal Gin in Rotorua for over a year. The White (London Dry) won Double Gold at the NZ Spirit Awards, putting it in the top 3 of 145 entered gins worldwide. The Pink Gin also won a highly placed Silver Award. The team are going to Auckland on the 25th June when the trophy winner for NZ’s Best Gin is announced.

With a lot of local charity, advice and support along the way, we have remained lean and have had a few delays along the way as with any startup. Our recent awards have us increasing production and making in-roads to having the first still powered by geothermal heat.

Mitch is no stranger to the geothermal regulatory environment and for his sins, lived for a few years with Jeremy O’Brien and a Siamese cat named Stompy in London.