This is NEXT in 60 seconds – who we are, what we do in a one minute video.


By supporting and investing in aspirational education projects, we aim to empower young people today and the leaders of tomorrow. Education opens the door to personal development, economic opportunity and innovation for society as a whole. New Zealand has an excellent education system, but there are a wide range of initiatives that can drive higher achievement and outcomes, including innovative projects at the edges of traditional systems.

We invest in projects that strive for educational excellence to provide all New Zealanders with the opportunity to fulfil their potential and develop into talented individuals with the skills and confidence to confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities of a globalised world.


New Zealand’s natural environment is the foundation of not only our economy but also our sense of identity.

Our vision is to ensure our natural environment remains healthy so that it will continue to provide us with the essential resources that underpin a thriving and prosperous New Zealand. Focussing principally on conservation, there are many threats to be managed or overcome such as habitat loss, introduced predators, urbanisation and water use.

In doing so, we aim to preserve New Zealand for tomorrow’s generations. Where kiwi and other iconic native birds still exist in the wild, not just in online image galleries. Where our native forests welcome the day with a chorus of bird song. Where our children and their children can safely swim in clean lakes and rivers. Where our natural heritage and culture are preserved for all.

How We Work

NEXT administers an up to 10-year, $100 million programme of strategic philanthropy.

Education projects supported are those that contribute to New Zealand’s long-term knowledge capital and performance through research, teaching, leadership training, skills and values development, technology adaption, and institutional and methodological innovation that ultimately underpin our country’s economic strength.

Environment projects supported are those that significantly protect and sustain New Zealand’s natural elements, habitats and species, including research and innovation, conservation and community participation in ways that enhance the relationship between people and nature.

Projects supported have demonstrated that they:

  • have the potential to be significant in scale and impact
  • overcome a specific problem, address a current need, or create a future opportunity
  • are well supported by research and analysis
  • have good management and governance
  • have measurable outcomes at various stages of the project




Our People



Bill Kermode

Bill Kermode was appointed Chairman of the NEXT Board in 2021, and has been NEXT’s Chief Executive since its launch in 2014, leading its environmental and educational investments to date, as well as providing oversight of the previous philanthropic commitments made by Neal and Annette Plowman. He had for the previous two decades been a founding Director of Direct Capital, New Zealand’s most experienced private company investor, and Director of a number of private companies, including Ryman Healthcare, PF Olsen, NZ Pharmaceuticals, and EziBuy. He was until 2019 a Director of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, offering global social change-makers a path to New Zealand citizenship through New Zealand’s Global Impact Visa, and is Chairman of the Palmerston North BHS Educational Foundation Trust and a graduate of Massey and Oxford Universities.



Frank Janssen

Frank has many years executive experience working with private companies in New Zealand. He is the chair of a number of boards and holds executive roles within a number of high net worth family entities. He has a strong interest in improving New Zealand’s educational performance and has worked with NEXT’s investments in Manaiakalani, Education Hub and The Mind Lab, as well as driving thinking about impact and measurement of the wider NEXT education investments. More recently he has been contributing to NEXT’s environmental investments and planning work.



Devon McLean QSM

Over a 30 year career in the New Zealand forest industry Devon held a number of executive management positions including COO of Carter Holt Harvey. He was also Chair of the NZ Forest Industries Council and a Director of the Forest Research Institute (Scion). In 1990 Devon helped set up Project Crimson, a trust devoted to the protection of New Zealand’s pōhutukawa and rātā trees, and later served as a Trustee of the Rotoroa Island Trust. His involvement in these and many other biodiversity projects saw him awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 2015. Devon is currently Chair of Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) and a Director of Project Janszoon, Predator Free Wellington, Taranaki Mounga Project and Te Manahuna Aoraki.  He also serves as a Director of the state-owned Predator Free 2050 Ltd and was a Governance board member of the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.



Jan Hania

Jan Hania was with NEXT from 2014 to 2022 as Environmental Director. He is of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga descent. Prior to his position at NEXT, Jan spent six years with the Department of Conservation building partnerships and developing large scale collaborative impact projects focused on people, biodiversity and water. His background is in Natural Resources Engineering where he consulted in hazard mitigation, water resource protection and environmental restoration; as well as a 10 year stint with the New Zealand Airforce, as an electronics and systems engineer. In his position at NEXT Jan was an integral part of setting up the Taranaki Mounga Project, Te Manahuna Aoraki and Predator Free Wellington and provided leadership and oversight across NEXT’s environmental portfolio. Jan has a passion for the outdoors and the environment, enjoys climbing, diving, and mountain biking and just being.


Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall joined NEXT in October 2020 as Environmental Operations Director. Stephen has over 20 years experience in the natural resource management sector with extensive experience in biodiversity, pest management and land and water operations. He has worked as a consultant and for 13 years held executive management positions within regional councils throughout New Zealand, most recently the Director of Operations at Taranaki Regional Council. Stephen has led a diverse range of leading edge and high profile resource management initiatives. Stephen provides leadership and oversight to operational aspects of NEXT’s portfolio of environmental restoration projects.


Chris Simcock

Chris Simcock

Chris was a Founder Partner of the Impact Enterprise Fund, New Zealand’s first impact investing fund, having previously worked in the Investment Banking team at First NZ Capital (Jarden).  He is now Head of Finance and Strategy at Leaft Foods. Chris also acted for companies, ranging from start-ups to listed companies, in strategic and corporate finance advisory roles, and is an Edmund Hillary Fellow.

FORMER Communications Director


Polly Hudson

Polly Hudson was Communications Director of NEXT Foundation until 2022. Prior to this position she was Senior Communication advisor to the National Science Challenge, High-Value Nutrition. Polly’s background is in the media. She was a journalist at TVNZ, working as a reporter for TVNZ news and current affairs. She was the TVNZ Australian correspondent and a presenter on 60 Minutes. Polly also worked as newspaper journalist, writing for the Dominion and some London publications.


Susan Rayfield

Susan Rayfield

Susan was the Team Support and Events Manager for NEXT until 2022. Susan grew up in the United Kingdom but New Zealand has been her home for the past 35 years. Her career has been largely in the travel industry, with experience in retail, corporate, training, product management and event management. She previously worked for Flight Centre for 14 years, has a passion for the great outdoors, for bringing events to life and for philanthropy.



Carol Campbell

Carol has extensive financial experience and a sound understanding of board governance. Carol holds a number of directorships across a spectrum of companies including NZME, Kiwibank, T&G Global, New Zealand Post, and the Fisher listed investment companies – Kingfish, Barramundi and Marlin Global where she is also Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. She holds a number of private company directorships and trusteeships. Carol was a director of The Business Advisory Group for 11 years, a chartered accountancy practice, and prior to that a partner at Ernst & Young for more than 25 years. Carol is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered member of the Institute of Directors.


Scott St John

Scott St John joined NEXT as a director in February 2017. Scott had been Chief Executive of First NZ Capital for 15 years before stepping down in early 2017. Scott is Chair of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and a director of Fonterra, , Mercury NZ.  He is a former Chancellor of the University of Auckland, and  Chair or member of a number of government appointed and financial industry bodies.


Chris Liddell CNZM Founding Chair

Chris Liddell is the Founding Chair of NEXT Foundation and was instrumental in setting the vision and agenda for NEXT when it launched in March 2014. He stood down in 2017 to take up a position with the United States Government administration and was promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House in 2018. Based in the United States, Chris is a Kiwi passionate about education, the environment and philanthropy. He has been a Director on NEXT supported environmental initiatives Project Janszoon and the Rotoroa Island Trust. He has been Chairman of Project Crimson and a Patron of the University of Auckland fundraising campaign. He was previously Chairman of the Board of Xero Corporation; Vice Chair of General Motors; CFO of Microsoft Corporation and International Paper and CEO of Carter Holt Harvey. He has been a Director of the New Zealand Rugby Union and amongst other achievements named Businessman of the Year in 2011. He is a graduate of Auckland and Oxford Universities.

Education Kaihautū


Mika Austin

Mika was our kaihautū for the Summer Learning Journey, an online digital literacy programme which encourages primary and intermediate school students to continue their literacy learning over the summer holidays and avoid the “summer slump” in learning.  In her other life she is General Manager of Human Resources for the NZ Super Fund, prior to which she worked as a lawyer specialising in commercial litigation. She has also worked for the Financial Services Authority in London.


Bridget Best

Bridget is a former tax and corporate lawyer with experience in Government, professional services and corporates and has been part of NEXT’s predecessor Trust since 2013.  In that time she has held a number of roles including CEO of the Rotoroa Island Trust and as NEXT’s representative on a Government steering committee on environmental education.  Bridget was the NEXT education kaihautū  with Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ, providing governance, strategic and management support.  Through her work with NEXT and Ako Mātātupu, and her mentoring and management roles during her legal career, Bridget has developed a strong interest in career development and the future of work and studied in this area with RMIT in Melbourne.


