Our Experience And Knowledge Set Us Apart

Who We Are

The word ‘xyst’ is of Greek origin and means a terrace or walkway with trees – or a planted and covered outdoor venue for athletic training; all trappings of a desirable standard of existence.

The name reflects the company’s passion for quality parks, public open spaces and community facilities, which all ultimately enhance the ‘existence’ of a community.

Xyst has offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, working throughout Australia, and across New Zealand with bases in Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch, Nelson, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.  The Canadian office is located in Calgary. 

 The Team That Powers Xyst

Chris Rutherford


Chris, the founder of Xyst, has a wide range of experience in local government parks and recreation facility management encompassing operations, planning and asset management roles. He has worked for five Councils in the UK and NZ. In addition he has been the contract manager for a large contracts company and worked as an industry specialist in local government for Fujitsu.
ARPro – Accredited recreation professional. CIPP – Certified international parks professional. Ian Galloway Award. Fellow - New Zealand Recreation Association. World Urban Parks - Deputy Chairperson

Michele Frey

Principal Environmental Consultant

Michele is an experienced environmental and recreation practitioner. She has broad consultancy experience ranging from national tourism research, parks, conservation and recreation strategy and asset management to lead roles in feasibility studies for sports facility developments, major recreation assessments and recreation strategies. She was elected to the Board of the NZ Recreation Association in 2015 and as its Deputy Chair in 2016.
ARPro – Accredited recreation professional.
Certified Environmental Practitioner

Paul Wilson


Paul has 30 years of central and local government experience in the parks sector, including general management roles. He was a founding member of the Yardstick steering group.
Paul is an accredited recreation professional (NZRA) and a certified international parks professional (World Urban Parks). He specialises in parks and recreation planning and lighting design.
ARPro – Accredited recreation professional. CIPP – Certified international parks professional. Tech IES - Technician Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand

Eric Hamilton


Eric began working in the parks sector 30 years ago as a park ranger with regional councils in Auckland and Wellington. He then changed focus to a planning role ensuring that best practice is integrated into policy outputs.
He has worked as a parks and recreation consultant for the last 15 years.
Eric is a qualified drone operator, completing a Certificate of Competency RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) course at Massey University. Drone technology is increasingly used, within our various client projects, for aerial mapping, imagery, etc.
ARPro – Accredited recreation professional

Jayson Kelly


Jayson is a well-respected parks professional, having spent more than 30 years as a local government officer, parks manager or senior consultant in both Australia and New Zealand. He is sought after for undertaking service reviews and other in-depth studies of parks, recreation and bushland operations and activities.
Jayson is based in our Melbourne office.
Cockayne Gold Medal. Fellow Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture

Brian Milne


Brian has a wide range of experience in local government parks and recreation facility management. In addition to a background in operations and planning work, Brian now specialises in asset management for the parks and facilities sector.
He is currently responsible for managing Yardstick’s online development and the Facilities Benchmark project.
Brian is based in our Brisbane office
Ian Galloway Award, ARPro – Accredited recreation professional

Alison Rawley


Alison was previously the Parks Asset Manager at Taupo District Council, a position which she held for three years. Previous roles within Taupo DC include Special Projects Officer, Senior Policy Planner and Senior Reserves Planner.
Prior to working in Taupo she worked for a long period in various parks and parks planning roles at Rotorua DC.
She is also strongly involved with our subscription-based benchmarking program - Yardstick.
Alison is based in our Nelson office.

Susie Yeats

Field Research Manager

Susie has a legal background, having been admitted to the Bar in 1987 as a Barrister and Solicitor.
Prior to joining the Xyst team, she was involved in a variety of community organisations both as a trustee and legal advisor.
Susie is responsible for the engagement of intercept surveyors, coordinating survey resources, programming work schedules, undertaking field surveys, training, quality control and data entry. And she maintains a hands-on approach throughout, working across Australian survey project requirements.

Philippa (Pip) Mackay

Environmental Consultant

Pip is an environmental consultant with a background in planning. Her experience in resource management process includes consent applications and community consultation work such as hui, submissions data checking and workshop assistance. Her passion for the environment and people has led to her interest in working in the parks and sustainability sector.
She is also a published book contributor, discussing the evolving process of local food governance.
Master of Planning (with Distinction); Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Environmental Management) - University of Otago

Troy Sykes


As a Director of Xyst Canada, Troy is based in Calgary, Alberta.
With 23 years’ experience working in Parks municipal government Troy has a background in Parks operations and capital planning, as well as extensive knowledge in strategic asset management planning and asset management implementation. He has developed levels of service methodology and also a benchmarking system, liaising with our Yardstick program. He has also been involved with contracted services procurement, staff recruitment and management, development of work plans and safety protocols, and project management.
IPWEA Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning; Canadian Network of Asset Managers CNAM; International Asset Management, Calgary Chapter

