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Meet the Team

Meet the AUT Community Garden Initiative Steering Committee behind the strategic vision and future direction of the project.

Associate Professor Caryn Zinn

Associate Professor, Dietitian

Caryn has been a driving force behind strategic vision, implementation and maintenance of the gardens as they were first a key practical component of the year 3 Lifestyle Nutrition paper, first in 2019.
The ethos of involving students was to provide an opportunity for students gain an insight into the "bigger picture" concerning nutrition, sustainability and holistic well-being from immersive learning.

Niven Winder

Grounds Maintenance Supervisor
North, South and City Campus

Niven is the eyes and ears behind the whole operation. He knows the gardens back to front and has extensive knowledge on gardening and adopting sustainable gardening practices. If you're looking to get involved with the gardens across the 3 campuses -Niven is your man

Oliver Coxhead

Maintenance Officer

I am based at AUT South as a Maintenance Officer.  Prior to joining AUT, I worked as a Qualified Greenkeeper on golf courses both here in Auckland, and In Tauranga. Last year, I completed my Level 3 Certificate in Horticulture. I am passionate about building up the green spaces at AUT South campus so that can grow to their full potential.

Rory Chacko

Estates Operations Manager
North, South and City Campus

Rory is passionate about sustainability and providing support to students who want to take on sustainable initiatives in and around AUT. Rory was a driver of the bee hotel and raised garden beds at North Campus, with various other sustainable projects in the pipeline.

Sylvia North

Lecturer, Dietitian

Sylvia holds core values in healthy lifestyles and holistic well-being, aligning closely with the central ethos of the initiative. From a nutrition perspective, Sylvia aims to encourage students to think beyond individual food and nutrients to appreciate wider health determinants from a holistic perspective.

Mark Jones

Senior lecturer
Founder of the Outdoor Classroom
North Campus

Mark established the Outdoor Classroom in 2019 as a suitable space for outdoor practitioners to learn and practise foundational outdoor skills such as cooking on fire, crafting with flax or making items with axe/ knife. He hopes the Outdoor Classroom becomes a place that students feel comfortable claiming as their own and have the freedom to cook, build and socialise there whenever it is not being used for structured teaching sessions.

Tammi Wilson Uluinayau

Māori equity academic
Founder of Matariki gardens
North Campus

Tammi established the Matariki gardens in 2019 in celebration of Matariki (Māori new year). She holds an annual Matariki planting day in the gardens each year and is passionate about teaching students about Rongoā Māori (traditional Māori medicine).

Lucy Mckenzie

Head of Sustainability, Strategy & Planning

Lucy has spent the past 20 years’ working in the sustainability field in both New Zealand and the UK. Now at AUT, Lucy’s focus is on super charging sustainability through a circular economy approach, ecological regeneration on the campuses, and creating net zero CO2 campuses. The community garden initiative aligns with all of those three aspects and supports sustainability focused learning and teaching, as well as potential sustainability research.

Professor Tracy Berno

Associate Dean - Postgraduate,

The overall aim of my research is to contribute to sustainable food systems in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the broader Pacific region, particularly in relation to the challenges that sustainable development presents.

Robert Richardson

Lecturer, Hospitality & Tourism Teaching

After having worked in some of New Zealand’s leading restaurants over the past 25 years, Rob is now a lecturer at AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Current programme leader of the Master in Gastronomy programme, Rob teaches courses focusing on the signs and symbolism inherent in contemporary food culture, and courses in food and beverage anthropology.

Louise McGrath


Louise is the course leader for the NorthTec Lifestyle Nutrition class and Whangarei Community Gaden.

Our students

Co-op placement students

Thank you to our present and past students who have made contributions toward the development of the AUT CGI website:
Kayla Eybers, Justine Vincent, Sacha O'Reilly, and Lauren Botica.

CGI Steering Committee in action

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