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, Nelson, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.  The Canadian office is located in Edmonton. 

 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.
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 3 years. Prior to this she was employed in roles within Taupo DC as 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.
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, co-ordination of survey resources, programming of work schedules, undertaking of field surveys, training, quality control and data entry.

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.
Master of Planning (with Distinction); Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Environmental Management) - University of Otago

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 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.

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.

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 our Xyst office in Napier. Before settling in NZ, she was a journalist in the UK for a weekly gardening magazine. Her pathway here has taken her from freelance writing for various publications to permanent roles in agribusiness. Most recently she was HR Coordinator for a large agricultural company in Hawkes Bay, working from the farm environment and having additional responsibility for payroll, executive support, communications, and website design and maintenance.

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 and created trail running events. Philip undertook further degrees in Recreation and Sport and Health Science, and is now finishing a PhD in Exercise Physiology. Philip is employed as a part-time consultant in our Napier office whilst completing his studies.

Kathy Moore

Senior Consultant

Kathy has worked in the recreation industry for over 30 years. She has a strong engagement with aquatic services, holding various qualifications within the industry, and has held services/facilities management roles for council aquatic centres, district community and school pools. Other key areas include recreational and asset management for parks, reserves and sports grounds.
ARPro – Accredited recreation professional. Member of NZRA Facility Design Peer Group. Member of Yardstick Benchmarking and Poolsafe Advisory Groups

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.

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.

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