Primary Industries

The WSP Primary Industries team supports the rural sector. Our own broad technical expertise, supported by the national and global services offered by WSP, allows us to take an integrated approach to finding solutions that will help meet the environmental, economic, social and cultural needs of future generations.

Feasibility studies

Whilst a feasibility study is often initiated to facilitate a commercial decision, we take pride in looking ahead and providing an output that supports...
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Community water schemes

The WSP approach to Irrigation Scheme Studies and Design involves deploying technical, scientific, financial, and people-orientated skillsets…
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Asset Management

Heartland and agricultural business success can often be dependent on effective asset management plans.
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Water Storage and Irrigation

Constructing dams for freshwater storage is a complicated process and one where you need the right people working for you.
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Land and nutrient management

Effective and sustainable land and nutrient management is fundamental to rural business success and long term operational viability.
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Farm and dairy effluent

The WSP team provides independent and impartial advice for the design and management of dairy-farm effluent systems that are tailor-made...
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Pond Drop Test

The Pond Drop Test is an easy, effective way to monitor effluent pond level change and is the only test available that meets Regional Council requirements.
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Fit for purpose infrastructure is essential to rural enterprises functioning in an efficient, effective and compliant manner.
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Support for the wine industry

Navigating the current regulatory environment is an involved process and one where you need the right people working with you.
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Data Scientist - Geospatial

Dr Istvan Hajdu

PhD Precision Agriculture, BEng
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Istvan is an Earth Science Engineer and geographer and has built up a career applying his geospatial skill set to help public bodies, research institutes and commercial organisations translate complex location-based information to solve particular business challenges. Having dealt with a variety of geospatial projects Istvan demonstrates a passion for environmental datasets, location intelligence via Geographic Information systems (GIS), imagery, and actionable visualisations to support decision making across sectors. His Ph.D. research investigated the capability of remote sensing for mapping soil moisture in hill country farms and aimed to quantify interactions in the soil-plant-water system for pasture growth modelling. Istvan’s extensive work experience includes land management and monitoring in the United Kingdom, agricultural and horticultural research, airborne and spaceborne multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing as well as delivering commercial GIS projects in New Zealand. Lately, he has been concentrating on the integration of geospatial machine learning, deep learning, and remotely sensed imagery to generate insights for members of the primary sector.

Principal Bioeconomy Innovation

Dr Sandra Velarde Pajares

B.Sc Forest Engineer, Diploma Agribusiness Management, M.Sc (Ecological Economics), PhD
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Sandra Velarde Pajares is Principal Bioeconomy Innovation at WSP New Zealand. Her expertise is on land-based futures, indigenous forests and urban green spaces. She recently moved to WSP from the Climate Change Commission and prior to that, she managed the environmental economics and governance research portfolios at Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute) working with different iwi in the Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti. For more than twenty years, Sandra has worked in national and international organisations on  sustainability issues in Peru, Italy, Kenya, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Agroforestry Centre. Sandra uses visual tools for sense-making and enjoys graphic recording and facilitation and bridging the science-policy gap. Sandra holds a PhD from the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, a MSc in Ecological Economics from The University of Edinburgh and a Forest Science degree from Universidad Agraria La Molina in Peru, her mother country. 

Consultant Primary Industries

Kyle Wills

BAgSc (Hons). Advanced Nutrient Management, Cert. Agriculture Greenhouse Gases
T: +64 27 204 2820
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Kyle has been with WSP since 2023 after spending four years at Ballance AgriNutrients. Previously he attended Lincoln University where he studied a Bachelor of Agricultural science with first class honours. Brought up on a deer, sheep and beef farm in Southland and then Wanaka, Kyle has always had a passion for working with farmers in a technical, theoretical and practical capacity. He has practical and system experience on deer, sheep and beef, dairy and arable farming systems with an in-depth understanding of fertility management from his previous work. 

Rural Services Technician

Sam Christiansen

  T: +64 27 225 8269  
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Sam has over 10 years’ experience in the dairy processing industry working on a wide range of different roles. He has also worked on variety of projects including environmental management, resource consenting and wastewater treatment plants. This work has given him skills which he can now apply within the primary industries team. Sam’s main role involves delivering the pond drop tests and supporting other projects within the Primary Industries team. 

