Our People

The NZAGRC is staffed by a dedicated and enthusiastic team.

The NZAGRC Director, Operations Manager, Project Analyst, International Capability and Training Coordinator, and Administrator are employed by AgResearch on behalf of the NZAGRC, and are based in Palmerston North. The Deputy Director (International) and Operations Manager (International), also employed by AgResearch, are based in Wellington.  Read more about the NZAGRC staff

The NZAGRC team includes more than 50 highly motivated scientists and technical staff delivering high quality science. This team is led by 7 experts in their field providing science leadership and advice to the NZAGRC. Read more about the NZAGRC SLT 

The NZAGRC receives direction from its Steering Group who met quarterly and oversee the NZAGRC's performance against its strategic plan. Read more about the NZAGRC SG 

The NZAGRC receives expert advice on the relevance and quality of its research programme for the international and Maori communities. See more about our advisors page for more information.

Below are some profiles of Our People and the work they do. 

  • Further international recognition for Andy Reisinger

    The NZAGRC’s Deputy Director (International), Dr Andy Reisinger, has been invited to join an international scientific advisory panel that aims to address sustainable agriculture, food security and the impacts of climate change.

    Dr Reisinger has been asked by the governing board of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI) to become a member of its prestigious scientific advisory group.

    The FACCE-JPI provides and guides research to support sustainable agricultural production and economic growth while maintaining and restoring ecosystem services under current and future climate change. The focus of FACCE-JPI is on Europe, but it is seeking to strengthen links with non-European members and production systems. New Zealand currently is the only associate member country from the southern hemisphere.

    The Scientific Advisory Board members are selected on the basis of stringent criteria, including having an outstanding academic record, having international visibility and reputation, scientific expertise and foresight, and having a broad vision of the challenges facing agriculture, food security and climate change.

    “It is a real honour to serve on the FACCE-JPI Scientific Advisory Board. This will allow me to help foster innovation and collaboration across major agricultural research organisations in Europe and globally, and to ensure that the experiences of New Zealand farming systems are recognized in such discussions.” 

    Dr Reisinger has previously worked for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the UK and India, and is currently one of the 34 members globally of the IPCC Bureau – he recently returned from the IPCC’s latest session in Montreal where the outline for the IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report was agreed. 

    “Climate change remains an emotionally and politically loaded topic, even as its reality and urgency is sinking in around the world. The IPCC seeks to provide independent and robust scientific advice on what we can do about it, without assuming that there is a single answer. Agriculture will play a significant role in several reports being produced by the IPCC over the next two years. Strengthening our science connections globally means the challenges and opportunities for New Zealand’s agriculture are more likely to be recognised within IPCC reports.” 

    Dr Reisinger says that his involvement in those international organisations will also help strengthen New Zealand’s science contribution to the Global Research Alliance (GRA) and NZAGRC’s input into the GRA’s Livestock Research Group

    “More and more countries are formulating ambitious plans to reduce emissions associated with food production, but they don’t necessarily have the technical capacity to achieve this. The GRA helps countries improve emission estimates and identify ways to reduce emissions without jeopardising food security and other development goals. Collaboration is at the heart of this. Through our multiple connections, the NZAGRC promotes global research that draws on New Zealand’s strengths and in turn benefits New Zealand.”

    The Scientific Advisory Board of the FACCE JPI is meeting 19/20 October in Aberdeen. The meeting coincides with the first lead author meeting for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land in Oslo, Norway, from 16-20 October. Dr Reisinger will attend the IPCC meeting in person and the FACCE-JPI meeting remotely.

  • Andy Reisinger

    Dr Andy Reisinger, NZAGRC Deputy Director (International)

    Dr Andy Reisinger joined the NZAGRC team in November 2010 from the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, based at Victoria University of Wellington. Andy spent six years working for the Ministry for the Environment as Senior Adviser on climate change and has also worked for the Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change in the UK and in India.

