Meet the South Georgia Expedition Team

Inspiring Explorers - South Georgia 2023


Find out more about 22 Kiwis selected for Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ – South Georgia

Charlie Thomas

Age 21, Waiheke Island

Bird lover, artist and remote island enthusiast, Charlie works and lives on Waiheke Island as the Monitoring Technician for Te Korowai o Waiheke and has spent the last four and a half years working full time in conservation.

His passion for seabirds and wildlife conservation has led him to islands all over the Hauraki Gulf and even as far as the sub-Antarctic Snares and Auckland Islands. In 2020, Charlie spent nine months living on and restoring one of the world’s most remote islands, Kure Atoll. Kure is the furthest island in the Hawaiian archipelago with very limited connection to the outside world. He was one of a team of four people on the island working to eradicate invasive species and remove marine debris from the coastline, sharing their 88 hectare home with over 55,000 albatross. This experience inspired him to raise awareness about these remote, but incredibly important, wildlife refuges and the issues they are facing due to human impact.

Charlie is v looking forward to experiencing all South Georgia has to offer and is excited and grateful for the opportunity to explore and learn about a place rich with such incredible history and biodiversity.

Cole Yeoman

Age 23, Invercargill

Cole is a photographer and video journalist, with a passion for telling stories that uplift important Kaupapa and engage people in meaningful action.

His deep care for humanitarian, social, and environmental issues lead to an advocacy role with World Vision, speaking in hundreds of schools across New Zealand and growing an interest in encouraging and equipping people to respond effectively. Seeing photo and video as a powerful way to tell those stories, Cole studied a bachelor’s degree in Screen and Television at the NZ Broadcasting School, which led to work at Whakaata Māori and eventually into his current video journalism role at the Otago Daily Times in Invercargill.

Cole enjoys spending time in native bush, mountains, or rugged coast, and relishes time exploring and travelling with friends and whānau, often in his little half-converted van. He enjoys any excuse to get outdoors, tramping, camping, longboarding, kayaking, rock climbing and surfing.

Cole is super stoked to be joining the expedition to South Georgia, and is particularly excited about the opportunity to take in the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the sub-Antarctic with a great team of people.

Destiny Martin

Age 18, Christchurch

Destiny is currently working towards completing their NCEA level 3 at Te Aratai College. Their passion for learning drives their career pathway into a desire to teach history and english at secondary school level, right through to university lecturing. They have many leadership roles within their school, and are currently the Deputy Head Student, Māori Prefect, and Board of Trustees student representative for 2023.  Destiny is currently studying English, drama, music, physical education, and even has their own business called Rārangakete, for their Year 13 business studies. They hope that in this way, they can promote the Māori community within Christchurch, and inspire other young rangatahi through their academic achievements.

Destiny is interested in traveling the world and diving deep into different cultures, history, and religion. They say that there is always room for learning, and hope to achieve this wherever they go. Destiny hopes that the South Georgia expedition will be their first step to this goal. From this expedition, they hope that they can further develop their leadership skills, become an ambassador for the Antarctic Heritage Trust and wildlife, and gain life-changing experiences along the way. Destiny says their biggest challenge will be to adjust to a newer, colder, environment, however is looking forward to sharing their experiences with younger students within their home region when they return home.

Gemma Wyllie

Age 25, Auckland

Gemma is a padiatric nurse working at Starship Hospital in Auckland. She cares for children with a variety of complex conditions from all around New Zealand, specialising in respiratory, renal and gastroenterology services. She loves working with children and their families and considers it a privilege helping them through their hardest days and celebrating their milestones. She enjoys the team setting and the constantly changing environment which brings unique challenges and experiences.

Growing up around boats, Gemma enjoys activities like swimming, kayaking, and island exploring. She gained her PADI dive license and loves to explore marine life. A keen skier, she takes any opportunity to take to the mountains with friends and family.

Gemma has earned a Distinction qualification from the Royal Lifesaving Society of New Zealand and the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. She has a love of adventure and enjoys hiking, cycling and volunteering. She has been published in the New Zealand Journal of Nursing, Kai Tiaki, exploring the theory to practice gaps in nursing education.

Gemma has a strong appreciation for nature. This passion led her to pursue a degree in science majoring in biology alongside her nursing degree. She is looking forward to having an adventure exploring South Georgia Island with its captivating wildlife.

