It is with sadness that we announce Dr Maureen O’Callaghan is stepping down from her Ngā Rākau Taketake Science Leader role, finishing in that capacity on 30 June 2021. Maureen has decided that this is the right time to handover the reigns for Ngā Rākau Taketake science leadership and is going to focus her efforts elsewhere in the Challenge.

Maureen joined the Biological Heritage Challenge in 2016 to lead our largest tranche one research programme – Programme 2: Reducing risks and threats. This research area was complex and required plenty of hands-on leadership and management. Maureen then agreed to take on co-leadership of the strategic investment fund focused on kauri ora and myrtle ora, one that wasn’t in her natural science space and was political from the outset. She has led both of these programmes with dedication, professionalism, empathy, strength and humour.

It has been a pleasure to work with Maureen in this NRT lead role, and we are immensely appreciative of the hard work that Maureen has done over the last 5 years for the challenge. We are grateful for her leadership and thoughtful guidance, she has played an integral role in the Challenge and Ngā Rākau Taketake. However, while we will miss Maureen’s leadership in NRT, we are pleased she will continue in the Challenge with a role in the wider leadership and science excellence. An important space which we as a Challenge need to define or redefine, explore alternate measures and methods to show our impact.

Maureen, ngā mihi nui e hoa – we greatly appreciate the leadership and guidance of the last 5 years, and look forward to your leadership in a new Challenge role.

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