Our Trustees


Luke van Velthooven


Luke has had more than 26 years’ experience in the property sector, managing large and complex property portfolios.

He has also project managed a wide variety of public and private developments throughout New Zealand since 1994.


Luke has a steadfast resolve to ensure that through collaboration and sound judgement projects that he is involved with are delivered on time and within budget. He is extremely excited about the benefits The Whale Trail is going to have for the people of Marlborough and Kaikōura, and in turn the people of New Zealand.


His involvement with SOEs and local and central government has given him a broad knowledge of public sector political processes, while his project management roles have provided Luke with vast experience in the coordination of stakeholders, design requirements, funding and operations.


Luke has a long history of being involved in sport at all levels and is a keen recreational cyclist. He is a firm believer of enabling New Zealanders to be active, and able to enjoy our beautiful outdoors. He is Marlborough born and bred and has strong links to iwi and the people of Marlborough through the many projects he has been involved with.

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Dr John Forrest


Dr John Forrest was born and bred in Marlborough and attended Queen Charlotte College in Picton. He graduated from Otago University in 1982, with a PhD in Neurophysiology.

After spending time working in San Diego, Adelaide and ultimately Palmerston North, he decided to become a wine grower and returned to Marlborough in 1988 to establish Forrest Wines.


He has since gone on to establish vineyards and produce premium wine from 7 sites throughout Marlborough; and in addition Central Otago - Bannockburn; North Otago - Waitaki Valley and the Gimblett Gravels of Hawke’s Bay.


John has been extremely active within the wider winegrowing community serving 10 years on the NZ Winegrowers Research Board, a founding and current director of Botryzen Biotech Company producing the world’s first natural anti-botryticide.

John is perhaps best known as a founding and current executive member of the New Zealand Screwcap Initiative. His latest initiative is as part of “Appellation Marlborough Wine” with fellow wine growers to ensure the quality of Marlborough wines to the world.

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Margaret Cooney


Margaret has held senior management roles in utility and technology businesses internationally and currently works as a consultant.

Margaret has been involved in the efforts to develop the trail since the Kaikōura Earthquake.

She is passionate about seeing the development of the trail because of the potential it has to revitalise many of the quake impacted communities on route and showcase the Marlborough region. She also looks forward to personally enjoying the trail with her husband and daughter.

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Sank Macfarlane


From a farming family, The Macfarlanes entered the tourism industry when they built the The Store at Kekerengu over 20 years ago and the property has remained in the family ever since. 


Sank joined the planning group for the Trail after the Kaikōura earthquake and having just returned from a memorable cycling weekend in Otago. He could immediately see the opportunities the project would bring and is passionate about seeing the smaller east coast communities thrive.

A young family keeps Sank very busy and active and he is excited to take them on this adventure to see and learn more about the Northern east coast of the South Island.

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Louise Edwards


Louise is an experienced Director and Chartered Accountant, with more than 20 years' senior management experience across a number of industries in NZ and overseas.

In particular, Louise has held senior executive positions within the NZ financial services industry and is an experienced leader with a wealth of financial management acumen.  She has a strong interest in governance, being actively involved in the Canterbury branch of Institute of Directors.


In conjunction with her busy work life, Louise has always maintained strong community sector links which include the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, University of Canterbury Foundation, Good Shepherd NZ, Alzheimers Society and Victim Support.


As a keen cyclist, Louise is excited about the huge potential the Trail offers for locals and tourists to experience one of the most beautiful parts of Aotearoa, New Zealand.  She also believes the economic impact will be game changing for a region which was so adversely impacted by the November 2016 earthquake.

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Nigel Muir


Nigel Muir is a proud New Zealander and CEO of Sport Tasman.


Nigel is a trustee for the Wairoa Charitable Trust and was a foundation trustee for Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trails Trust and a former Deputy Chair of Recreation Aotearoa.


Nigel has an MBA from the University of New South Wales, a Diploma in Business Studies from Massey University and attended Harvard University.  He has won several awards in corporate Australia where he worked for Mars Inc and Goodman Fielder Ltd.


In sport, Nigel represented New Zealand at the World Triathlon Championships in 2013.  He has been a Wellington junior representative swimmer and footballer and Marlborough colt rugby player.  Nigel remains actively engaged in a variety of sports and community programmes.


Nigel believes The Whale Trail will create new job and tourism opportunities for our regions.


Importantly, it will also play a key role in helping to get the Marlborough and Kaikoura communities more active and healthy.

Lynette Buurman

Lynette Buurman


Lynette Buurman is a co-owner of Encounter Kaikoura, an eco-tourism business in Kaikoura operating two tours, Dolphin Encounter and Albatross Encounter, along with a café and a retail space. The business commenced 30 years ago and has evolved and expanded over time to be regarded as a key contributor to the Kaikoura tourism offering.


Lynette brings experience to the Trust in the form of hands on business management as well as in depth knowledge of Kaikoura and the local community.


As chairperson of Destination Kaikoura, the organisation which manages the Kaikoura i-SITE and the destination marketing of the region, Lynette is excited about the networking potential that the Whale Trail will bring.


The economic benefits and opportunities that will materialise for the entire Marlborough/Kaikoura region are positive and will assist in tackling the challenge of seasonality while growing the domestic market, as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19.