Deep South Engagement Team

The Engagement Team is made up of Dr. Wendy Saunders, Science Lead, Susan Livengood, Director of Partnerships, Dr. Joanna Goven, Evaluation Lead, Dr. Gary Steel, Quantitative Evaluation Investigator, Lorraine Taylor, Engagement Coordinator and Alexandra Keeble, Senior Communications Advisor.  Please email us and we will forward your email to the right person.

Dr. Wendy Saunders - Science Leader of Engagement (GNS Science)

Wendy Saunders is a social scientist specialising in land use planning and natural hazards – whether geological or weather-related, and including hazards that are exacerbated by climate change. Wendy has worked for many years at GNS Science, where a core part of her work is engaging with communities, councils and others, to improve the way natural hazards are incorporated into planning for land use.

In 2013, Wendy was a World Social Science Fellow in Risk Interpretation and Action, and in 2017 she won a New Zealand Planning Institute award for best practice, in relation to an online hazard planning toolkit she developed for councils.

She is also a member of the Mātauranga Māori and Governance programmes in the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge. 

Dr. Joanna Goven - Evaluation Lead (Independent)

Joanna directs the Engagement Programme's evaluation work. The purpose of evaluation is to determine whether or to what extent Deep South engagement activities are meeting the six strategic objectives and, in so doing, to learn how future engagement activities might better meet those objectives. Joanna earned her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in political science. She taught political science at the University of Canterbury for many years and now directs Kukupa Research Ltd.

For the past 15 years Joanna has engaged in critical social-scientific analysis of science and technology, with a particular focus on public engagement with science and technology.

Dr. Gary Steel - Quantitative Evaluation Investigator (Lincoln University)

Gary’s principal role is to advise on the design, conduct, and analysis of quantitative research into evaluation. This includes ensuring that numerical measurement of Deep South engagement objectives occurs in a valid and reliable manner. At times, he also provides statistical analysis of data gathered by the evaluation team.

Gary has an extensive background in the methodology and application of statistics in social science research, and particularly in survey design and psychometrics. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, where he specialised in social and environmental psychology. Gary has been teaching at Lincoln University for the past twenty years, including courses in advanced social science quantitative research.

Susan Livengood - Director of Partnerships (Victoria University of Wellington)

Susan's role involves building relationships with key sectors to help support planning and decision making.  It’s all about connecting the science to decision makers – and helping to ensure the science is focused on what decision makers need to know.

Susan in well-versed in understanding stakeholders’ needs. Prior to joining the Deep South, she was a senior adviser to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and a senior policy adviser at the Ministry for the Environment.  Her experience also spans working as a journalist for newspapers here and in the United Kingdom, and working on communications in the energy industry. Susan holds a Masters in Science (Environmental Policy, Planning and Regulation) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Communication Studies from the Auckland University of Technology.

Lorraine Taylor - Engagement Coordinator (Victoria University of Wellington)

Lorraine coordinates public and internal engagement from creating and managing website content, to profiling scientists and projects, to coordinating events in local communities. 

Lorraine has a background in event management and communications, operations and finance for businesses and community organisations.  Six years ago she returned to Victoria University to study psychology and science communication.  As a communicator rather than a scientist, Lorraine’s focus is on creating opportunities for people to engage with the Challenge, the science and people, and the implications of climate change for New Zealand’s future.


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Latest news and updates

Creating a climate-safe Dunedin through community-driven climate action

2018 may well be the year New Zealand gets serious about adapting to our changing climate. Last year, and the start of this one, gave all of us plenty of opportunities to experience a future in which creeping sea level rise and extreme weather – from drought to flood to surprise storm surges – make day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive.

Stormwater, wastewater and climate change: Impacts on our economy, environment, culture and society

In October 2017, the Deep South Challenge released a report into the state of the nation’s storm and waste water infrastructure, in the face of a changing climate. The report garnered significant media attention – not surprising given the infrastructure is currently valued at well over $20 billion.

The Deep South Challenge awards funding to investigate climate-resilient, high-value crops for the whānau of Omaio

The whānau of Omaio in the Bay of Plenty have joined forces with NIWA researchers to explore the viability of climate-resilient, high-value crops for the rohe. The group has won a $250,000 research grant under the Vision Mātauranga programme of the Deep South National Science Challenge to better understand Omaio’s changing climate and how it might support the community to create a local economy based around a high-value product like kiwi fruit.