Elise Yule

Recreation and Open Space Consultant

Elise attended Lincoln University where she studied Sport and Recreation Management before gaining a Masters of Applied Science. Having worked at both Auckland Council and Napier City Council, she is now based in the Xyst Napier office as a Recreation and Open Space Consultant.
Elise also has strong involvement with the Generate Network, an organisation championing young professionals in parks and recreation, and has sat on their NZ committee for two years. In her spare time she guides students on hikes in the local ranges to help them towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards. B.S.R.M. MAppSc. Committee Member, Generate Network

Brendon Rope

Senior Consultant

With 25 years of industry experience, providing advice to sports, recreation and leisure related organisations, Brendon brings a strong background to our team. Commencing in the sector with Sport Taranaki, Brendon has worked for regional and national sports organisations throughout the North Island, NZ and has been a long-term industry contributor through Recreation Aotearoa (NZRA). He has also held voluntary roles within community and charitable trusts, and was a director of Skills Active ITO for the sport, fitness and recreation sector.
Bachelor of Leisure Studies - University of Waikato. Diploma in Applied Sports Studies - Auckland Institute of Technology.

Robin Rawson

Parks and Recreation Consultant

Robin has held positions as a Parks Officer, Landscape Architect, Planner and Infrastructure Planner for Local Authorities as far south as Dunedin and as far north as Whangarei. She has also worked as a Senior Landscape Architect within both a private firm and as a sole practitioner.
In addition to being a Registered Landscape Architect, Robin’s training in botany and study towards an engineering diploma provide the foundations for a multi-outcome approach to parks and recreation issues.

Daniel Ames

Senior Consultant

With a background in landscape architecture and environmental impact assessment, Dan has over 15 years' experience working for a range of private landscape and open space planning consultancies in the UK, China and Australia. Most recently Dan has been involved in the successful delivery of more than 50 sport, recreation and open space planning and design projects across Australia.
Daniel is based in our Adelaide office.
Bachelor (Hons) of Landscape Architecture - Leeds Metropolitan University. Graduate Diploma Landscape Architecture.

Anne Relling


As asset management practices were introduced into DOC Anne took on roles of implementing AM practices across Fiordland after a stint in the DOC Wellington office. Her interest in walkways was met with a role with Queenstown Lakes DC as Walkways Project Officer prior to establishing her own recreation and parks consultancy.
Anne is a past Lincoln University graduate holding a Diploma in Recreation Management.

Dafydd Pettigrew


Dafydd brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning and operational projects, with a strong foundation in project planning and management, public consultation and political acumen. In previous roles, he was responsible for parks and open space maintenance contracts and capital works programmes, including a high number of high-profile, high-use sites, and has partnered with iwi on various large-scale planning projects.
Dafydd holds a Bachelor of Tourism Management, and has served as a volunteer on both the Sika Foundation Whio Recovery Project and the Southern Kaimanawa Deer Survey.

Debbie Cook

Company Administrator

With experience in office and HR administration, along with event and PR management, Debbie brings a wide range of skills to the Xyst team.
Although NZ-born, Debbie grew up and was educated in England, and spent 10 years working as a journalist on a long-established UK gardening magazine and as a freelance writer for various journals and newspapers. On her return to NZ, she continued freelance writing whilst working full-time in HR, communications, marketing, PR and event coordination, and website design and maintenance.
At Xyst, she provides support across the business, assisting in research and community engagements.
London Chamber of Commerce Private Secretarial Certificate, Bilingual; Certificate of Journalism, London College of Printing.

Philip Shambrook


Philip has a varied background beginning in engineering and management in the British Armed Forces. After retiring from the RAF, he and wife Louise rode a tandem around the world for three years before moving to New Zealand in 1997. Initially based in Auckland, providing software and laser imaging support to the printing industry, they then moved to Hawkes Bay. Philip was responsible for bringing parkrun events to Hawkes Bay and now holds a voluntary national role mentoring and developing parkruns in New Zealand.
Philip undertook further degrees in Recreation and Sport and Health Science, and has just completed a PhD in Exercise Physiology.
Philip is employed as a part-time consultant in our Napier office.

Tarryn Harding


Having worked in local government in various roles, including facilities management and project management, Tarryn has a strong interest in delivering sport and recreation opportunities for the community, with an emphasis on trail development. Her passion lies in activating people and places, and helping people become healthier and connected to the outdoors.
Tarryn currently sits on the Executive Committee for Generate Network Australia; an organisation championing young professionals in parks and recreation.
Bachelor Sport and Outdoor Recreation, Monash University, Melbourne;
Bachelor Business (Marketing), Monash University, Melbourne

Inez Crawford

Research Assistant

Inez has had a close association with Xyst for the past five years, working as a sub-consultant on various projects, so we are delighted she is now joining our Australian team in early February 2020.
Inez is an experienced Research Assistant. involved in many projects that relate to intercept surveying, observation studies or data collection. She is passionate about community, sport and the arts, and is a previous representative World Championships rower.
Inez holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts, Sculpture from the Otago Polytechnic.

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