Keynote Speakers

Kara Puketapu-Dentice

Kara has held various senior roles in the public service and private sector which have focused on improving outcomes for Māori. Kara holds a Masters of Planning and Resource Management (with distinction) from the University of Otago and since then has worked in the areas of strategy, policy, environmental management, housing, and iwi governance.

In 2015, Kara participated in the Asia Pacific Leadership Programme at the East West Centre in Hawaii, and later in 2019 was selected as an emerging leader to be a part of the Obama Foundation Asia Pacific Leadership Forum held in Malaysia. Kara is the CEO of Taranaki Whānui, a tribal entity within New Zealand, where he is responsible for delivering the social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing for his 20,000 members. Kara was previously the Director of Economy and Development at Hutt City Council. In this role he is responsible for housing, community assets and facilities, transport, urban development, business and economy, as well as significant transformational projects such as ‘RiverLink’ which will be a game changer for the future growth and prosperity of Hutt City.

Kara was born and raised in Wainuiomata and is of Te Āti Awa and Ngāi Tūhoe descent.

Paul O’Callaghan
(Virtual Keynote Speaker)

Water scientist, sustainability thought leader and documentary producer, Paul O’Callaghan believes the global water crisis can be solved in his lifetime and he is on a mission to help make it happen. Paul is the CEO and Founder of BlueTech Research, focusing on advancing water management technologies. In 2020, Paul acted as the executive director on the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Brave Blue World,’ which raised awareness of water crisis solutions. Paul is now co-producing ‘Our Blue World’ which will explore humanity’s role in rebalancing water systems. Paul holds a PhD in Water Innovation from Wageningen University and will soon be publishing his book ‘The Dynamics of Water Innovation’.

Jonny Osborne

A policy practitioner, Jonny worked for several years at the Ministry for the Environment, contributing to reforms of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management in 2014, 2017 and 2020. He participated in Te Whaitua o Te Whanganui-a-Tara as a community representative between 2018-2021. The group, tasked by Greater Wellington Regional Council to develop a plan to restore Te Mana o Te Wai to the waters that flow into Wellington Harbour, delivered a series of recommendations in late 2021. Raised in Napier, Jonny moved to Wellington to study in the early 2000s, fell in love with the place, and has remained since. He lives in Miramar with his partner and two young children.

Nicola Patrick

Director Catchment, Environment Group, Greater Wellington Regional Council
Nicola is an environmental specialist who thrives in complex and emerging sectors. She joined GW in early 2023, working for Ministry for the Environment immediately prior. She was a Horizons regional councillor representing Whanganui for two terms, also serving on Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) strategy group. Nicola led the environment team at Te Kaahui o Rauru in South Taranaki-Whanganui for three years. She founded a social enterprise hub and charity, Thrive Whanganui, in 2018, co-established the national Flaxroots network and worked for Ākina Foundation in 2015-16. Prior to this, Nicola spent seven years with AECOM in CRS and sustainability roles, in NZ and Western Australia, and was environment manager at the Rottnest Island Authority. She worked for Department of Conservation for 10 years, at Ruapehu, Whanganui and in national roles, and started life as a newspaper reporter. She has a science degree from Massey University.

Robert C. Brears

Robert C. Brears is the founder of Our Future Water, an initiative focused on sustainable water resource management. He has authored fourteen books, including Financing Water Security and Green Growth (Oxford University Press), Urban Water Security, Blue and Green Cities, and Nature-based Solutions to 21st Century Challenges. Robert is Editor-in-Chief of The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies and The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures. His role extends to international consulting, where he serves as a sectoral expert on water for the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund and the World Bank, contributing his expertise to global water resource management and sustainability initiatives.

Keynote Outline:

Introduction: The Urgency of Sustainable Urban Water Management: Brief overview of the escalating challenges to our cities
• Stormwater Harvesting: A Multifaceted Solution for Urban Sustainability and a case study
• Groundwater Recharge with Stormwater: Securing Our Water Future
• Innovative Practices in Stormwater Management: Green, grey and hybrid solutions
• Beyond Stormwater: Envisioning a Sustainable Urban Water Landscape

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.