Head of Primary Industries

Electra Kalaugher

BSc (Ecology), MAplSc (NRM, distinction), PhD. Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa.
T: +64 7 838 5841
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Electra has over 25 years’ experience with a broad and varied professional background. Her career has been driven by environmental goals, particularly sustainable agriculture. Her professional experience spans international policy (UN), academic research, the NGO sector, local government and DairyNZ. As a result, she brings a multi-disciplinary perspective and strong networks across a wide range of stakeholders in the agriculture and environmental sectors.

Electra has a strong interest in and a developing understanding of mātauranga Māori, including through her postgraduate study and during her time as a social scientist at Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research. She is also a trained facilitator and takes a particular enjoyment in bringing together apparently disparate disciplines and ways of thinking to find common ground.

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Technical Principal – Rural Infrastructure

Rex Corlett

BSc, MBA (Tech Mgt), NZCE(Civil), FEngNZ, CPEng(NZ) .
M: +64 27 451 1238
T: +64 3 363 5535
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Rex is a chartered professional engineer specialising in rural infrastructure, particularly in the development and management of water and civil projects. His civil engineering experience developed over his 46-year career includes; small dams, water storage, wetlands, concrete structures, farm effluent systems and irrigation, and the management of contracts to successfully deliver these.

He enjoys working closely with clients and stakeholders to deliver pragmatic solutions to their needs and brings a strong technical focus to the projects he works on.

Rex’s expert knowledge and professional capability in rural infrastructure is valued widely in the industry.

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Work Group Manager - Water and Infrastructure

Lizzie Fox

BSc (Hons), MSc Physical Geography.
M: + 64 27 540 1780
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Lizzie has worked for WSP since 2016. She has 10 years of professional experience in the field of hydrology and multiple years as a leading Project Manager. She has recently moved into the role of Workgroup manager for the Primary Industries Water and Infrastructure team.

Her key skills and technical expertise are in catchment hydrology, water balances, geospatial analysis, rainfall, flood and drought analysis, hydrometric database management and quality assurance, data modelling, Hydro Electric Power Scheme (HEPS) analysis, land use feasibility studies, and project management of multidisciplinary projects.

She applies her hydrology knowledge on water storage projects, deficit irrigation to land studies and water feasibility schemes, which is a pertinent aspect for many primary industry- related projects.

She has proven to build rapport across diverse stakeholder groups and brings positive, proactive and engaging leadership to the core team.

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Principal, Water Resources

Will Conley

BSc (Ecology), MSc (Catchment Mgt & Soil Science), CPESC (#5196)
T: +64 6 833 5208
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Will is an engineering fluvial geomorphologist with over 27 years’ experience designing, implementing, and managing multidisciplinary design, construction, and investigative efforts related to natural hazards, ecological services, and native species habitats. His extensive experience connecting-the-dots between geology, hydrology, engineering, and ecology helps build more sustainable and resilient catchments and programs.

He has worked successfully with a wide range of stakeholders including private sector, NGOs, governments at all levels (indigenous, local, state, regional, and federal), and universities. His experience includes 17 years conceiving and building a catchment-scale restoration program from the ground up for an indigenous resource management program.

More recently, his PhD research in New Zealand investigated river morphodynamics at multiple spatiotemporal scales with the aim of informing more resilient flood and erosion hazard management.

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Irrigation Specialist

Nick Adams

B.E. (Civil), MEngNZ
M: +64 27 454 6301
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Nick has 25 years’ experience as an engineer. 21 of those years have been in the New Zealand Irrigation industry where his roles have closely involved him in design, construction and operations. He has sound operational knowledge of farming systems that includes horticulture, soils, pasture, machinery, drainage, water and wastewater treatment.

Nick creates smart efficient solutions to complex irrigation network problems through his lateral thinking and collaborative work approach. Currently he is working for the regional business in New Zealand as an irrigation specialist.

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Senior Primary Industries Consultant – Rural Infrastructure

Glenn Thomas

BEngTech (Civil), PGDipASc (AgBus), MEngNZ, Advanced Nutrient Mgmt.
M: +64 21 265 9066
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Glenn has 20 years’ experience in primary industries specialising in the engineering design and management of wastewater discharge systems, predominantly for the dairy, meat and wine industries. He has a deep practical understanding and knowledge base for solids separation, storage and irrigation to land from wastewater in these industries. Dairy effluent system design is a particular interest. Glenn works collaboratively with key stakeholders to successfully deliver client projects through applying his experience as a senior project manager on a range of large-scale engineering projects over many years.

