Environmental, Land & Environmental Management Consultant

Bob worked for 44 years in land and water resource management in Northland with the Northland Regional Council and its predecessor, the Northland Catchment Commission and 6 years as Chief Soil Conservator and Resources Manager with the North Canterbury Catchment Board before joining AgFirst Northland 5 years ago.

He has an extensive knowledge and understanding of Northland soils and was involved in the original mapping of land resource inventory and land use capability data across the region.  Bob has mapped and assessed land use capability and provided advice on land and water management on farms and in forests and supported the protection of land for primary production throughout the Northland region and Auckland.

Bob’s recent work has involved advising landholders on how to match land use to the inherent capability of the land to ensure economically and environmentally sustainable production.  This has included land suited to horticulture, arable farming and market gardening, pastoral farming, production forestry, manuka for honey and oil, and management of regenerating totara for timber.  In each case, advice is also given on ‘good practice’ measures recommended to optimise land use while minimising adverse environmental effects.  This may include soil and land drainage, soil conservation structures and vegetation, practices to improve soil structure and fertility and other husbandry practices.

2014 –  Land and Environmental Management Consultant, AgFirst Northland

  • Land use capability assessment at farm, forest, orchard, and catchment-scale
  • Soil mapping
  • Sustainable land management advice
  • Judged Ballance Farm Environment Awards
  • Beef and Lamb NZ Environmental Reference Group
  • Identification/assessment of ‘elite soils’ in Northland and Auckland

1989 – 2013 – Numerous management roles with Northland Regional Council

  • Urban land use capability surveys of Pawarenga, Panguru, Waima, Taupo Bay, Tauranga Bay, Mahinepua, Wainui, Te Ngaere
  • Identified and developed Northland Priority Rivers Programme for flood risk reduction.

1984 – 1989 – CEO of Northland Regional Council

1979 – 1984 – Chief Soil Conservator North Canterbury Catchment Board

  • Developed and implemented policies on high and hill country and irrigation management
  • Water management plans for the Rakaia,  Waimakariri, Ashley, Hurunui and Waiau Rivers and Central Plains groundwater.
  • Hill and High Country Burning Bylaw Review

1965 – 1979 – Assistant – Senior Soil Conservator, Water and Soil Planning Officer, Northland Catchment Commission

  • Soil conservation advice to farmers
  • Mapping land use capability at farm and catchment scale
  • Developed urban land use capability mapping methods


  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Massey University, 1965
  • Certificate in Soil Conservation, Lincoln College and Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, 1965.
  • Diploma of Business Studies, Massey University 1993.
  • Fellow of the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management.
  • Registered Primary Industry Consultant
  • Honorary Member of the NZ Association of Resource Management.
  • Member of the NZ Society of Soil Science


  • Land Resource Inventory mapping and Land Use capability assessment
  • Soil mapping and management
  • Soil conservation and erosion control design and implementation
  • Sustainable land management advice
  • Land and soil drainage


  • ‘Improving our Soil Resources with Profit – Observations on Effects of Forestry on Marginal Land’, NZ Association of Resource Management Broadsheet, April 2016
  • ‘Reversing the Aging Process’, Paper to the NZ Society of Soil Science Conference, Hamilton, NZ, December 2014
  • Editorial – NZ Society of Soil Science Vol.62, No.3, June 2014
  • ‘What Worked and What Didn’t’, A Review of Soil Conservation Measures and Practices in Northland, September 2013 – Paper to NZARM Conference, Gisborne, 2013
  • 2002-2013 Regular articles for Northland Regional Council in Northern Advocate.