Henry Conquer

Age 28, Queenstown

After teenage years focused on academic and video game pursuits, Henry was introduced to outdoor adventures when he was nineteen.

Henry quickly developed his passion for exploration and shared experiences with others. His hiking escapades brought him up above the bushline and into the alpine, where he fell in love with ski touring. In the evening (or on questionable weather days) Henry can be found teaching partner dancing.

In 2019, Henry deepened his love of all things mountains by volunteering and participating in multiple alpine expeditions in Nepal. More recently he has taken up bike-packing through Aotearoa and Europe as a means of low emissions travel. Henry has been enjoying the slower pace that comes with cycling, and its ability to establish a deeper connection with both nature and people.

Henry is determined in his purpose of encouraging others to find their own outdoors experiences, and the personal growth that so often comes with it. He is eager to continue with this goal during the Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ South Georgia, and working alongside the Antarctic Heritage Trust to achieve this.

Jenny Sahng

Age 28, Auckland

Data scientist by day, climate activist by night, Jenny is on the founding team at Multitudes (, a kiwi tech start-up which helps teams improve their wellbeing, collaboration, and performance through data. With a keen interest in how technology impacts our world, she likes to explore how we can use data and artificial intelligence in ways that are ethical and empowering, not reductive.

Outside of work, Jenny is a co-founder of Climate Club Aotearoa (, a weekly newsletter and community for busy people who feel overwhelmed by climate change but aren’t sure how to help. They make climate action easy by translating the work of scientists and experts into actionable five, 15, or 30-minute chunks. She has also volunteered in the past for organisations promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, youth civic engagement, and ethical investment.

In her spare time, Jenny likes to go for walks, read, doodle, dance, and pat dogs

Kaitlyn Martin (Royal Society Te Apārangi)

Age 32, Christchurch

Kaitlyn is a Pukenga Lecturer of STEM Education at Te Kaupeka Ako Faculty of Education at Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha, the University of Canterbury.  She joins the expedition representing the Royal Society Te Apārangi as one of their Early Career Researchers.

Kaitlyn is a science educator, researcher, and communicator who has worked with students from ECE, primary, secondary, and tertiary levels in STEM. Her interests span formal and informal science learning experiences with a special passion for the areas of biology, astronomy, and digital technologies.

Her research aims to develop our understandings of how to improve STEM attitudes, literacy, and aspirations in a world in need of informed, active, and critical citizens.

She enjoys exploring Aotearoa, the world, the universe, and raising a semi-aquatic turtle named Buzo. Buzo thought about going to South Georgia, but likes his tank water at a balmy 22 to 24°C year-round, so decided it would be better if Kaitlyn went!

Kelly Davenport (MetService)

Age 27, Wellington

Kelly is a passionate meteorologist driven by a genuine love for the great outdoors and science. Her journey led her to complete a Master of Meteorology in collaboration with MetService at Victoria University Wellington, and she now brings her knowledge to the role of aviation meteorologist at MetService’s forecast room.

Before diving into meteorology, Kelly worked for the Department of Conservation, exploring the rugged landscapes of Aotearoa. From the predator-free islands off the coast of Whangārei to the backcountry of the Southern Alps, she played an active role in biodiversity monitoring and pest control. Kelly’s commitment to conservation continues as she regularly volunteers for Predator Free Wellington.

When she’s not deciphering weather patterns, you can find Kelly fully immersed in her outdoor passions. Whether rock climbing, surfing, or kayaking, she embraces the thrill of pushing her limits. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she recently took on a backyard ultra, testing her limits of endurance.

Kelly is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming expedition to South Georgia, where she will have the chance to delve into the region’s distinctive climate and meteorology. Taking the lead in the meteorological projects, she is excited to contribute her skill and passion to make valuable contributions to our understanding of this unique area.

Kelsey Waghorn

Age 28, Whakatane

In high school, Whakatane based Kelsey Waghorn fell in love with the sea through a marine science class. Her passion for the ocean stayed with her as she went on to study marine science at university, and work on a boat for the next five years up until the end of 2019, when she was one of 47 people caught in the Whakaari/White Island eruption.

