NERI is governed by a Board of Trustees who have been selected for their experience and passion for research, debate and collaboration across the entire energy sector.

Our current Trustees are:

  • Professor Gerry Carrington (Convenor)
  • Dr Janet Stephenson
  • Dr Sea Rotmann
  • Dr Morgan Williams
  • Mike Bennetts


Professor Gerry Carrington

Gerry is committed to bridging the gap between science and its applications. He has had an active role in setting up three companies for implementing energy efficiencies in large industries, industrial heat-recovery and drying systems.

Since the 1980s, Gerry has endeavoured to provide objective analyses of the energy issues facing New Zealand for the public and for government. He was a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand president’s panel on energy in 2005-06, contributing to the panel’s report, 2020: Energy Opportunities and is the author of a textbook, Basic Thermodynamics, published by Oxford University Press in 1993.

Gerry is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Otago, where he led the introduction of energy management programmes and was the founding director of the interdisciplinary Applied Science programme. He is also a trustee of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust.


Dr Janet Stephenson

Janet is a social scientist with a particular interest in societal responses to environmental challenges. She is the co-leader of the 3-year Energy Cultures research programme, an interdisciplinary project investigating household energy behaviour. She recently completed a study for EECA, titled "Social Acceptance of Renewable Electricity Developments in New Zealand."

Janet has researched and written about people's perceptions of landscapes, and is co-editor of the recent book, Beyond the Scene – Landscape and Identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is also involved in research on the management of resources in which Maori have a particular interest. 

Janet is a founding trustee of NERI, a member of the Otago Energy Research Centre and Director of the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Otago.

Sea Rotmann

Dr Sea Rotmann

Sea is a Principal Scientist and Research Team Manager at EECA. She is the New Zealand representative on the International Energy Agency's Experts’ Group on R&D Priority Setting and Evaluation, and will lead a panel discussing 'Dynamics of Consumption' at the 2011 European Council for Energy Efficient Economy's (eceee) Summer Study.

Her specific interests are in behaviour change research, particularly turning theory into practice and 'translating' research results for policy makers and implementers.

Sea has collaborated with the Otago Energy Research Centre and the ECN (Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands), under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme, Changing Behaviour. She also led a series of workshops titled 'Motivating Change' with NERI, the Hikurangi Foundation and the Midas Institute in 2010.  

She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Sustainability Trust, Wellington, co-chairs the Wellington City Council's Environmental Reference Group and is running as a Green Party candidate for the Wairarapa Electorate.

Mike Bennetts

Mike Bennetts

Mike is presently the Chief Executive of Z Energy Ltd, the company that purchased Shell’s downstream oil business in New Zealand on 1 April 2010.

Mike has accumulated 25 years of experience in the global energy industry with his expertise in supply, trading and marketing businesses covering both consumer and business to business segments. In 1983 he joined BP in New Zealand with his early roles being based in sales, marketing, information technology and finance. Since 1992 he has served in various leadership roles in South Africa, China, Singapore and the United Kingdom. His last role with BP was as CEO for BP’s Integrated Supply and Trading business in the Eastern Hemisphere, a geography including Australasia, Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Mike has served as a Director of various private and public companies as well as joint ventures in Singapore, China and South Africa. He is presently a Director of the New Zealand Refining Company Limited and Loyalty New Zealand Limited, the company that operates Fly Buys.

Mike holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Management. He graduated as a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Management from Massey University where he was recognised as a Massey Scholar because of his academic record.

Mike is married with two daughters and returned to New Zealand at the end of 2008 in order that his daughters receive a Kiwi experience for their high school education.

Watch Mike Bennetts' talk on Z Energy and sustainabilty from The Energy Conference 2013.


Paul Atkins, Chief Executive

During his career spanning more than 30 years in international relations, science and technology, Paul has been instrumental in establishing partnerships across all aspects of the research, science and trade sectors.

He comes to NERI from Izon Science Ltd, a nanotechnology instrumentation company where he was Director of Business Development. Paul also worked with the British Council in a number of senior management roles. During his time with the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology in 2004, Paul established their first international group, promoted joint-funding relationships with Korea and Japan, as well as collaborations in the USA and Europe.

Paul holds an MSc from Reading University in the UK, and is also a member of the Institute of Physics (UK), the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (UK).


Dr Lauren Christie, Conference Manager

Lauren brings her background in building science and psychology to the team at NERI. Her particular expertise is in end-users’ relationships with energy and housing-sustainability technologies and practices. She is experienced in a wide range of psychological, social and behavioural economic concepts, and is passionate about applying these to help private and public sectors engage more effectively with end-users.

Lauren has worked extensively with qualitative and quantitative research and data analysis.  She is also a carboNZero™ trained consultant, which means she can help businesses improve their bottom-line by making more sustainable choices. Lauren has worked with both government and non-governmental organisations, and has a personal interest in business and entrepreneurship.