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Senior Consultant Sustainability

Anne-Maree Jolly

BSc (Ag) honours (Soil Science), PhD Soil Science, CNMA, Cert. Agriculture Greenhouse Gases
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Anne-Maree is a senior soil scientist and nutrient management specialist with the Primary Industries team. With a PhD in Soil Science specialising in nutrient management for dairy farming systems, she has an in-depth knowledge of nutrient management systems in both pastoral and vegetable systems. Her expertise and experience spans policy processes, environmental farm planning, agricultural greenhouse gases and commercial vegetable systems.

Anne-Maree provides technical leadership and advisory services to a wide range of projects including quality control of farm planning processes, agri-environmental policy advisory, high value soils, catchment modelling, nutrient management, soil mapping, irrigation and land use feasibility studies, and research on sustainable vegetable systems.

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Primary Industries Consultant - Horticulture

Lisa Arnold

BSc (Marine Biology), Cert. Organic Horticulture.
T: +64 2 187 8102
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Lisa is a Primary Industries Consultant at WSP specialising in Horticulture. She has eight years of experience working in the horticultural and apicultural industries, working across orchard, vineyard, ground cropping, beehive management and post-harvest operations. She has also managed riparian planting projects and has a good understanding of native plants.

Lisa enjoys working with horticultural operations to meet ever-increasing compliance and regulation requirements. She has experience with accreditation standards such as GAP, GRASP, and BioGro Organic, and implementing environmental and social sustainability initiatives. She can also provide technical knowledge for sustainable pest & disease and soil management.

Lisa’s passion for sustainable food production and specialist knowledge of organic growing systems drives her to make a difference in the future of horticulture in New Zealand.

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Rural Infrastructure Engineer

William (Bertie) Strickland

Bachelor of Civil Engineering (1st Class Honours)
T: +64 27 5450 449
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Bertie is a Civil Engineer with 5 years’ experience in the industry. Bertie graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (1st Class Honours) from Canterbury University in 2016.

Since graduating, Bertie worked in the WSP’s Stormwater and Flood Risk Management Team. He was then seconded to the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Rebuild (NCTIR) Alliance, where he spent six months working as a Stormwater Engineer in the design office, before heading to Kaikōura for 12 months as part of the Construction Phase Services (CPS) team. This involved all aspects of civil construction from geotechnical inspections, structural pre-pour checks to road surfacing.

Since returning to the WSP office as a Water Engineer, Bertie has been carrying out construction observation for the Department of Correction, contract management for Christchurch City Council as well as wide variety of design projects across the country across the 3 waters discipline.

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Consultant Primary Industries - Sustainability

Jack Bennett

Ngati Maniapoto. BAgSc (Hons).
M: +64 27 218 1663
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Jack has been with WSP since 2020 after graduating with first class honours in agricultural science from Lincoln University. An upbringing on a hill country sheep and beef property led him to study agriculture and pursue a career in the industry, with a strong interest in providing technical support to farmers and growers. He has grass roots experience involving work on several farms across different farm systems including Sheep, Beef and Dairy.

Jack is a technician for the Pond Drop Test for farm effluent ponds, and he has also been supporting the Taniwha-Whenua and Motutapu Island projects, further developing his skillset and desire to support Māori land development in a productive and sustainable way. Aside from his involvement with the primary industries team, he has assisted the Hamilton ecology and water teams with field work, broadening his outlook on land use.

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Graduate, water resources

Jamie Lynds

BSc(Geog,Ecol), PGDipSci(Geog), MSci Physical Geography
T: +64 27 234 3082
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Jamie has joined WSP in 2022 after completing a Masters in Science at the University of Otago. She has a broad educational background in environmental sciences, with a passion for a holistic approach to environmental management. Her key skills are in hydrology, ecology and science education.

Jamie’s Masters of Science in Geography was focussed on assessing the hydrological and meteorological drivers of drought in the Ōmakō/Lindis River. This involved considering how drought should be measured in catchments such as the Ōmakō to best provide information for minimum flow setting thresholds of rivers. Jamie also has completed summer studentships as a coastal and estuarine ecologist and catchments specialist for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

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Graduate, water resources

Aimee Calkin

BSc (Geog, Enviro), PGDip (WRM)
T: +64 27 259 9618
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Aimee joined WSP in 2022 after completing a post-graduate diploma in Water Resource Management and is now studying a Master of Water Resource Management at the University of Canterbury. Aimee’s Master of Water Resource Management is focusing on a global survey of braided rivers and identifying encroachment patterns relating to various drivers such as economic drivers and events. Aimee’s key skills include a broad knowledge in hydrology, environmental and water resources science.

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