Councillors

Our councillors were elected in October 2013 and serve a term of three years. They represent the region's four constituencies - Dunedin, Moeraki, Dunstan, and Molyneux.

Stephen Woodhead - Chairman

Stephen Woodhead is Chairman of the Otago Regional Council. He is a sheep and beef farmer from Lovells Flat in South Otago. He is past Chairman of the Otago Regional Animal Health Committee and the Clutha Agricultural Development Board.

He was a Kelloggs Rural Scholar in 2001.

Phone: (03) 417 4733
Email: stephen.woodhead@orc.govt.nz 

Stephen Woodhead

Gretchen Robertson - Deputy Chairperson

Gretchen is a Dunedin resident currently living in Andersons Bay. She graduated from the University of Otago with an honours degree in Ecology specialising in aquatic ecosystems. Since working as a water quality scientist with Wellington and Otago Regional Councils, Gretchen has been employed with the NZ Landcare Trust. She manages integrated, community-led approaches to waterway management. Gretchen is passionate about Otago's environment and enjoys tramping, sea fishing, native plants, and painting.

Phone: 021 677 448
Email: gretchen.robertson@orc.govt.nz  

Gretchen Robertson


Dunedin Constituency

Louise Croot

I’m a geographer and long time Dunedin resident with extensive experience as an elected community representative in higher education, public health, and local government. Good governance and commitment to Otago communities is my passion. Our unique rural-urban interdependence is a part of the council’s upcoming work on the Regional Policy Statement. Together with local councils we need to continue adapting to climate change. The environmental, economic and social impacts bring opportunities, as well as problems. That needs resilience in our policies and plans. As an accredited resource consents commissioner I look forward to using my expertise in and knowledge of fair processes for hearing plans, consents and objections.

Phone: (03) 464 0778
Email: louise.croot@orc.govt.nz  

Louise Croot

Michael Deaker

I look forward to serving you over this term of office. I will keep striving for excellent governance of an efficient regional council; prudent use of the council’s resources; prosperity for Otago based on sustainable activities; efficient use of our water; clean air, sustainable land use, and healthy waterways. I will continue to seek: a successful public transport system; Dunedin, including New Zealand’s best university, having the best possible amenities and flood protection; and our city being even more successful as a modern-industrial, knowledge-and-arts centre. I have lived for all but a few years in southern New Zealand and most of our children and grandchildren also call Otago home.

Phone: (03) 473 9922
Email: michael.deaker@orc.govt.nz  

Michael Deaker

Trevor Kempton

I am a civil engineer and have spent 40 years helping to build Otago’s infrastructure. Carol and I raised our children here and our natural environment has been an important part of family life. ORC has tackled tough environmental issues in the past three years and has developed innovative long term solutions. Having completed one term as an Otago regional councillor, I look forward to continuing this work. I am keen to do some meaningful work on climate change challenges, improvements to public transport and cycle ways, and increase ORC’s commitment to environmental education.

Phone: 027 221 5208
Email: trevor.kempton@orc.govt.nz  

Sam Neill

I have been on the council now for two terms (six years). I am married to Christine and we have six grown up children and 10 grandchildren. My working life has been in farming, transport and tourism. I have had a good deal of community involvement, spending six years on the Portobello School Committee and six years as the Dunedin South representative on the Otago Education Board. I was instrumental in the setting up of the Otago Peninsula Community Board and was its deputy chairman for five years. I want to ensure that the region’s resources are used wisely, balancing this with the protection of our environment.

Phone: (03) 478 0878 
Email: sam.neill@orc.govt.nz

Sam Neill

Gretchen Robertson

I am an Otago University graduate (BSc Hons) with experience as a water quality scientist and project manager. Throughout my career, I have worked extensively with rural communities on local waterway issues and chaired the council’s Natural Resources Committee and many consent hearings. Our council has an important role in protecting our ability to live healthy, happy lives in our beautiful and varied Otago landscape. I have a strong belief in community-driven solutions to the challenging issues we face. As a multi-generational Dunedinite and mother of 8th generation boys, I am very proud of our city and region and look forward to continuing my work as council’s Deputy Chairperson.