    Andy is a Coordinating Lead Author for the International Panel for Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and is a New Zealand representative for the Global Research Alliance Livestock Research Group.

    Andy works from the NZAGRC Wellington office to enable robust interaction with MPI with respect to the Alliance.   Andy provides strategic support to the NZAGRC Director and leads New Zealand's science contribution to the Global Research Alliance and NZAGRC's input into the Global Research Alliance Livestock Research Group.

    Phone +64 4 472 3292   Email andy.reisinger@nzagrc.org.nz

     -- View Andy's latest presentation "Agricultural emissions: their role in climate change - past, present and future"

  • Harry Clark

    Dr Harry Clark MNZM, NZAGRC Director moved to New Zealand to study the impacts of climate change on pastoral agriculture after obtaining his PhD and working for MAFF in the United Kingdom.  Prior to leading the establishment of the NZAGRC, Harry headed up AgResearch's Climate, Land and Environment  section and was the Principal Investigator of the PGgRc from 2007 until 2010. 

    Harry sits on a number of New Zealand and international government panels & committees and is co-chair of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance.

    Harry maintains responsibility for the overall strategic direction of the NZAGRC, science plan and operations, provides advice to the New Zealand Secretariat for the Global Research Alliance and leadership to the Global Research Alliance Livestock Research Group.

    Phone  +64 6 351 8334   Email harry.clark@nzagrc.org.nz

  • Heather Went

    Dr Heather Went, NZAGRC Operations Manager joined the NZAGRC in March 2010 from her role as a Business Development Manager at AgResearch.  Heather has a PhD in biophysical chemistry from Cambridge University and worked in London for a management consulting firm specialising in the pharmaceutical industry prior to moving to New Zealand at the end of 2005.

    Heather is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NZAGRC including the development of policies & procedures, management of advisory groups and committees, and liaison with scientists to ensure adequate completion of science goals and programmes.

    Phone +64 6 351 8305     Email: heather.went@nzagrc.org.nz

  • Kate Parlane

    Kate Parlane, NZAGRC Project Analyst moved to the Manawatu and joined the NZAGRC at the end of March 2010 after working for the Wellington City Council in their Executive administration team and as an administrator for New Zealand's export education industry body. Kate is completing her undergraduate study part time at Massey University.

    Kate manages the implementation of the NZAGRC communications activity plan including web and social media presence, oversees the production of the NZAGRC-PGgRc factsheet series and research pipelines, as well as managing day to day purchasing and invoicing for the NZAGRC and GRA contracts.

    Phone +64 6 351 8197   Email kate.parlane@nzagrc.org.nz

  • Laura Kearney

    Laura Kearney joined the NZAGRC team in March 2017 as Operations Manager (International), following two years contracting part-time to NZAGRC. Laura has previously worked for the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on climate change, economic and science policy issues at the international level. Laura has an MSc in Environmental Assessment and Evaluation from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Laura supports the NZAGRC international team to deliver on its commitments to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). This includes coordination and communication work for the GRA’s Livestock Research Group, administering the LEARN and GRASS Awards Scheme, and overseeing contractual arrangements with MPI.


    Email: laura.kearney@nzagrc.org.nz 

  • Sinead Leahy

    Dr Sinead Leahy, NZAGRC International Capability and Training Coordinator

    Sinead joined us in October 2016 on secondment from AgResearch.

    Sinead supports the NZAGRC international team to deliver of its commitments outlined in its annual capability building plan.

    Tel: +64 6 6 3518334               Email: sinead.leahy@nzagrc.org.nz

    -- Read more about Sinead in the article "Searching deep within for methane battlers"

  • Tania Brown

    Tania Brown, NZAGRC Administrator

    Tania Brown coordinates the NZAGRC Director's diary and external commitments including travel arrangements.

    Tania coordinates travel and bookings for all NZAGRC staff and provides administrative input into events, workshops and other activities undertaken by the NZAGRC.

    Tania coordinates purchasing and invoicing for the NZAGRC.


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