Since then, the main focus in Kelsey’s life has been on physical and mental rehabilitation, but she tries to get out on the water whenever she can.

Kelsey has always wanted to go to Antarctica, Alaska, Africa and the Galápagos Islands. She loves to have a laugh, and has recently started to teach reformer pilates after discovering it through rehabilitation. Lately, Kelsey has started to talk more publicly about her recovery over the last three and a half years, and has been pushing for more help for people with PTSD, as the right help seems to be much too hard to find.

Kelsey is really looking forward to this opportunity in South Georgia, and can’t wait to see what she can squeeze out of it!

Lawrence Rothwell

Age 30, Wellington

Originally from Scotland, Lawrence has lived in New Zealand for twenty years and works as a scaffolder in Wellington.

After completing secondary school, he studied languages at university in Christchurch, and then completed a Masters in Strategic Studies at Victoria University. Following university, Lawrence was employed as a Policy Analyst, but found he didn’t enjoy this, so went on to teach English in Taiwan for a year, something he thoroughly enjoyed. Once the COVID pandemic began, Lawrence found himself back in New Zealand and is now really happy with his new job and lifestyle in Wellington.

Lawrence loves all team sports, and usually spends his weekends playing football and touch rugby, as well as surfing, water-skiing and motorbiking touring. He also volunteers with the Wellington Coastguard once a month, loves being out on boats, and is currently working towards becoming a qualified skipper for his Coastguard crew.

One thing that I am really looking forward to about this expedition is the opportunity to see a part of the world that very few people would have seen. Going there as part of a team with 21 other adventurous people is a really exciting prospect for him.

Lily Green (Mount Worsley team)

Age 20, Dunedin

Lily works for Dunedin Adventures as a rock climbing and abseiling instructor. She is passionate about the environment and getting into the outdoors and enjoys capturing this time spent in the outdoors with videography.

Late last year, Lily spent three weeks as part of a team on a new project called the Piopiotahi Ecosystem Restoration Project (PERP) in the Milford Sound During this time, she and a colleague put out approximately 60 DOC200 predator traps around the township area. She uses time in the outdoors such as this work in Piopiotahi, to create videos of her experiences.

Lily is an avid explorer and adventurer and spends whatever time she can in the outdoors, whether this be rock climbing in Dunedin, or climbing a mountain in Fiordland. She is a passionate advocate of getting wāhine into the outdoors together.

Lily is part of the Mount Worsley climbing team.

Millie Mannering (Mount Worsley team)

Age 24, Wanaka

Millie’s connection to the environment is integral to her identity, whether it is ski touring throughout New Zealand’s glaciers or using closed circuit rebreather diving equipment to explore underwater environments. Millie investigated the impact of microplastics in coral reef ecosystems during her Master of Science (Marine Science) at the University of Otago, with fieldwork based at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Sponsored by Rolex, Millie has explored scientific research, education, communication and conservation pathways as the Our World Underwater Scholar. She has collaborated on projects across the High Arctic, Antarctica, multiple Pacific Ocean crossings and research sailing expeditions throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Having dived in all seven major oceanic bodies of water, Millie is driven to connect with like-minded individuals and organisations who work to further the understanding of our natural systems and improve ecological health.

Passionate about sharing and connecting people with the importance of our wild places, Millie enjoys expedition guiding in the Sub-Antarctic Islands. She has witnessed major environmental change in New Zealand, such as glacial retreat throughout the alpine regions and the impact of marine heatwaves on underwater ecosystems. Recognising the interconnectivity of our ecological systems, Millie’s passion for wilderness areas drives her desire to explore, understand and protect them. Millie is part of the Mount Worsley climbing team.

Peregrin Hyde

Age 28, Wellington

Peregrin of Ngāti Maniapoto is a seasoned educator and a driven creative innovator. He has worked for six years at Te Māra-a-Tāne Zealandia EcoSanctuary, where he passionately guides school groups and develops programs that advocate for the restoration of Aotearoa’s unique ecosystems.

In 2018, he sailed aboard the JODIES Resolution as New Zealand’s Education & Outreach Officer on an expedition which collected and studied the first ever core samples retrieved from an active undersea volcano.

