Directors

Whetu Consultancy Group is an Aotearoa New Zealand consultancy.  To oversee and provide direction are the two Directors, James and Amy Whetu.  Together, James and Amy are a formidable partnership, with over 27 years collective experience in:

  • Environmental planning and advice
  • Governance solutions, specialising in indigenous governance
  • Policy advice, drafting and implementation
  • Co-management/Partnership frameworks and implementation
  • Strategic planning and advice
  • Research and Innovation

James Whetu – Director (Planning and Policy) - Waikato, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa

With extensive experience in resource management planning and town/community/rural development, James is skilled in engagement of communities and stakeholders in both a consultancy and local government work environment. He also has significant experience in implementation within collaborative and co-management processes in sustainable management.

James' ability to critically analyse any situation and work towards finding innovative solutions that meet the interests of all parties, is one of his most valued skills. This currently sees him working to find ways to implement indigenous values, traditions and knowledge within other Western ideologies, world-views and frameworks.

With over 13 years experience in environmental planning and policy, James is an Associate Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute, has a Post Graduate Diploma in Planning from Massey University and a Bachelors degree majoring in Resource and Environmental Planning from Waikato University, James also has the following certifications/qualifications:

  • RMA Independent Commissioner Accreditation    
  • Project Management Accreditation   
  • International Association Public Participation    (IAP2) Planning Certificate
  • Collaboration (Twyfords)                                 
  • Certificate in Ecological Building and Design  
  • Strategic Thinking and Facilitation

James is also a member of both the New Zealand and the International Associations of Impact Assessment.

A few of James' current appointments include:

  • Vision Mātauranga Lead and Iwi Engagement Advisor within the MBIE Sustainable Seas Programme
  • Chair Waikato Housing Hub Trust
  • Chair Ngāruāwahia Community Board
  • Papa Pounamu Member, NZPI Special Interest Group
  • Member of Institute of Directors NZ


Amy Whetu - Director (Policy and Research)

With an array of skills including in policy and implementation, environmental and indigenous governance and also strategic planning and review. Amy has experience working in iwi organisations and private practice alike, enhancing her ability to effectively engage with both iwi groups, stakeholders and individuals alike.

One of Amy's current appointments sees her working with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation in relation to agricultural policy and legislative review in Tonga. Amy has completed her Master of Laws, with a focus on Environmental Law and Indigenous Governance, as well as holding a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from the University of Waikato. Amy has a passion for the law and in particular, the co-existence of law and Māori lore within the New Zealand jurisdiction.

Amy is a PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland and also a recipient of a University of Auckland PhD Scholarship 2016-2019. Her PhD topic is Considering a National Policy Statement for the New Zealand Dairy Industry: Alignment between New Zealand’s legislative requirements for primary industries and the United Nation’s priorities under Economic Growth and Sustainable Development.  Amy is a member of the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand and is currently a candidate for the 2016 - 2018 Cohort of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme. Her background also includes experience in family law practice and business development.  Amy also holds the following certifications/accreditations:

  • Kaupapa Rangahau Workshop Series on Māori Research Theory 2014, through Te Kotahi Research Institute
  • Takituu: Governance, Sustainability and Indigenous Development Programme, Waikato-Tainui   College for Research and Development
  • Consultation Requirements, NZ Law Society
  • Introduction to Family Law Practice, NZ Law Society
  • Family Law Advocacy Skills Accelerator, NZ Law Society
  • Preparing & Presenting Evidence in Family Court, NZ Law Society
  • Family Law Basics Seminars, NZ Law Society
  • Obtaining Pre-Trial Information, NZ Law Society
  • Evidence and How it Works, NZ Law Society

Becky Sharman - BSocPol/SW

Becky works as our researcher and project advisor.  She has over 20 years experience working in the business and social service arenas. Her background is wide ranging including a background in social policy, social and community work, coaching, facilitating and training groups, managing people, business start ups, business scale ups and not for profit work.

Becky is a skilled researcher who utilises her many skills to transform her findings into relevant innovative pieces of work that can be used to grow the people, businesses or groups she is working with and to help them achieve their vision with innovation,

Becky is currently studying Te Reo Māori and also Chairs Heart Kids Waikato Charitable Trust. She also holds a Bachelor of Social Policy and Social Work with Honours, from Massey University.

Kiri Crossland - Research and Project Support

Kiri is a young woman with a real heart for making a difference. Kiri is currently in her second year of a Bachelor in Environmental Planning at Waikato University with an interest in Māori planning and Te Reo Māori.  Kiri is achieving exceptional results in her studies and has earned the distinctive membership of the International Golden Key Society as a result.  She is also a student member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

Including her awards for her contributions to academics, she also contributes to her community and has recently completed a Community Development Internship for Global Vision International (India).  She brings a wonderful combination of skillsets as well as a fresh perspective and critical thinking to all the work she does for us.

Kiri’s role has been created to provide an opportunity for an intern/student wishing to pursue a career in planning/policy in the environmental space.  Kiri will be supported and mentored in her role and in her future career aspirations by the Directors of Whetu Group. 

To provide guidance and thought leadership, Whetu Consultancy Group has an Advisory Council of skilled and experienced individuals to help ensure that our service is relevant, affordable, and achievable, and supports Te Ao Māori.

We are grateful for the advisory support of:
  • Te Ao Māori - Kaumatua Tuahu Watene
  • Farming Management and Enterprise - Tim and Wendy Watson

Memberships & accreditations