The NZ Truffle Association Executive is made up of a wide range of people with different experiences and background. As volunteers we juggle executive work, day jobs & family life while promoting truffles in New Zealand.

Chair (TBC)

To be elected by the Executive

Secretary – Ann Roberts

Waikato | Truffle Grower

Ann grew up on a dairy farm in the North King Country, studied languages at Waikato University and became a teacher.  She taught and held school management roles and completed a Masters of Education and a post-graduate diploma in school management. Before retirement Ann took up a position as a review officer with the Education Review Office(ERO) where she also completed a post-graduate diploma in evaluation and undertook various leadership responsibilities.

With her late husband Ann purchased land from her family in Kio Kio (about 8 kilometers north-east of Otorohanga). They had developed an interest in growing truffles and so planted 500 oak and hazelnut trees in late 2012.

With the assistance of capable helpers and continued application of fertilizer (mainly lime), Ann’s truffiere is progressing well. Ann is also interested in the ongoing training of her young dog as a truffle hunter as soon as production begins. Ann is grateful for input from NZTA’s conferences, newsletters, networks and website, and volunteered to contribute to the association as Secretary. Ann is also interested in continuing to develop NZTA’s regional and national networks.

e: admin@nztruffles.org.nz

Treasurer & STNZL Officer – Steve Hart (Co-opted)

Tasman District | Truffle Grower

Steve joined the Executive in 2012 and took the role of Treasurer at the end of 2016 when it was decided the Association could no longer afford the services of a paid Administrator. After retiring from 40+ years in the construction industry as a Civil Engineer in 2014, he and wife Jenny moved to their property in the Tasman District, where they had earlier established a truffiere and mixed fruit and nut orchard.

Steve is looking to assist the association become a collaborative, cooperative entity driven by the needs of its Regional Groups.

e: hartsteve07@gmail.com

Research & Development Officer – Dr Alexis Guerin-Laguette

Canterbury | Truffle guru

Dr. Alexis Guerin-Laguette earned a PhD in Lactarius sect. Deliciosi cultivation/ecology from the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and Université de Montpellier II France. He has since worked in Japan, Canada, and China and led a program of research on the cultivation of edible mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd for 17 years.

In November 2020, Alexis established an EMF consultancy, Mycotree (https://www.mycotree.co.nz/). He has been a regular visiting scientist at the Kunming Institute of Botany/Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2015 and in 2017 he was recognised as High Level Foreign Talent by the Yunnan Administration of Foreign Affairs. He has published over 25 peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters. He is an expert in the cultivation and biology of edible mycorrhizal fungi, i. e. forest mushrooms and truffles.

Alexis has been Technical Representative of the New Zealand Truffle Association since 2016, and Secretary of the Scientific Committee of the International Workshop on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms (see https://iwemm10-nagano.com/) since 2011

e: guerin.myco@gmail.com

Executive Convenor – Lindsay Esler

Auckland | Consultant

Lindsay has worked in a wide range of fields including as a translator, commercial and intellectual property lawyer, and food business owner/operator.  Lindsay qualified as a lawyer and patent attorney in New Zealand. He spent 17 years working overseas, with the last 8 years as Managing Partner of a large international law firm in Hong Kong.

On returning to New Zealand in 2010, Lindsay and a business partner rebuilt, operated and onsold a chemical free bacon business. Now working part time with the NZ Truffle Association as a new challenge, with the benefit of having more truffle in his life.

e: lindsay@nztruffles.org.nz

Executive member – Allister Richardson

Wairarapa | Truffle Grower

Allister and his wife have planted 300 Ilex oaks inoculated with Black truffle  / Tuber melanosporum on their land in Martinborough, Wairarapa. His family split their time between Wellington city and the farm. The long term intention is to plant more trees to produce Burgundy/ aestivum and more melanosporum.
Allister has travelled to France, Spain, and Italy to learn more about truffle cultivation and visited several truffieres and research centres.

Allister lived overseas for 10 years including the UK and Australia and has also lived and worked in the Middle East.  He is a geophysicist with a masters in Science and an MBA and has operated his own consultancy in the oil and gas industry for 10 years

e: Allister@exploreconsulting.co.nz

Newsletter editor and North Island regional coordinator – Maureen Binns

Bay of Plenty | Truffle Grower

Maureen is a trained teacher, librarian and office manager who has reinvented herself as a truffle grower in the beautiful Bay of Plenty village of Paengaroa. Maureen and her husband Colin have a lifestyle farm where they manage a QEII covenant forest and farm sheep, chickens, and ducks. With only 212 trees to manage in the truffiere, Maureen says they are coping well with all the tasks that need to be done.

As a passionate foodie, Maureen has been relishing the opportunity to try out lots of new recipes with truffles. Maureen wants to see the NZ Truffle Association grow in membership and wants the Association to be able to provide support for all our members at whatever stage they are in the lifespan of their truffieres.

e: colbyandmomo@yahoo.com.au

Executive member – Fiona Johnson

Wairarapa | Truffle Grower

Fiona came across the idea of truffle growing reading an Air NZ magazine and, after some investigation and eating of truffle, became hooked. Fiona and husband, John, started planting trees on their land in the Wairarapa in 2013 with around 600 inoculated trees – the first Périgord black truffle arriving five years later.   More trees have been added each year, with the current total being over 2300 trees inoculated with Tuber melanosporum and around 250 inoculated with Tuber aestivum.

Fiona grew up and went to university in the UK.  Since moving to New Zealand, Fiona has held a range of roles in central and local government and currently works the public sector in Wellington.

e: fionajohnsonwgtn@gmail.com

Executive member – Chris Corke

Levin | Truffle Grower

Chris is married with 5 grown up children. Chris has a truffiere in Levin, Horowhenua with around 130-150 trees, not yet producing but promising signs from good brûlés and about 10 years old. Chris’ background is leading technology in NZ as an ex CIO for the NZX and TAB. Latterly, Chris built and now runs one of NZs leading Strategic IT Consultancies. Chris has astrong commercial business and technology background with governance roles across a number of organisations.

Executive Member and Regional Coordinator – Karen Drummond

King Country | Truffle Dog Specialist

Karen has been involved with training dogs since the last century gaining competencies from Massey University in dog related areas, as well as gaining her Adult Education Level 5 in 2010. Through a friend’s need for a truffle dog she started training her first dog in in 2011 and established her business Truffle Dog Services in 2014. Since then, Karen has continued to undertake professional development in the canine world and increase the number of growers visited in the North Island each season.