Creatively, Peregrin keenly explores the intersection of art, nature, society and science. This is showcased in his unique microscope photography, which captures the extraordinary beauty of the little things, and also in his music, which utilises field recordings and synthesis to create atmospheric and evocative soundscapes.

In his spare time, Peregrin enjoys cycling, roller-skating, working with his friends to organise music and arts events and playing synthesizer in Wellington band Grains.

Porohu Hagai Noa

Age 17, Auckland

Porohu is of Cook Island Māori descent and attends Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in South Auckland. She describes herself as an outgoing person, “I always attempt to seek out the positive in every aspect of my life and I have many ‘dream’ goals in terms of the things I would still like to do, see, and to experience,” says Porohu. She loves playing sports and has represented Auckland and Counties Manukau in Rugby League, and her goal is to be selected for the NRLW.

She is currently enrolled in a Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills Level 3 course. Last year Porohu received a Prime Minister’s Award for Vocational Pathways, the first Year 12 to have achieved this honour. Building is her backup plan if she doesn’t make it to the NRLW, “So I have a Plan A and a Plan B for my future career!”.

Porohu is so excited and honoured to be selected to go on this expedition.

Rose Lasham

Age 20, Auckland

Rose Lasham is an artist currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Whitecliffe College.

Rose has a strong interest in climate change and aspires to evoke environmental stewardship as well as inspire people to have a responsibility towards our natural world. Through her art, she explores the deep interconnetion she feels when surrounded by nature. Recent artistic projects have placed a strong emphasis on the Anthropocene epoch and the permanence that our human entanglements, such as plastic, will have on nature. She is interested in seeing the first-hand effects of our climate crisis and how our actions implicate the biodiversity and composition of South Georgia.

Rose thrives to push herself and get out of her comfort zone.  Her adventure driven experiences include participating in various running events, completing a 21-day classical Outward Bound course and being a prefect of Raise Up, a YMCA group where she helped plan environmental events within her community. She is excited to have the opportunity to be part of the conservation efforts and preservation of South Georgia Island and incorporate this once in a lifetime opportunity into her art.

Rykien Amiatu

Age 17, Auckland

Rykien’s cultural roots are Samoan/Māori and he is a current student at Tangaroa College in South Auckland. Rykien is serving as one of three deputy headboys. He also plays rugby for the U18 Papatoetoe Panthers and is proud to be the captain of his team. Rykien is very passionate about sports and has grown up in a sporting environment.

The subjects he takes at school are physical education, photography, fitness studio, tourism and history. His favourite subjects relate to physical eduction, as they have opened up a pathway for him in the future, and also tourism because he has set himself a goal to travel before he settles in life.

Sam West (Mount Worsley team)

Age 29, Wanaka

Sam is a GIS/Remote sensing consultant in the forestry industry, and is based remotely in Wanaka. He doesn’t like sitting still, preferring instead to ski, bike or climb as much as possible.

A lifelong interest in the natural world led Sam to complete a Masters in Ecology at Otago University, where he studied tussock grassland distribution in Central Otago’s Pisa Range. Sam is passionate about our mountain environments, and is endlessly fascinated by the weather, flora and fauna that makes them special.

Sam shares a special Whānau link with the legacy of Antarctic exploration the Trust cares for. His grandfather, Dr John Findlay, was the expedition doctor on New Zealand’s TAE/IGY Expedition team that established Scott Base during the summer of 1956–57.

Sam is part of the Mount Worsley climbing team.

Sasha Cheng (Mount Worsley team)

Age 30, Hamilton

Sasha has had an intrepid and varied life to date. Taipei, Taiwan and Rangiora, South Island is his whakapapa, while a pursuit of a full life and aiming to leave things better than they were is his modus operandi. Starting from small town football and orienteering, he has since spent much time adventure racing and standing on podiums with his team of friends.

Most recently, he has reinvigorated his connection for the mountains, having spent much time in alpine territories with a new professional avalanche course under his belt.

In his professional and academic career his mahi has included being a doctor, a short work conversation with Ashley Bloomfield, door knocking for Greenpeace, and studying to gain a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies to understand how we can try to systemically increase equality and peace for all.

Despite all this, he has also never forgotten the importance of surfing, dancing, and having good conversations. He has a new job coming up working in environmental monitoring, and is excited to see where it leads him.