Mike Ferrand

Mike was the kaihautū for two of NEXT’s First 1,000 days education initiatives – Talking Matters and Space.  He brought to these roles the benefit of a wide range of career and life experience.  Mike believes listening is at the heart of success, as well as understanding what is not working.  He came to New Zealand from England in 1989 and is an experienced chief executive who has run organisations across New Zealand, Australia and Asia.  In recent years his commercial experience and leadership style has seen him involved as an independent chairman/director, including currently as independent Chairman of Babbage and Executive Chairman of Greenstone Group.  Outside of work, Mike served six years as a volunteer telephone counsellor and trainer at Lifeline.


Marion Heppner

Marion’s role with NEXT focused on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, including working as kaihautū with social innovation agency The Southern Initiative. She was engaged in this work because she is passionate about equity. Marion builds partnerships between NEXT and the inspirational people who are contributing to an ecosystem that equitably enables all whānau in Aotearoa to support their babies’ healthy development and lay strong foundations for learning.  Before her work with NEXT, Marion held governance and management roles with for-purpose organisation Great Potentials Foundation. Marion is also a lawyer with over 25 years’ experience in the legal services, sports and media sectors in New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK and Europe.


Andrew Poole

Andrew has long experience in the law profession and is currently the Chief Executive of major New Zealand law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts, having previously served for a decade in a similar role for Chapman Tripp.  Andrew is a keen outdoorsman with interests in both education and the environment, managing to combine his busy career with serving as NEXT’s kaihautū for The Education Hub and as Executive Chairman of the Rotoroa Island Trust.

Advisory Panel


Margaret Bendall CNZM

Margaret is a former principal of Epsom Girls Grammar School and board member of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. From 2005 she held a number of leadership and management roles in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. Much of her work was focused on the implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum and professional learning for principals and other school leaders. On behalf of the University of Auckland, she was actively involved in the establishment phase of Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ. She is a mentor and adviser to school principals and school leaders and was an adviser to the Cognition Education Trust. In 2005, Margaret was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to education.


Shelley Campbell MNZM

Shelley Campbell is Chief Executive of Wise Group after previously serving as CEO of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society. Prior to that Shelley was CEO of Sir Peter Blake Trust, responsible for its leadership development and environmental programmes. She has been on the boards of the Halberg Foundation, Sustainable Seas, Te Pou and Le Va and was a member of the Expert Review Panel tasked with a review of the New Zealand health and disability system. She also mentors young emerging CEOs and business leaders across the country. Previously Shelley was on the Cancer Council of New Zealand and chaired the National Bowel Cancer Screening Taskforce. She is a former Chief Executive of Waikato Primary Health, was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the World Health Assembly in 2008 and has examined health systems in Canada, the US and the UK. In 2007 Shelley was awarded a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader award – the first Māori recipient. In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Captain’s rank in the Royal New Zealand Navy and in 2016 was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to health and people with disabilities.


Sir Rob Fenwick KNZM KSTJ

Sir Rob Fenwick KNZM KSTJ, was an advisor for NEXT from its inception until he passed away in March 2020.

Read more here.


Roger France

Roger is a professional company director. He trained as a chartered accountant and is the former Managing Partner of Coopers & Lybrand Auckland, subsequently leading the Corporate Value Consulting Practice for PwC in the Asia Pacific region. Roger was Chair of the Deep South National Science Challenge and Tappenden Holdings, and on the boards of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and Southern Cross Health Society. He has been a director of a number of major New Zealand companies including Fonterra, Air New Zealand, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Blue Star Group and Orion Health, and is also a former board member of Team New Zealand. Roger was a Member of the Council of The University of Auckland for twelve years, serving as Chancellor of the University from 2009 to 2012. He was a trustee of the University of Auckland Foundation and a member of the New Zealand Treasury’s Commercial Operations Advisory Board. In 2016 Roger was appointed an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to business and education.


Edward Krishna

Edward is a Manager, Management Consulting at PwC in Auckland, after three years as a corporate solicitor at law firm DLA Piper. Edward has a keen interest in strategic philanthropy and social justice and has been involved in various NEXT projects including building a community and culture of strategic philanthropy in New Zealand and looking at ways young people can be more involved in philanthropy. Edward led the pro bono practice at DLA Piper helping refugees and other disadvantaged groups in New Zealand; and working with the youth arm of Philanthropy NZ, exploring ways to get more young people meaningfully engaged in philanthropy. He is also a passionate musician singing with community choir Stellar Singers and playing in various bands and groups.


