Nicola Toki has been appointed the new chief executive of Forest & Bird and will begin in April this year, succeeding outgoing chief executive Kevin Hague, who is retiring after six years at the helm of the conservation organisation.
Toki will continue to guide the independent not-for-profit organisation – approaching its 100th year – on behalf of Kiwis everywhere who are passionate about protecting the wildlife and wild places of Aotearoa. She will focus her attention on improving the visibility of the work of the society and its vast network of members and supporters, as well as developing a strategic direction to take Forest & Bird into the next 100 years.
“Nicola has an impressive history of conservation leadership and advocacy for New Zealand’s wildlife and wild places, including during her first role at Forest & Bird as a conservation advocate from 2010 to 2012,” said Forest & Bird president, Mark Hanger.
“Having worked in a range of roles across the private and public sector, Toki is a well-known champion for
New Zealand’s natural world and has a deep understanding of the environmental management challenges and opportunities in this country.”
Toki has worked in conservation leadership roles in the agribusiness industry, the Predator Free New Zealand movement, as the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Threatened Species ambassador, and has represented New Zealand at international biodiversity science and policy meetings.
Currently, she holds a senior leadership role in the DOC as the operations director for the Eastern South Island.
“As New Zealand recovers from the global COVID-19 pandemic, supporting the resilience of our natural environment and fostering our enduring connection to nature is vital,” said Hanger.
“With Forest & Bird about to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, public engagement with and concern for Aotearoa New Zealand’s native species and environment is the highest it’s ever been.
“With her wealth of experience, we are delighted to have Nicola lead Forest & Bird into our centennial, and we are confident she will add significant volume to the chorus of our thousands of members and supporters giving nature a voice across Aotearoa.”