The Green Lab is a small organisation with a big heart. Our team is comprised of four part-time permanent staff and a whānau of skilled contractors. We are a registered charity with a governance board.

Operations Team

Khye Hitchcock

they/them, Tangata Tiriti

Khye joined The Green Lab in late 2018, and has been at the helm since early 2020. Khye’s facilitation, project management, and strategic skills have  been honed over a decade in creative and community focussed non-profits. They have a Masters in Fine Art, (University of Auckland 2012) and have held various curatorial roles including at Artspace Aotearoa, SCAPE Public Art, and Toi Moroki CoCA. They are interested in generosity, and collaborative and experimental modes of practice which prioritise community and wellbeing over profit. From time to time, Khye also works with Te Pūtahi – Centre for Architecture and Citymaking, with Creative New Zealand, and as an independent producer/curator. 
Khye was raised between Whanganui and the UK, has lived in Osaka and Auckland, and has called Ōtautahi home since 2015. You can read more about their motivation here. Khye lives with their partner Kahu, son Jamie, bestie, Audrey, and their needy cat, Pusspuss. They love being outdoors, cooking, and time with whānau.


Katie Hallam

Katie Hallam

she/her, Tangata Tiriti
Communications Manager
When Katie joined The Green Lab in 2021, Khye suggested to her that, ‘it really is the perfect job for you’. Katie was involved with community and environmental activism before completing a BA Hons in Film and English Literature in 2007. Katie has a conscientious approach to communications and has used these skills exclusively for non-profits, including The Conservation Volunteers (a charity working to connect people and green spaces), a children’s health charity and the magnificent YSP. In 2015, she came to Aotearoa with her whānau, became Communications Manager for  CoCA Toi Moroki and opened her heart and mind to the creative and cultural landscape of a new country. Katie took a break  in 2018-2021 to work as a gardener, develop a creative practice and take care of her young tamariki. Katie also works part time for her local Oxford Gallery and serves as a Volunteer Firefighter. 

Ngaio Cowell

Ngaati Te Ata, Ngāti Porou and Tauiwi
Mātanga Taiao Māori

Ngaio joined the Green Lab in 2022. After working in a variety of different retail spaces in a management capacity around Aotearoa and in the UK, Ngaio began working for Rekindle as Programme Coordinator as well as a tutor of Raranga and Resourceful Kai Workshops. Ngaio holds a Diploma in Communication Arts and Design from the Design and Arts College of New Zealand (2014). She is currently completing her Kawai Raupapa- Te Whare Pora at Te Wānanaga o Aotearoa. Ngaio is passionate advocate for te Ao Māori and the environment, and is involved with Māori Kai and Land Soveriegnty organisations. You can find Ngaio in the garden growing her own kai or in the Ngahere spending time with the trees and the birds.

Kaela Metz

she/her, Tangata Tiriti  
Accounts and Funding Coordinator

Kaela joined The Green Lab in early 2021 to contribute her skills and experience in finances and fundraising for non-profit organisations. Having worked and volunteered in community based groups like Youthline, The Women’s Centre and Project Lyttelton over the last 15 years, she has a real passion for wellbeing and ensuring that everyone has a voice and place within their community. Kaela was born and raised in sunny Tauranga, spent time living and working in Australia and has now called Ōtautahi home for 15 years. Aside from her mahi at The Green Lab, Kaela immerses herself in a creative practice of fine arts, finding joy and peace in designing and creating sustainable, colourful collage pieces.

Kahu Tumai

she/her/ia, Tainui: Ngāti Naho, Ngāti Pōu
Kaiārahi Kaupapa Māori, Whare Tīhau, Understorey Host

Kahu Tumai is a takatāpui Māmā with a background in academia, writing,  and community work. She holds an Honours Degree in Māori and Indigenous studies and Human Services studies, both of which inform her approach to working with minority communities. Kahu currently works  Kaiārahi Kaupapa Māori for The Green Lab and as Kaiwhakahaere Takatāpui for InsideOUT.

Lisa  Terenteva

she/her, Tangata Tiriti
Plant Person

Lisa joined The Green Lab in 2021; she reached out to us seeking community and offering her skills with indoor plants. After a short period of volunteering proved her skillset invaluable, Lisa became The Green Lab’s Plant Person. Originally  from Russia, Lisa has a degree  in Environmental Engineering from Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering and also has a Certificate in Critical Alignment Yoga Therapy Teaching. You’ll see Lisa around our pop up projects minding the space, caring for the plants, and propagating our collection.

