Adrienne Lomax

adrienneAdrienne Lomax – General Manager Waihora Ellesmere Trust

Adrienne Lomax considers Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere a hidden treasure – “an amazing, special place that seems to be under-rated by many who live in the Canterbury region.”

She values the lake’s rich history, its wealth of vegetation and birdlife; and she values the fact that such a “remote, tranquil, wide-open place” is so close to a major city.

“I enjoy walking and I really enjoy peaceful, untouched places. Te Waihora and the Port Hills have been two of my favourite walking spots. There’s always something new to discover around the lake,” she says.

Adrienne was able to look on the Canterbury landscape with fresh eyes when she returned to New Zealand after twenty-two years away, living in Scotland and England. Having had the opportunity to live overseas she says, helped her appreciate the beauty of the South Island.
“I spent my early years in Oamaru before our family moved to Scotland but it wasn’t until I came home to raise my own family that I appreciated the wealth of the South Island’s natural environment. We’ve got everything here – coastline, lakes, bush, mountains, plains – and that’s what drove my interest in policy and environmental planning. I wanted to have input into decision-making for the future. We need to make sure we protect these environments for future generations.”

Adrienne spent the latter part of her childhood on a farm in the Borders of Scotland. She later graduated from Edinburgh University in 1982, with a degree in ecological science, with honours in resource management, and began work as a ranger in countryside management in the north of England. A big part of her role included education and interpretation.

After she married Ken Lomax, the couple decided to return to New Zealand in 1989 to start a family. Adrienne gained a teaching diploma from Christchurch College of Education in 1990 and from 1991 she worked for a range of community organisations including Red Cross, Plunket, and Banks Peninsula Safer Community Council, before moving into an adult and community education role at Mairehau High School, a position she held until the end of 2009. After she completed her masters in environmental policy at Lincoln University in 2010, Adrienne took up her current position with the Waihora Ellesmere Trust (WET).

“My work for WET is incredibly varied – everything from planting restoration sites and gathering and sharing information on sustainable drain management to commenting on plans and policies and education in the community,” she says.

One of her largest projects is organizing the biennial Living Lakes Symposium (“the 2013 event will be our fourth”). The symposium will present an overview of the state of the Te Waihora and the activities currently underway to restore its health and biodiversity. Hopefully this will strengthen links between science, monitoring and management. “It all comes back to the community vision for the lake and the environment; all our Trust projects are designed to work towards achieving that vision. It’s always all about the lake and supporting best practice management around the catchment.

“The challenge is to keep focused on the long term objectives and to encourage people to work together. There are a lot of very exciting things already happening around Te Waihora and we want to keep that momentum going.

“This is a lake that means a great deal to a lot of different people and we want to restore it to good health for future generations,” says Adrienne.