Who we are

ACAT’s Board of Trustees is the governing body of the Trust. The Board makes key decisions about the direction of the organisation. 

Establishing the Trust has been a massive effort. Much of the work has been done by the Lead for ACAT Development in coordination with a host of passionate volunteers:

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Climber in blue shirt and white helmet climbs a crack in a rock face, seen from above.
Edwin Sheppard on Badlands, Whanganui Bay. Photo: John Palmer.

Edwin Sheppard

Edwin’s current role is Lead for ACAT Development, which involves developing the Trust’s operational structure and funding base. His professional background as a lawyer specialising in employment and environmental law, health and safety, and litigation has paid dividends to the role. 

Edwin is based in Auckland but has enjoyed sport, trad, big-wall and alpine climbing around the country and overseas. He is an active route developer and will talk your ear off if you ask him about Tairua crag. Edwin became involved in access negotiations due to his expertise in health and safety law, and because he realised that nobody was representing the climbing community in relation to some crags. 

Edwin has a strong sense of urgency around access issues and is passionately upping our game before we lose any more crags to preventable issues. He has put months of voluntary work into saving Froggatt Edge as well as developing ACAT, and is excited by the organisation’s potential to change the game and make a real difference for the future of New Zealand climbing.

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Climber in red helmet with bare arms and a lot of gear on harness high-steps up a crack on orange rock.
John Pitcairn on The Entertainer, Arapiles. Photo: Anna Brooke.

John Pitcairn

John has been involved with ACAT from the beginning and has put a massive effort into developing our website and other IT infrastructure. His generosity in sharing his professional expertise has made ACAT possible.

Having cut his teeth at the now-closed AGS Rock Wall / Mt Eden Quarry long side, these days you will find him around Waikato trying to convince himself and random unwary youngsters that the local rock goes perfectly well on gear. John is the editor of the Kawakawa Bay guidebook.

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Three climbers with shirts off, 2 wearing hats, high above a lake and beach in background.
Andy Baird (left) atop Tibia at Whanganui Bay, mid-1990s.

Andy Baird

A life-long climbing addict, business coach, and proud father, Andy has been involved in ACAT since our first discussions with the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC). Andy has put his business experience to good use in helping to guide the Trust through its early stages. He took over management of Maungarei Springs (Auckland) in 2017, and is on the NZAC Auckland Section Board.

Andy has been climbing since he could reach both sides of the door frame and has climbed throughout the North Island. He has developed routes at Maungarei Springs and Ti Point, and one of his earliest climbing memories is being on top of Mead’s Wall during the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake – fastest abseil ever!

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Climber with ice axes, red jacket and white helmet on a steep snow slope in shadow
Richard Graham, Ruapehu.

Richard Graham

Richard is another of the original volunteers involved in the ACAT/NZAC partnership. He has helped develop ACAT’s IT infrastructure, and has organised fundraising events in Wellington. Richard is also a Trustee of the Kimi Worrell Memorial Foundation and an NZAC Wellington Section committee member.

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Climber in red top and red/white helmet looks at twin sharp peaks high above a lake.
Jonno Rau on Single Cone, the Remarkables.  Photo: Jo Mendonça.

Jonno Rau

Post lockdown 2020 saw Jonno diagnosed with OCD (obsessive crack disorder). Subsequent therapy has included locating closed, current, and potentially new crags.

Armed with a University of Waikato education in Geology and Geospatial Mapping, a personable nature, and can-do attitude, Jonno has undertaken multiple ground-up trad first ascents (some successful, some not). He’s had many cups of tea with landowners, and plenty of travel and adventures around the Central North Island.

Jonno believes a healthy relationship between landowners and climbers is needed for continued climbing access and thinks this should be established openly and honestly from the start.

“With climbers united in their support of ACAT helping to develop that relationship, our future for climbing in Aotearoa is looking promising and it’s one I am looking forward to. Stay awesome and keep sending.”

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Female climber in sunglasses and orange top on sloping overhanging boulder.
Erin Stewart on Orange Aid, Flock Hill. Photo: Derek Thatcher.

Erin Stewart

Erin is the face behind Concept of the Good, and she designed our awesome logo.  A Castle Hill local and enthusiast, Erin runs castlehillbasin.co.nz as a public service along with her partner Derek Thatcher.

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Close up selfie of smiling climber in white helmet, looking down at his climbing partners.
Zane Bray (foreground) with Adam Hayes at Shaw Thing.

Zane Bray

Zane, with the help of a team he has rallied, has done an incredible job creating the Auckland Boulder Series to promote ACAT in the region. Zane’s psych for climbing knows no bounds. He has an oversized voice with just as many words to say, and has had an unarguable impact on the Auckland climbing scene over 20 years as a coach, route setter, organiser, and even one-time boulder slum manager.

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Smiling brunette woman with nose ring in read beanie hat.
Zandri Spiers.

Zandri Spiers

Zandri started climbing recently but is already contributing to the future of the sport by using her social media and marketing skills to make ACAT visible to the climbing community. A multi-talented woman, she also runs a pole dancing and photography studio.

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Looking down an arete at a female climber in white top and helmet, above blue river rapids,
Wendy Davis on Star Check, Squamish, British Columbia. Photo: Sara Lindström.

Wendy Davis

After a hiatus as a Squamish-based aspiring climbing bum, Wendy returned to NZ in Covid times and is now helping to draft and edit our website content. She recently moved to Wanaka because some of their crags are still open.