Rik Livermore

they/them, Tangata Tiriti
Wednesday Writers, Queer Games Night, and Understorey Host

RikTheMost (they/ them) is a vegan, queer, non-binary, polyamorous spoken word artist and producer, who spends most of their spare time making homophobes feel uncomfortable.  Originally from the UK – Rik has been commissioned by the BBC; toured internationally as a poet; represented Australia and Aotearoa on the world slam stage; is New Zealand Poetry Society’s Vice President and currently resides here on the prestigious “Exceptional Talent In The Arts Visa” where they run the biweekly online spoken word event and community “Your Place Events”

Outside of performing and creating shows – Rik can be found at understorey (usually by the kettle!), facilitating all manner of beautiful community workshops and gatherings, including our regular Wednesday Writers group and Queer Games Night. 


George Sapsford

they/them; Tangata Tiriti
Community, Design & Build

George joined The Green Lab in 2022 as a build hand for the Mairehau community garden project, and is looking forward to evolving their new role towards facilitating the relationship between materials and environment and developing community conscious design and connection for Ōtautahi spaces in 2023. After acting in the Aro Valley Community Council during their studies in Pōneke, George hopes to combine their operational and practical skills to empower tactile and accessible resilience mātauranga which can in turn nourish our lands and communities. Outside of their construction and industrial design mahi, George also works as a tattoo artist and event organiser, enjoying time spent between cities and connecting with new communities.

Sam Hitchens

they/them/ia, Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou
Kaihāpai Reo, Whare Tīhau

Sam Hitchens is a speaker and student of te reo Māori who is passionate about creating accessible opportunities for their people to connect with their reo rangatira. Having begun their own journey of language reclamation as an adult, they are  familiar with the challenges learners face and recognises the need for safe spaces in which to practice and find community. Sam is also a musician and vocal coach, currently providing Māori pronunciation support for singers while completing their Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies at Te Puna Wānaka, Ara.

Moi (Lene Mari Hamre) Halvorsen


Moi is a student from Norway who is doing an internship regarding community economies return on investment (CEROI) with The Green Lab and Prof. Kelly Dombrosky (now at Massey University). The internship is a part of her master’s in Globalisation and Sustainable Development, which she is studying in Trondheim. She also has a bachelor’s degree in economics. When Moi isn’t studying, she loves travelling and everything that has to do with music and musicals. She loves cats (and dogs obviously) and has a pretentious dream of reading both Dostoyevsky and Dante. When it comes to why Moi chose New Zealand the answer is simple: why not? I love NZ – the nature, the people, the climate, everything!

Our Board

Karen Long


Karen joined The Green Lab in March 2021 and has been Chair since November 2021. She brings her extensive experience as a Chartered Accountant and is a plant enthusiast. This is Karen’s third governance role and she is excited to lead and grow the important mahi and kaupapa of the Board and The Green Lab. Originally from England, Karen has lived in Ōtautahi for the last decade with her husband and two small dogs. She enjoys relaxing with her family and friends when she isn’t working.

Liam O'Shea


Liam joined the Green Lab in 2021 as a board member and brings his 10 years of experience as a Chartered Accountant. Liam currently works as Business Advisor with Kendons where he works closely with small and medium sized business, advising and working with clients to achieve their goals. Liam is originally from Invercargill but comes to Christchurch via Dunedin and Sydney. Outside of involvement with the Green Lab and work, Liam loves getting out into the hills of Canterbury to go tramping and hanging out with his partner, Briar and Pug, Fergus.

Tamara Polglase


Tamara joined the Green Lab in early 2022. This is her first governance role, and she is excited to learn and grow alongside the Green Lab. Tamara has six years’ experience working in public policy areas including climate change, local government, and the community and voluntary sector. She is passionate about working to centre community wellbeing within these spaces. In her spare time, Tamara loves to spend time with whānau and friends, go exploring, and is currently learning to surf.

Kitty (Layling) Stanbury

Board Member

Layling joined TGL in 2021 to, in her words, “tell everyone to plant more native trees”! Born and raised in Ōtautahi, she has a BSc in Zoology, which fueled a passion for restoring native ecosystems. She is a committee member of Greening the Red Zone, and when she’s not doing it voluntarily, has the privilege of getting paid to plant native trees and kill invasive weeds. In her spare time she makes terrariums in bottles, which are for sale in understorey. Layling also supports Queer Games Nights every month.  She is the most liberal feminist Christian she’s ever met, and is passionate about human rights for all minorities, especially her fellow queer peeps. 

Anna O'Sullivan

Board Member

Anna joined The Green Lab at the end of 2022 and this is her first governance role. Anna hopes that her skills as a landscape architect with almost 20 years worth of experience working within or along side the horticultural industry and general love of plants will be of use in this role.


Currently Anna is a tutor at Lincoln University for the School of Landscape Architecture were she teaches into a number of courses with a focus on planting design.

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