Directors

Whetū 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 30 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 16 years experience in environmental planning and policy, he has both a Masters and 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 a member of both the New Zealand and the International Associations of Impact Assessment.  He is also an associate member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

A few of James' recent appointments include:

  • Vision Mātauranga Lead and Iwi Engagement Advisor within the MBIE Sustainable Seas Programme
  • Māngai Māori representative to the regulatory and hearings committee for Hamilton City Council
  • 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 both iwi organisations and private practice, enhancing her ability to effectively engage with both iwi groups, stakeholders and individuals alike.

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. Her special areas of interest include climate change, mitigation, adaptation and resilience, particularly in agriculture.

Her background also includes experience in family law practice and business development.  Amy holds the following certifications/accreditations:

  • Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-AG) Program’ with the United
    Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 
  • 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

Amy is also an independent director for Anexa FVC (Animal Health Centre Waikato Inc.).

Jess Samuels - Environmental Planner

Jess has 7 years experience as a resource management planner with a particular focus on resource consenting, land development, Iwi environmental management and more recently, project management. Jess has a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning from Lincoln University, and is an associate member of the New Zealand Planning Institute, Papa Pounamu, and is currently working towards becoming a certified associate in project management. 

Jess has previously worked for private consultancies and Iwi post-settlement governance entities and brings a fantastic set of knowledge, skills and experience to our team.  We are delighted to be working more closely with Jess and know that our clients will appreciate her approach as she works together with them.

Corriana Hooker - Research and Project Support

With whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Hineuru, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Tū and Ngai Tuhoe, Corriana is equipped with a strong knowledge of Te Ao Māori.  Corriana is currently working towards completion of her fourth year of the Environmental Planning Degree at the University of Waikato.  Corriana has a special interest in Māori planning with a focus on implementing Te Ao Māori into the western frameworks and policies of Planning, so this can then be used to empower Māori communities, mana whenua, iwi/hapū and whānau to be inclusive and involved in the planning and research process.

Corriana is very involved in the University community as a Student Ambassador and is a member of Te Tini o Hakuturi the Māori planning and Geography association, and also a Tuakana of the Tuakana/teina planning and geography programme.  Corriana's efforts in her studies and as a community member have contributed to her being the recipient of numerous University Scholarships.  She is also a student member of Papa Pounamu and the New Zealand Planning Institute.

Corriana brings a wonderful combination of skills as well as fresh perspective and specialist knowledge to the Whetū Group team and we are delighted to have her working alongside us. Corriana will be supported and mentored in her role and in her future career aspirations by the Directors of Whetū Group.

Becky Sharman - Researcher & Project Advisor

Becky 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 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 to help them achieve their vision with innovation.

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

To provide guidance and thought leadership, Whetū 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, Enterprise and Business Development - Tim and Wendy Watson

Memberships & accreditations