Leadership Team

Cawthron’s science groups are led by a team of senior managers, who work collaboratively across our science themes.

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Core Leadership Team 

Cawthron’s science groups are led by a team of senior managers, who work collaboratively across our science themes.

Our world-class science helps to build a better future for Aotearoa New Zealand by delivering science that supports healthy ecosystems, a prosperous blue economy and thriving people and communities.

Core Management Team

Serean Adams

Volker Kuntzsch

Chief Executive Officer

Volker has a distinguished international career in the seafood industry spanning more than 30 years. Before joining Cawthron in 2021, he was formerly the President of Nippon Suisan (USA), President and CEO of King & Prince Seafood Corp (USA), and CEO of Sanford Ltd (NZ). He has also held senior executive roles in Tokyo, Namibia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and holds a Master of Science from the University of Stellenbosch.

Stuart Cooper

Stuart Cooper

Chief Commercial Officer

As Chief Commercial Officer, Stuart is responsible for identifying and developing commercial opportunities for Cawthron. He also oversees and manages Cawthron’s support teams including Finance, Administration, Technology and Innovation, Communications, and the Cawthron Aquaculture Park.

Chris Cornelisen

Chris Cornelisen

Chief Science Capability Officer

Chris leads Cawthron Institute’s cross-cutting areas of science capability, including Cawthron’s commercial and research laboratories, technologies for enabling the blue economy, and data science. 

Cath McLeod

Cath McLeod

Chief Science Officer

Cath leads Cawthron’s research and consultancy groups, and provides strategic oversight and direction to the organisation on science needs to ensure impact and progress towards achieving Cawthron’s three main aspirations: healthy ecosystems, a prosperous blue economy and thriving people and communities.

Anaru Luke

Anaru Luke

Tumuaki Te Kāhui Āio

Anaru joined Cawthron in 2019 to lead Cawthron’s Māori Business Strategy, which aims to enhance Cawthron’s Māori capability profile internally and externally. Anaru provides organisational leadership and strategic guidance for mātauranga and Kaupapa Māori for Cawthron staff.

Science Leaders

 

Seumas Walker

Seumas Walker

Aquaculture (Acting Manager)

Seumas is a Senior Aquaculture Scientist currently involved in chinook salmon R&D working closely with industry. His role includes managing the Cawthron Finfish Research Centre facilities as well as the finfish research and technical team. Seumas has a background in applied aquaculture selective breeding, genomics and fish production biology.

Johan Svenson

Johan Svenson

Science Impact

Johan joined Cawthron in 2019 to lead Cawthron’s development of a New Zealand algae sector by exploring collaborative R&D programmes to generate algal based products, novel bioactives for commercial applications, as well as analytical standards. 

Roger Young, Coastal and Freshwater Group Manager - Freshwater

Roger Young

Freshwater Ecosystems

Roger manages freshwater sciences at Cawthron. Roger’s work involves a mix of government-funded research on river ecosystems, and commercial projects assisting a range of clients with freshwater management issues. 

Grant Hopkins

Grant Hopkins

Healthy Oceans

Grant leads the Healthy Oceans Group at Cawthron Institute. His research interests are focused on vessel-hull fouling, in particular the biosecurity risks posed by slow-moving vessels and oil rigs. Grant has extensive experience in monitoring the effects of marine farming activities on seabed and water column environments.

Tim Harwood

Tim Harwood

Food and Bioactives

Tim is a toxin chemist with research interests in natural toxin accumulation in food gathered from the land and the sea. He co-leads the MBIE funded Seafood Safety research platform and is the Deputy Director of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre.

Patrick Cahill

Patrick Cahill

Biosecurity

Patrick manages the Biosecurity group within Cawthron. He has core skills in development of antifouling technologies and managing invasive biofouling organisms, drawing on an extensive network of collaborators in universities and industry to deliver practical outcomes for marine biosecurity.

Kirsty Smith

Kirsty Smith

Molecular Algal Ecology

Kirsty is a molecular ecologist and has worked in various roles at Cawthron since 2005, including as a technician for freshwater microalgae and researching seafood safety and biosecurity. Today, Kirsty leads the molecular component of the MBIE funded Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme.

Jim Sinner, Senior Scientist – Policy and Planning

Jim Sinner

Social Science

Jim leads the Social Science team at Cawthron. Jim’s main areas of work are freshwater and coastal management and marine biosecurity, and he has also worked on climate change, trade policy and fisheries management. Jim is particularly interested in how people engage with environmental policy development and implementation.