Alistair Nicholson

Alistair’s career has taken a ‘random walk’ through the education and finance industries, on the journey taking in many of the leading financial centres of the world. Alistair has been a school teacher, corporate treasurer, investment banker and hedge fund investor. He returned to New Zealand with his family in 2007, was Chair of Wakatipu High School for six years, and served on the board of Ako Matatupu:Teach First NZ.  He is a Director of Kiwi Wealth Limited, New Zealand Avocado Council and a Singapore family office (Vulpes Investment Management), and oversees a portfolio of horticultural assets in New Zealand. He is strongly committed to seeing young people in New Zealand get the very best out of their educational opportunities.


Geoff Ricketts CNZM

Geoff Ricketts CNZM, was an advisor for NEXT from its inception until he passed away in March 2023.

Read more here.


John Taylor MNZM

John is currently Director, External Relations at The University of Auckland, having retired as Director of Alumni Relations and Development after directing the University’s ‘Leading the Way’ campaign which raised over $200 million. He was previously Headmaster of Rathkeale College (1979–87) and King’s College (1988–2002).  John’s current educational activities include chairmanship of the New Zealand Education and Scholarship Trust, of the Selection Committees for the Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship and the Robertson Scholarship, and membership of The New Zealand Initiative. He is a Trustee of the Mike Cormack Foundation and of the John Drake Memorial Scholarship Trust. He was awarded an MNZM for services to education in 2016.

Te Tumu Paeroa - Jamie Portrait at Te Papa.

Jamie Tuuta

Jamie was born and bred in Taranaki, growing up on the family farm at Okoki, Urenui and is affiliated to a number of Taranaki iwi. As a local, the mounga is his tupuna – “we are a reflection of the mountain is he is of us.” Jamie has a strong relationship, connection and sense of responsibility to Mounga Taranaki. As Chair of Taranaki Mounga he has led development of the Mounga’s health and wellbeing and the relationship to his people and the wider community. Jamie is also passionate about the potential of New Zealand and its people and has a keen interest in Māori economic development and transforming the way in which we relate to our environment and one another in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Jamie is an experienced director and has held governance positions over the past 20 years in the areas of iwi development, agribusiness, fishing, investment, health, housing, Māori development, tourism, philanthropy and education. As well as his role as Independent Chair of Taranaki Mounga, Jamie has also been the chair of Tourism New Zealand, the Māori Television Service, Venture Taranaki, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga, Ka Uruora and Te Kahui Maru GP. Jamie is a recipient of the 2010 Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leadership Award. He was also awarded the Maori Young business Leader of the year award in 2016.

Our charter

  1. NEXT Foundation has been established with a vision “to create a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders”.
  2. This Charter sets out the basis upon which the Foundation will conduct itself in seeking to achieve its vision.
  3. Projects will need to be in the general areas of education and environment and be able to prove that they achieve a lasting impact and contribution to New Zealand.
  4. Education projects are defined as ones that contribute to New Zealand’s long-term knowledge capital and performance through research, teaching, leadership training, and institutional and methodological innovation that ultimately underpin our country’s economic strength.
  5. Environment projects are defined as ones that significantly protect and sustain New Zealand’s natural elements, habitats and species, including research and innovation, conservation and community participation in ways that enhance the relationship between people and nature.
  6. Projects will need to demonstrate that they:
    a. are significant in scale and impact
    b. overcome a specific problem, address a current need, or create a future opportunity
    c. are well supported by research and analysis
    d. provide evidence of good management and governance
    e. have measurable outcomes at defined stages of the project
  7. The Foundation will be governed by a Board of Directors who will decide on the projects to be funded. All decisions by the Board are full and final.
  8. In making this decision the Directors will be assisted by an Advisory Panel.
  9. The Advisory Panel will be selected by the Directors and shall consist of both experts in the areas of education and environment and generalists who can assist in the assessment of projects.
  10. Neither any of the Directors nor any of the Advisory Panel shall assess the selection of a project that they have any direct involvement with or benefit from. A Conflicts of Interest policy will be implemented to ensure that and potential conflicts are identified.
  11. NEXT Foundation is a division of Hutton Wilson Charitable Trust. The Board shall consist of between three to five Directors, all to be appointed by Hutton Wilson Nominees Limited, which shall also appoint a Chairman and Auditor for the Foundation. PwC is the current auditor.
  12. The Board shall appoint a full time CEO for the Foundation who shall administer and lead the activities of the organisation.