Meet the Team


Meet the team 

Our tight-knit team may be small, but we think and act big. We work together like a well-oiled machine to represent the New Zealand Water Industry.

It is our priority to understand our members - what they need, and how we can help. If you have any questions please do get in touch.

Gillian Blythe 
Chief Executive (Tuma Matua)

Originally from the UK, I came to NZ to work on electricity reform in the mid 1990s. I worked on the design of competitive wholesale market, the split of ECNZ, and then spent 20 years at Meridian Energy in senior leadership positions across strategy and regulatory affairs. I joined Water New Zealand in July 2020. 

I am married to Chris, and the mother of Jack and Sam - both of whom are contemplating engineering careers - perhaps in water?  

gillian.blythe@waternz.org.nz
P 64 4 495 0896

Mumtaz Parker 
Training Development Manager (Kaiwhakahaere Whanaketanga Whakangungu)

I have responsibility for managing water sector training initiatives. This role inspires me as I am passionate about education and want to make a positive difference to people and communities. My background includes wide ranging operational and senior leadership roles within tertiary education and post graduate professional development services sectors. I have a Master of Professional Practice - Leadership, Chartered Manager designation and Fellowship with the Institute of Managers and Leaders.  

Training@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0893

Noel Roberts 
Technical Manager (Kaiwhakahaere Hangarau)

I came into the water sector from an electrical background and then followed my curiosity in to how to make processes more effective and efficient. I have operational and senior management experience for a water utility. This has helped me in my current role at Water New Zealand, which is effectively looking at what makes the Three Waters sector tick and identifying areas of opportunity to assist members. 

noel.roberts@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0892

Lesley Smith
Insights and Sustainability Advisor (Kaitātari Pārongo me Taiao)

I am excited about the role the water sector can have in responding to some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time, so working at Water New Zealand is a real privilege. My primary role is co-coordinating the National Performance Review, our annual performance assessment of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater service delivery around New Zealand. I also play a supporting role in delivering the technical projects for our member groups. Engaging with these committed volunteers around NZ is a huge source of inspiration and one of the best parts of my job. 

lesley.smith@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0899

Katrina Guy

Water Groups Coordinator (Kairuruku o ngā Rōpū Wai)

My role is to coordinate the special interest groups activities, communications and basically be their assistant.  One thing I want to bring to our special interest groups is inter-connectivity i.e. get them working together because there is a lot of cross overs in this industry. 

katrina.guy@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0891




Debra Harrington 
Communication Manager (Kaiwhakahaere Whakapā)

I joined Water New Zealand on the day that news of the Havelock North Water contamination event broke, so this certainly gave me a quick-fire baptism into water issues.  As we know, water has continued to be an incredibly dynamic and varied sector to be involved in and will no doubt continue to be for some years yet!  Prior to Water New Zealand, I spent some years working in communications and advocacy roles - mainly in education and international development. Like many of my communications colleagues, I began my working career in journalism, mainly in radio and TV current affairs and news programmes. 

E media@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0895


Renée Butler 

Marketing Coordinator (Kairuruku Whakatairanga)

Born and raised in Whanganui, I made the big move to Hamilton to study Marketing and Strategic Management. Here is where I found my love for the marketing realm, passion for building relationships, and creating innovative strategies. I joined  Water New Zealand in January 2020 tasked with promoting the water sector as a great place to work. Outside of work, I enjoy heading down to the local surf break and attempting to not fall of my board.

E renee.butler@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0897




Debbie Laing
Advertising Manager

I'm here to help you get your message out to the water sector via our quality publications. Whether your aim is to increase awareness of your company or brand, to launch new products, keep your current range front and centre of the water sector, or to share insights on what you can do - our printed and digital platforms give you a very targeted platform to reach the industry.  

E advertising@waternz.org.nz
P +64 6 364 2363
  +64 27 455 0223

Pip Donnelly
Membership Administrator (Āpiha Whakahaere Mahi)

I joined Water New Zealand in early 2017 tasked with managing the membership database and knowing very little about the Three Waters.  I came from Barnardos another Not For Profit - but a very different sector.  I enjoy interacting with our ever increasing and broad membership and my water knowledge is definitely improving! 

E enquiries@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 472 8925



Paris Elwood
Administrator (Āpiha Whakahaere Mahi)

I joined the Water New Zealand Administration team while executive administrator Amy Samuelu is on maternity leave in 2021. Prior to this role, I studied at Massey University for a Bachelor of Creative Media Design degree so as well as providing administrative support, I enjoy designing a wide range of collateral including pamphlets, banners, templates and posters. 

E paris.elwood@waternz.org.nz
P +64 4 495 0894

Amy Samuelu 
Executive Administrator / Association Secretary

Currently on Maternity Leave