Management team

Meet our management team, including our Chief Executive.

Dr Allan Freeth, EPA Chief ExecutiveDr Allan Freeth - Chief Executive

Allan Freeth took up the role of Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Authority in September 2015.

He has extensive experience of both governance and management, and is well-known across New Zealand’s business, cultural, and public sectors.

Dr Freeth’s previous managerial roles include seven years as Chief Executive of TelstraClear Limited (2005–2012), and five years as Chief Executive/Managing Director of Wrightson Limited (to 2004). Prior to that, he held senior management roles in Wrightson Rural and at Trust Bank New Zealand Limited.

He was Chair of Triplejump until October 2018, and Housing New Zealand Corporation until July 2015, and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Film Solutions until April 2017. He is also active in the not-for-profit sector with previous roles as Chair of Queen Margaret College, and Save the Children New Zealand, Deputy Chairman of Film NZ, and a Director of the Malaghan Institute.

At present he is Acting Chairman of Crimestoppers, a Trustee on the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum Trust, and a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at Massey University.  He also acts as an advisor for a number of charities associated with child and youth organisations.

Dr Freeth holds a BSc (1st class Honours) degree in Zoology, a Doctorate in Philosophy in Population Genetics, and an MBA with Distinction.

Professor Mike Bunce, EPA Chief Scientist

Mike Bunce - Chief Scientist

Professor Mike Bunce joined the EPA as Chief Scientist in August 2019. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lincoln University (NZ), and his PhD at the Australian National University. He undertook post-doctoral training at Oxford (UK) and McMaster (Canada) Universities before moving to Perth, Western Australia in 2006 to start his own laboratory. 

In 2014 he founded Curtin University’s Trace and Environmental DNA (TrEnD) laboratory. Through his research career Mike has developed and applied DNA techniques to characterise biological communities within a wide variety of biological samples from sediment and scat, to seawater and streams.

His research focus has spanned many areas of environmental science including; biodiversity assessment, impact assessment, archaeology, extinctions, food webs, biosecurity, marine conservation, and endangered species detection. 

Mike has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications including nine publications in the journals Science and Nature.

Read details of Professor Bunce's publications - Google Scholar website

Aroha Beck, General Manager and General Counsel Strategic and Regulatory Services, LegalAroha Beck - General Counsel, Legal

Aroha (Tapuika descent) joined the EPA in December 2016. Before joining, she worked as a lawyer in the Wellington region for 20 years, including five years at the Crown Law Office, six years at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and a four year term on the New Zealand Press Council. She has also worked as a criminal prosecutor and as an independent barrister.

Aroha has previously led legal teams at the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Real Estate Agents Authority.

She holds a law degree from the University of Waikato.

Siobhan Quayle, General Manager, Regulatory Systems and OperationsSiobhan Quayle - General Manager, Regulatory Systems and Operations

Siobhan has significant experience across the environmental, legal and regulatory landscape which means she brings a sound cross-organisational perspective to the role of General Manager, Regulatory Systems and Operations.

She has been a part of the EPA since it was established in July 2011. Before that she was a senior solicitor with the Ministry for the Environment and also has worked as part of a specialist environmental law team at Chapman Tripp.

Siobhan has studied at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science from Victoria University and also holds a post graduate Diploma in Education. She has also held leadership positions in secondary school education and is currently the Deputy Chair for the Board of Land Search and Rescue NZ. 

Philip Lim, General Manager, Finance and Systems

Philip Lim - General Manager, Finance and Systems

Philip joined the EPA in April 2017. He has significant experience in financial control, technical accounting and change management.

Before joining the EPA, Philip was a Senior Manager with KPMG for eleven years, providing technical accounting advisory services to clients in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and also across a range of industry sectors. During this time, he acted in the role of Chief Financial Officer in NZX Limited and AMP Capital Investors NZ Limited for extended periods.

He has developed and presented many technical accounting courses on financial reporting frameworks, and the practical application of New Zealand International Financial Reporting Standards (NZ IFRS) and Public Benefit Entity (PBE) Standards. Prior to joining KPMG, Philip held a number of senior finance roles within large and listed agricultural and financial services corporates including PGG Wrightson Limited, Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited and Prudential Assurance Company NZ Limited.

