New TotSCF Trustee
28 November, 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Ailie Suzuki has joined our Top of the South Community Foundation Board, as our first Marlborough-based Trustee.

We caught up with Ailie in Picton, where she is based, and asked her a few questions about joining us as a Trustee.

Congratulations on becoming a Trustee for Top of the South Community Foundation. What made you agree to joining us?

I felt that the Top of the South Community Foundation's fundamental ethos and values aligned greatly with my own.

I also felt this would be an incredible opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally, whilst being provided with a unique opportunity to contribute to the support and growth of nonprofits and organisations around the Top of the South doing incredible work for our communities.

I am extremely excited to be a part of this incredible team and organisation and truly appreciate the warm welcome I have felt so far.

Can you offer us any of your personal and business history?

I was born in Japan, grew up in Australia and have lived, studied and worked across the world before truly finding a home here in New Zealand. I fell in love with the Marlborough Sounds, living and working on the water for many years and now have a small family and call Picton home.

My career has been varied, with a background and Bachelors in Arts (Japanese) and Science (Zoology), and a Masters in Japanese Interpreting and Translation.

My passion has always been conservation and nature-based, however, which has led to everything from curating zoos in Australia to chasing Kiwis in the New Zealand bush on our predator-free islands, researching whales and other cetaceans in Iceland and running small to medium eco- and tourism businesses in both Australia and New Zealand.

It’s fantastic that TotSCF now has a Marlborough Trustee. What sort of impact do you think you can deliver to TotSCF, but in particular to the Marlborough region?

I hope to provide both a connection to the Marlborough region and an on-the-ground link to many of the organisations and groups doing incredible things in our region at a grassroots level.

As a representative of Marlborough on the board, I hope to assist in the growth and reach of TotSCF across the entire Top of the South and right across Marlborough.

What do you believe is the future for TotSCF, and Community Foundations in general in NZ?

I believe community foundations, including TotSCF, are an essential part of continued support and positive change in our communities - particularly in long-term support of the organisations and individuals providing essential services and support in our communities.

To also allow those who are able to leave behind an ongoing powerful legacy I feel also unites us all as a community. I foresee wonderful, continued growth for TotSCF and a larger impact for all as a result.

What are your thoughts on the importance of community and family values?

I have seen first-hand how a group of people - families, individuals, organisations, businesses - in a community can band together in support and solidarity and can truly change the world.

I believe in supporting and caring for each and every person in our community, regardless of background, age, gender, orientation or abilities. Through respect, openness to learn and listen, we can truly work together and make some incredibly positive changes to our society and our world around us.

You are the GM at Envirohub Marlborough. Can you tell us about that exciting role?

Having been on the founding board and committees for Envirohub Marlborough and Conservation Kids NZ over 10 years ago, I am so proud to still be a part of this amazing organisation and having watched how we've grown and become a fixture in our community.

Being asked to step into the GM role was such a privilege, and to be first-hand involved in the management and cultivation of our growth and our various projects has been incredibly rewarding. We are currently working on establishing a Community Garden in Waitohi Picton and working alongside the national Sustainable Coastlines Litter Intelligence to expand the project across Marlborough.

We are about to launch an exciting new "Save Our Species" Conservation Kids NZ programme for families throughout Marlborough via monthly events across our region, both in person and through online resources.

Finally, we have just recently launched our brand-new, purpose-built Zero Waste Dishwashing Trailer, which will assist greatly in the expansion of our zero waste efforts at events across Marlborough. One of the most exciting parts for me is certainly the collaborations and building of relationships with individuals and organisations across Marlborough and New Zealand who all have the ultimate same goal - being a good ancestor and protecting our environment for our future generations.

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Photos from Nelsontasman.nzOnly Marlborough and Unsplash.
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