Our Trustees & Staff

Who We Are



Our Patron

Neil Callaghan

Neil was invited to be a founding trustee of the Perry Foundation by Brian and Peggy Perry.

He held this position for 30 years and retired from it in 2007.

Later that year he became a trustee of POET.

Our Trustees

Marlene Julian


Marlene is a qualified secondary teacher who resigned to raise four children.

She is strong in governance from her experience as a trustee on a number of boards.


Vicky McLennan


After a long career in education, most recently as principal of Waikato Diocesan School, Vicky is a passionate supporter of young people and committed to the transformational benefits of outdoor education experiences.

She is currently deputy chair of Trust Waikato and brings governance skills and experience to her role on the POET board


Dr Mike Brown PhD


Mike is currently the general manager for Coastguard Boating Education.

He has held academic positions at several universities and published numerous articles, including three books on outdoor learning.


Emma Burke


Emma currently leads internal audit for Fletcher Building after 11 years in Risk Assurance at PwC and has strong risk and controls experience.

Emma has a passion for the outdoors and is keen to see young people have their own outdoor experiences. 


Craig Blackmore


Craig is the current chief financial officer of the Perry Group.

His extensive financial management experience is highly regarded, and Perry Outdoor Education Trust is very fortunate to benefit from this.


Rob Hamill


Rob is passionate about environmental and healthy community initiatives.  

Following his Olympic and trans-Atlantic Ocean rowing challenges, Rob developed a career in motivational speaking. 

He is keen to see young people connect to our natural world.

Rob lives in Te Pahu where he and his wife Rachel raise chickens, sheep, bees and three energetic boys.


Our Staff

Karen Singers


Karen has more than 18 years’ experience in the for purpose.

She is committed to supporting programmes that reduce barriers and enable our young people  to make the most of their opportunities.


Brian Connelly

Programme Coordinator

Brian has 27 years teaching experience, including 8 years as TIC Outdoor Education at Ruapehu College, and has a Masters in Sport & Leisure Studies. He is married with seven children, and is passionate about working with our tamariki to experience the joy of being in the outdoors.

Donald Matheson

Programme Coordinator

Donald joined POET in 2014, having previously worked in a variety of roles in outdoor education – from specialist instructor, to trainer and tutor.

Rene Eales

Bike Maintenance

Rene works with us on a casual basis – maintaining our fleet of mountain bikes.

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