Sasha is a hard man to track down, but when you do, he says he is extremely grateful for having the opportunity to work hard for his dreams. Sasha is part of the Mount Worsley climbing team.

Savannah de Vos

Age 27, Dunedin

Savannah is a passionate and dedicated social studies, history, and English teacher with over five years of experience, a love for learning, and a desire to help others discover the joy of education. Growing up in Te Tai Tokerau and then Auckland, she was exposed to a diverse range of cultures and perspectives, which ignited her interest in history and social studies. She can often be found planning and marking with her husband, who is also a teacher.

Recently, Savannah made the decision to move to Dunedin to explore new opportunities and immerse herself in the natural beauty of the region. Her whakapapa is Ngāpuhi, Savannah takes great pride in her cultural heritage and is on a learning journey to feel more connected to her culture.

In her free time, Savannah enjoys exploring the great outdoors or curling up with a good book. As a vegan, she is passionate about living a sustainable and compassionate lifestyle and enjoys experimenting with new plant-based recipes. She is grateful for the opportunity to explore South Georgia alongside a diverse group of people, a dream destination for a history and nature enthusiast like herself.

Siobhan O’Connor

Age 25, Wellington

Siobhan is an exuberant explorer on a mission to make the world a more equitable place for people and the planet. As a child, the West Coast of Te Waipounamu guided Siobhan’s youthful spirit to a raging river, spirited forest, and lively ocean. Her journey since has naturally centred on the regeneration of people and planet, most recently as Co-Founder of FENWICK, which helps organisations enhance their governance through intergenerational thinking.

With a strong creative flair, Siobhan is passionate about carving out spaces and conversations to better support emerging leaders to contribute to intergenerational change. This has led her to diverse projects such as; advising Senior Leadership at Te Papa Atawhai and Manatū Mō Te Taiao, designing and establishing The Aotearoa Circle’s Rangatahi Advisory Panel, representing Aotearoa on the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, co-producing an environmental documentary ‘For the Blue’, conducting oceanic research in the South Pacific with NIWA and BLAKE, being a high-profile mentor for emerging leaders through GirlBossNZ, and inspiring tamariki across the country through Climate Change EdTech.

Te Aroha Devon

Age 28, Auckland

Te Aroha of Ngaiterangi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou & Ngāti Kahungunu, has made it her life’s mission to help and empower individuals, especially those from Māori and indigenous communities. Te Aroha has experience in nursing, research, and filmmaking. As a Māori Advisor in the youth mental health space, she leverages her extensive experience in healthcare to advocate for equitable opportunities and outcomes for youth.

Outside of her professional work, Te Aroha is an adventurer at heart and has a keen interest in exploring the outdoors. She enjoys spending her free time participating and volunteering in waka-ama, surfski, and the local Coastguard which speaks to her commitment to making a difference in the lives of those around her.

Te Aroha is eagerly anticipating the Antarctic Heritage Trust expedition, where she will have the chance to combine her love for adventure and storytelling. Alongside fellow explorers, Te Aroha hopes to inspire others, especially young people, using the power of storytelling. She believes that stories are a powerful tool for promoting perspective, understanding, and connecting people from all walks of life. She believes that her journey to South Georgia will inspire others to act and make a difference in their own communities and demonstrate that anyone, regardless of their background, can achieve their dreams if they work hard and stay committed.

Tegan Allpress

Age 24, Queenstown

Tegan of Ngāti Whakaue, Rongowhakaata,is an artist with a passion for making a positive impact in the world and helping people. She advocates for the creative industries, recognising the pivotal role creativity plays in promoting mental well-being and providing outlets for self-expression.

Tegan currently holds the position of Arts and Culture Administrator at Te Atamira, Queenstown’s newest arts and culture space. She played a fundamental role in the opening of Te Atamira in May 2022 and continues to contribute significantly in fostering a thriving creative community in Queenstown.

With a lifelong passion for creativity, Tegan primarily focuses on film photography in her artistic practice. She explores the concept of Tūrangawaewae, which translates to “a place to stand,” in her work. Tegan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First-Class Honours from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. Her current creative endeavours include mountain biking videography and crochet.

Outside of her artistic pursuits, Tegan finds joy in the great outdoors, whether she’s hiking, mountain biking, or running.