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, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.  The Canadian office is located in Calgary. 

 The Team That Powers Xyst

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.
Ian Galloway Award, ARPro – Accredited recreation professional

Annette Campion

Principal Consultant

Annette is a dedicated planner with over 25 years’ experience in strategic, community and parks planning. She has a good working knowledge of the Reserves Act and has been engaged in a wide range of reserve management planning projects, and project managed masterplan and concept plan processes. She has also prepared assessments of park acquisitions, infrastructure proposals and park management issues, and has a breadth of experience in stakeholder liaison, mana whenua engagement and public consultation.
Annette holds a Bachelor of Arts (maj. Geography).

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. Former World Urban Parks - Deputy Chairperson

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.

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

Katherine Howard

Senior Consultant

Katherine is skilled in parks, environment and recreation; planning, strategy, design, and policy. After more than 15 years working with municipalities in Australia and Canada, she has become particularly adept at teasing out complexity to find practical opportunities.
An expert problem solver, strategy coach and facilitator; developing strong and constructive client relationships.
For the City of Vancouver’s Board of Parks and Recreation, Katherine orchestrated the creation of the award-winning Parks and Recreation Services Master Plan – VanPlay.
Katherine is based in our Melbourne office.
Bachelor of Science - Geography: Urban and Regional Planning, and Environmental Sciences

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

Todd Reichardt


Todd joins as a Director of Xyst Canada, following a 29-year career within the Parks team of City of Calgary. He has held management portfolios for urban forestry, water management, business and asset strategies, festivals and events, cultural landscapes, park infrastructure and pathways. Todd has a highly developed entrepreneurial spirit and innovative business acumen; he looks to provide creative solutions for the benefit of communities. His background in entomology and zoology along with extensive experience in pest management led him to create and co-host a syndicated television show, Bugs and Blooms.
Todd holds a Master’s Certificate of Municipal Leadership, a Master of Science – Medical Entomology/Zoology and a Bachelor of Science of Agriculture – Entomology.

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, and has been involved in 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

Olivia Conroy


With a Bachelor of Geography, Olivia is a passionate, outdoor enthusiast that began her career as an outdoor guide.
Olivia has exceptional critical thinking, problem solving and research skills and brings extensive experience collecting and analysing data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). At Xyst she provides effective and efficient project planning, management and support including ArcGIS and QGIS, to process, analyse and map spatial data. She is proficient at sourcing, compiling and manipulating raw spatial data to perform analysis and has the capability to produce effective map visualisations to support analytical results.
Olivia has a Bachelor of Science (maj. Geography) and holds Certificates III and IV Outdoor Recreation along with a current Working With Children Check.

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 regularly engaged in intercept surveys, observational studies and data analysis and is strongly involved with our subscription-based benchmarking program - Yardstick.
Alison is based in our Nelson office.
She holds a Bachelor in Hort Science, Massey University and Adult Teaching certification.

Alice Heather


With over 20 years in local government and nine in consultancy, Alice is highly regarded across the industry and has had involvement with many councils and government agencies throughout NZ and in Australia. She is a highly experienced senior executive, with a strong track record.
Alice offers a broad range of experience encompassing facility, operational and contract management, policy and strategic development, with a strong focus on parks and recreation, aquatics, community facilities and community development. She is adept at building a strong rapport with clients and stakeholders, and is valued for her participative leadership style and creative strategic thinking.
Alice has a Bachelor of Horticultural Science

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 is currently Co-Chair of the RA Midlands regional committee.
He has held voluntary roles within community and charitable trusts, and is a director of a pool management and aquatic services delivery company in, Napier.
Bachelor of Leisure Studies - University of Waikato. Diploma in Applied Sports Studies - Auckland Institute of Technology.

Anna McElrea

Senior Consultant

Prior to joining Xyst, Anna worked in a variety of recreation planner and team leader roles throughout her 15 year professional career at Waipā District Council, Auckland Council, Auckland Regional Council and Franklin District Council. She has experience developing Long Term Plans, reserve management plans, assessing complex concession and resource consent applications and leading operational projects.
Within the tourism sector, Anna spent time as both a sea kayaking and a glacier guide. She has a strong sense of adventure, active leadership skills and a supportive customer services focus.
Anna holds a Master in Resource and Environmental Planning (1st Class Hons), a Bachelor of Science (double major in Ecology and Physical Geography) and a Certificate in Outdoor Recreation. She also holds qualifications in Te Pōkaitahi Tikanga (Mātauranga Māori) and Ataarangi Te Reo Māori.