Philip is a registered Chartered Accountant and Mentor with the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ). He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree from Victoria University of Wellington.

Gayle Holmes - General Manager, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement

Gayle Holmes - General Manager, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement

Gayle joined the EPA in January 2017 when she took up the role of Hazardous Substances Applications Manager. Gayle has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Applied Biosciences and Chemistry from Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University.

She started her career at an independent laboratory testing North Sea oil rig samples. She then worked as Study Director at Inveresk Research (now Charles River Laboratories) in the Analytical Chemistry group of the Metabolism Chemistry Department, working on ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) safety trials.

Gayle moved to New Zealand in 2006 and has held a number of roles including managing the Good Laboratory Practice; food and environmental forensics; and with environmental and trace contaminants teams for a food safety laboratory. She has also held logistics and operational management roles in translational science and commercialisation.

Michelle Ward, General Manager, Climate, Land and Oceans

Michelle Ward - General Manager, Climate, Land and Oceans

Michelle joined the EPA in 2011 when we took over the administration of the Emissions Trading Scheme. She brought with her a wealth of climate change experience, having worked for the Ministry for the Environment’s climate change team since 2006.

Since joining our Emissions Trading Scheme team Michelle has held a number of roles, including heading up the team as the Emissions Trading Scheme Operations Manager.

Previously, Michelle held roles with the Accident Compensation Corporation, including organisational development and Human Resources. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University.

Erica Gregory, Manahautū Kaupapa Kura Taiao – Acting General ManagerErica Gregory – Acting Manahautū, Kaupapa Kura Taiao

Erica’s tribal affiliations are to Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto.

She joined the EPA in November 2016 as a Principal Advisor and is currently seconded to the role of Acting Manahautū. In her substantive role Erica has led the development and implementation of the EPA’s mātauranga programme.

Erica has an extensive background in public sector policy development and implementation through working for the Ministry for Economic Development and Ministry for Primary Industries. Her focus in the past 16 years has been around facilitating Māori engagement on a range of economic development and environmental management issues.

Headshot of Kellie Houlton, General Manager, People and CapabilityKellie Houlton - General Manager, People and Capability

Kellie joined the EPA in 2020, and leads our drive to develop and support our expert workforce. She brings a broad range of human resources experience and expertise from both the public and private sector.

She was previously the Head of Organisational Development at ACC, and before that was the Manager of People and Capability Delivery at the New Zealand Transport Agency. She is passionate about employee experience, diversity and the critical role people play in the delivery of strategic business and customer outcomes.

Her private sector experience focuses on the financial sector where she has led large-scale change programmes and organisational development initiatives at both BNZ and ANZ.

She has a strong academic grounding, including a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University, with Honours in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.

Headshot profile of Chris Hill, General Manager, Hazardous Substances and New OrganismsDr Chris Hill - General Manager, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms

Chris joined the EPA in December 2020. Chris has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biology from Durham University (UK) and completed a PhD at Griffith University, Australia.

Chris has extensive experience in environmental regulation having undertaken various roles within the Environment Department of the Queensland Government, Australia for the past 20 years. His most recent roles were responsible for waste management compliance and environmental approvals for industry, local governments and coastal development.

Prior to joining the Queensland Government, Chris was a member of the Zoology Department at James Cook University, Queensland where he conducted research on spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity.

Headshot of Paula Knaap, Acting General Manager, Engagement

Paula Knaap - Acting General Manager, Engagement

Paula joined us from WorkSafe NZ where she was Director of Strategic Engagement and Implementation, responsible for leading organisational engagement with New Zealand industry/Chief Executive bodies on improving NZ Health and Safety System performance. This involved partnering across the system with other government regulators and social agencies and delivering WorkSafe’s integrated harm prevention programmes.

She has developed and embedded successful business strategies in a range of fast-paced, complex and challenging environments, having lead large regulatory and social policy functions at Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Education. 

She also has extensive international experience, negotiating intergovernmental agreements and representing New Zealand overseas. She has Law degree, a Masters in Business (with distinction) from Henley Business School in the UK, is a member of the Public Services Career Board, and is a Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Alumni.

Paula is passionate about people-centred and inclusive ways of thinking and delivering services. Being an advocate of social equity and animal welfare, she strives to bring an empathetic and values-centred approach to all areas of her life.