Phone: 021 677 448
Email: gretchen.robertson@orc.govt.nz  

Gretchen Robertson

Bryan Scott

I have served nine years as an Otago regional councillor, including six as an accredited chairman for Resource Management Act consent hearings and three as chairman of the council’s regulatory committee. I was born and raised in South Otago. I am a graduate of Otago and Canterbury universities, and a project manager and engineer. My number one goal is to retain good water quality throughout Otago. This means successful implementation of the new water quality rules proposed for the Otago Water Plan, which outlines clear landholder responsibilities to achieve specific water quality standards. I am passionate about maintaining and enhancing Otago’s environment and resources.

Phone: 027 204 8872
Email: bryan.scott@orc.govt.nz

Bryan Scott


Moeraki Constituency

Doug Brown

I farm Punchbowl at Maheno in partnership with my wife Jeannie, who also works as a Physiotherapist. In North Otago I have been involved in Young Farmers, Federated Farmers, Union Cricket and Maheno Rugby Clubs. I am a director of the Alliance Group, which owns Alliance Pukeuri-Oamaru’s largest employer. Council must focus on its core role of working for the sustainable development and enhancement of Otago's water, air, and land resources. The successful implementation of council's new water quality standards (Plan Change 6A) is our top priority for the next three years. Council expenditure must be targeted to minimise future rate increases.

Phone: (03) 439 5693 
Email: doug.brown@orc.govt.nz

Doug Brown


Dunstan Constituency

Gary Kelliher

I am a third-generation sheep and deer farmer from Springvale near Alexandra. Prior to returning to farming 11 years ago I worked as a civil engineer for a New Zealand consultancy firm and spent five years in Ireland where I operated a project management business.

My current community roles include chairmanship of a Central Otago irrigation scheme and vice-chairmanship of the Manuherikia Catchment water strategy group.

Phone: (03) 448 7869
Email: gary.kelliher@orc.govt.nz

Graeme Bell

Otago must find ways to work together, build on our land-based strengths, and renew confidence in our regional economy through development strategies that are sustainable, efficient and equitable. I have local government experience; rural, community and commercial knowledge; and a working life in the farming and wool industries. My regional perspective comes from my time as a Central Otago district councillor, a commissioner on CODC’s hearings panel, a member of the Otago Regional Land Transport Committee (and chairman of CODC’s roading committee) and from my three terms as a trustee and deputy chairman of the Central Lakes Trust. I now look forward to contributing to the work of the Otago Regional Council.

Phone: (03) 448 7740
Email: graeme.bell@orc.govt.nz

Gerrard (Gerry) Eckhoff

I was formerly a farmer from Roxburgh, and now reside near Alexandra. I was a Kellogg scholar and have also served two terms as a Member of Parliament. I am a strong advocate for rural and provincial NZ and I unashamedly promote the wise use of our abundant natural resources. I believe the single biggest threat to Central Otago’s natural environment is the rampant spread of wilding pines. I have advocated for ORC to take a greater involvement in control work. The storage of water in this area is also crucial to ensuring a bright future for our children and grandchildren in Central Otago. I am married to Marg and we have four adult children.

Phone: (03) 448 8733
Email: gerrard.eckhoff@orc.govt.nz

Gerrard Eckhoff


Molyneux Constituency

Stephen Woodhead - Chairman

I grew up on the Taieri, and now farm sheep and beef at Milton. ORC must continue to plan and manage Otago’s resources so future generations are able to enjoy our environment and have opportunities to grow and develop their businesses. I support the ORC’s effects-based approach to the management of Otago’s water resources. Encouraging communities to self-manage with the least red tape is the most cost-effective way of doing this. I have been involved in many community organisations including the Clutha Ag Board, and the Otago Tb Free Committee, and am currently a member of Milton Rotary Club and Tokomairiro A and P Society.

Phone: (03) 417 4733
Email: stephen.woodhead@orc.govt.nz 

Stephen Woodhead

David Shepherd

I live on the Taieri and have served two terms as an Otago Regional Councillor. I was Deputy Chair during the last term (2010-2013).  My working life as rural banker and farmer has proved valuable when acting as a Commissioner on a number of Water Plan changes over recent years. I wish to use that experience to complete the upcoming plan changes reflecting community driven initiatives and the effects based principles of the RMA.

I believe the Council must continue to foster economic development and environmentally sustainable resource use through education programmes, fiscal prudence, efficient and transparent administration.

Phone: (03) 489 6086
Email: david.shepherd@orc.govt.nz  

David Shepherd
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Otago Regional Council

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Private Bag 1954
Dunedin 9054

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