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.
Eric is an ARPro – Accredited recreation professional

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. She has sat on their NZ committee for two years and is currently Co-Chair of their Midlands regional committee. 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

Debbie Cook

Company Administrator

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, her wide range of skills provides support across the business, assisting in research, presentations and community engagements.
London Chamber of Commerce Private Secretarial Certificate, Bilingual; Certificate of Journalism, London College of Printing.

Mark Smith

Senior Consultant

Mark is an exceptional leader with over 20 years’ experience in establishing operational optimisation across diverse activities. Prior to joining Xyst, he held a 16-year career with Tauranga City Council, most recently in the role of Manager Parks and Recreation. He is recognised nationally as a leader in the delivery of outstanding parks.
Mark brings great organisational skills, a serious pedigree in asset management and developed skills in project management.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Science: Human Geography and a Diploma in Geography, along with an Institute of Strategic Leadership Programme certification.

Anne Relling


As asset management practices were introduced into the Department of Conservation, Anne took on roles of implementing AM practices across Fiordland after a stint in the DOC Wellington office. She also worked for over 20 years in the central and local government parks sector. In her spare time she was Chair of the Coastal Pathway Society, the precursor to the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Her interest in walkways was met with a role at Queenstown Lakes District Council as Project Manager Walkways prior to establishing her own recreation and parks consultancy.
Anne is a past Lincoln University graduate holding a Diploma in Parks and Recreation Management.
She is also a Registered Play Inspector International Level 2.

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 engineering and botany provides the foundations of a multi-outcome approach to parks and recreation issues.
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons); Diploma in Civil Engineering; Bachelor of Science (Botany); COPs inc Fundamentals of Transport Engineering, Environmental Law, Social Impact Assessment.

Tina Zheng

Graduate Landscape Architect

Tina joined Xyst in late 2021 to work on specific project engagements that will provide opportunities for her to be involved in multidisciplinary environments, further developing her skills and knowledge. Passionate about landscape and architecture, she brings a fresh approach and strong creative and critical thinking skills to her design concepts.
Tina has developed a strong set of technical and artistic skills - using graphic software and hand drawing - and is highly competent in multiple software programs including the Adobe Creative Suite, SketchUp and AutoCAD.
Tina holds a Master of Landscape and Architecture, Bachelor of Landscape and Architecture, Bachelor of Agronomy in Plant Protection and a Bachelor of Management in Bureau Administration.

Tom O'Neill

Graduate Consultant

Tom has a genuine interest in the sport and recreation sector, and works closely with our consultancy team to provide support on local government projects.
With six years’ work experience at four councils working within their aquatic facilities and as a research assistant within a recreation and sports business development unit, Tom has gained experience in market research and analysis, staff and event management, logistics, change management and human resource.
In 2018 and 2019, Tom was sponsored by Recreation Aotearoa, receiving their New Recreation Professional Scholarship award. He was also a top 10 finalist in the Business Startup Challenge (Entre) in 2021. He holds a Master of Business (maj. In Management), Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management (maj. In Marketing) and a National Certificate in Recreation and Sport Level 3.

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.

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 to 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

Brett Oldland


Brett brings an enthusiasm for open space and a tenacity for “getting it done”, along with over 10 years’ experience in horticulture, including operations, administration, planning and asset management having held a number of positions with the City of Adelaide Council and operating his own horticulture service business. He is skilled in project delivery, horticulture administration, data capture, process improvement analysis and asset management and holds a key understanding of Asset Management levels of service and how operational maintenance forms a key part of the asset lifecycle in service delivery.
Brett holds a Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning, a Diploma of Horticulture and a Diploma of Management.

Inez Crawford

Research Assistant

Working as a sub-consultant on various projects, Inez had a close association with Xyst for five years, prior to joining our Australian team in 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.

Adelaide | Melbourne | Brisbane | Sydney | Auckland | Tauranga | Hawkes Bay | Wellington | Nelson | Queenstown | Christchurch | Dunedin | Whangarei | Calgary