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

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.
Paul is an ARPro – Accredited recreation professional; CIPP – Certified international parks professional and a member of Tech IES - Technician Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand

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 a holder of the Ian Galloway Award and is an ARPro – Accredited recreation professional

Jenn Benden

Business Development Manager/ Principal Consultant

Jenn is an established and award-winning leader in the parks, sport and recreation sector and has worked across Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Jenn's experience spans a broad range of projects including strategic planning, advice, community engagement, business cases, and project management for community spaces and places. Her experience in non-profit sport management and multi-disciplinary team leadership is an asset she brings to any project, bridging the gap for community groups to realise their goals or by supporting infrastructure projects through recreation assessments and advice.
Jenn holds a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management, is an ARPro – Accredited recreation professional, Better Business Case Practitioner and is IAP2 certified.

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.

Eric Hamilton

Senior Consultant

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 is on the NZ committee 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. Elise holds B.S.R.M. MAppSc, is an Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro) and was awarded Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year 2021 by Recreation Aotearoa.

Anna McElrea

Senior Consultant

Anna has worked in a variety of recreation planner and team leader roles throughout her 15 year professional career. She has experience developing Long Term Plans, reserve management plans, assessing complex concession and resource consent applications and leading operational projects.
Anna 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.

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.

Jane Wright


Jane is an experienced and practical parks and reserves planner and developer, and community and civic landscaper, with over 11 years’ experience in the industry. Recent roles provided Jane with opportunities in parks and facilities operations, maintenance and management of parks, reserves, sports fields and community facilities. She has advised on urban and spatial design, and engaged in renewal and capital projects, including buildings, pavilions, cemeteries, public conveniences, playgrounds, walk and trailways. Jane is also a highly capable resource management consent technical advisory in relation to parks, reserves and facilities.
Jane has a Diploma in Technology (Landscape Design L.6), Certificate in Applied Science (Horticulture/Landscape Design) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Management).

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.
Troy holds the IPWEA Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning and is a member of Canadian Network of Asset Managers CNAM and International Asset Management, Calgary Chapter

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.

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.

Annette Campion


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).

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.

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.
Chris is an ARPro – Accredited recreation professional; CIPP – Certified international parks professional. He is a holder of the Ian Galloway Award, a Fellow - New Zealand Recreation Association and Former World Urban Parks - Deputy Chairperson

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.

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

Nick Redenbach


Nick has been involved in the horticultural industry for over 20 years, most recently in local government managing bushland programs and proposing new works and client projects. He brings extensive hort knowledge and experience with a background in managing maintenance programs for parks, gardens and roadside landscapes, local community engagement, site audits and hazard assessment, and innovative landscape design. At Xyst his role includes involvement in a long-term parks asset assessment project. His passion for the industry aligns with a desire to further develop his career and utilise his skills to achieve positive results for clients and local communities.
Nick holds certification in Horticulture IV, Bushland Management III, Fitness/Personal Training, Weed Management and Traffic Management.

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.

Susie Yeats

Survey Coordinator

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 survey project requirements, many of which are associated with our Yardstick program.

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.
Debbie holds theLondon Chamber of Commerce Private Secretarial Certificate, Bilingual and Certificate of Journalism, London College of Printing.

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.
Tarryn holds a Bachelor Sport and Outdoor Recreation and a Bachelor Business (Marketing).

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