Chris Rutherford


I founded Xyst in 2002 and since then we have grown the company to the scale it is today.  Currently I manage the Australian branch from Melbourne, focusing on identifying opportunities for our company to work with like-minded clients and interact with our wonderful team around projects, opportunities, training and challenges.

I endeavour to provide support and an environment where the team can flourish and grow.

I strive to treat people in a way that I would like to be treated and encourage the team to be the best they can be.

It’s been an amazing role for 20+ years with Xyst, seeing it grow and flourish based on a mix of the quality of the work we produce and importantly the wonderful people who have joined the Xyst team. Being at work has been a pleasure.

My expertise

I have always had a passion for the outdoors, starting my career as a gardener undertaking the first part of an apprenticeship in amenity horticulture while working as part of an arborist team. I went on to study arboriculture in 1979 when the industry was at its infancy in the United Kingdom. Later I studied recreation management at Loughborough University, United Kingdom.

My work is founded on a deep passion for the outdoors. I have always had a love of gardens, trees and public spaces for recreation, and have enjoyed competitive sport for my entire life. I bring this to work with me every day.


  • Diploma in Recreational Management (ILAM Diploma), Loughborough University
  • Royal Forestry Society Certificate in Arboriculture
  • National Certificate in Horticulture (Arboriculture), Merrist Wood College of Horticulture
  • Traffic Control Management, Level 1 Basic TC


  • ARPro (Accredited Recreational Professional) awarded July 2006 ongoing
  • CIPP (Certified International Parks Professional) awarded 2014 ongoing
  • Recreation Aotearoa (NZRA) Fellow bestowed in 2016
  • Ian Galloway Cup recipient 2007 – for excellence and personal contribution
  • World Urban Parks Asia Pacific – leader 2002 – 2018
  • World Urban Parks Deputy Leader – 2018 – 2021

Xyst in action

We have been privileged to work on many inspiring projects throughout the years, seeing the evolution of our parks and outdoor spaces. The development of trails, which Xyst has been involved in over the past 20 + years has provided an increased opportunity to explore the environment for our wider communities.

As the architect of the Yardstick projects it has been rewarding to see the project established in Canada, Australia and at times used in South Africa and parts of Europe.

The executive placement roles at Gore, Waikato District, Mackenzie District, MPDC have also been challenging and rewarding, as the organisation usually needs steady leadership in a time of stress or with staff shortages. When completed, it’s a wonderful feeling to have served in the role and made new friends along the way.

One of our key benefits we bring to our communities is to find an alternative practical approach to making our communities stronger. Our ability to both be aware of best practice and to strive to find best practice solutions at fair value for our clients is part of our success.

Our Xyst team are very engaged in their own lives with their communities running community events, being active runners, walkers, hockey players, boaties, anglers and trampers.



The management of trees and the urban forest is vital to mitigating the effects of climate change and to the health and wellbeing of communities

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Service Delivery

From procuring and managing contractors to the practical implementation of strategic work, we can help you to deliver services efficiently

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Along with Yardstick, our international benchmarking program for local government, if you need research to make good decisions, we can get it for you

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With the growing demand for land and space, we can provide you with efficient strategies and solutions for managing cemeteries

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From design and planning to maintenance, we can help to ensure people have a great experience when they enjoy your campgrounds and facilities

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Asset Management

Having accurate information about assets allows you to make practical, workable decisions about maintaining and developing community spaces

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My Projects

Howie Park Concept Plan

Xyst undertook consultation with key stakeholders and the community to understand how the park was used and to identify key issues and opportunities to enhance

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Kiwirail land use options

The project considered opportunities for use of land that Council leases from KiwiRail. Xyst undertook desktop research and stakeholder consultation to inform potential future opportunities.

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