Project Jonah exists to respond to strandings throughout the whole of New Zealand. Along with this we train hundreds of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics each year, present to schools and special interest groups and raise funds to continue our work. We do all this (and more!) with just two paid staff. They are:
Daren Grover, General Manager
Daren has been the General Manager of Project Jonah since 2012. This operational role provides stranding response to marine mammal events nationally. Before joining Project Jonah, Daren worked for 14 years in risk management, advising businesses and organisations on how to look after their people and avoid exposing them to danger.
Daren has extensive first-hand experience at many mass strandings, and comprehensive emergency management training. His experience includes direct hands-on welfare of stranded whales, logistical and operational leadership and strategic planning for multi-day events working in a multi-agency model. He works closely with the New Zealand Government’s Department of Conservation, both in the field and providing training to their employees to provide best practice welfare and response. Daren is an experienced educator, directly training over 400 volunteer members of the public each year.
Daren was instrumental in Project Jonah being a founding member of the World Cetacean Alliance and members of the International Whaling Commission's Expert Advisory Panel on Strandings.
Louisa Hawkes, Communications and Volunteer Coordinator
Louisa comes from a science, education and youth work background which is perfect for her role in Project Jonah. Louisa is responsible for the management and oversight of Project Jonah’s 4,000 trained volunteers. This includes engagement through online media and targeted communications, mobilising volunteers to respond to cetacean stranding emergencies and training and mentoring key volunteers into a number of roles.
Louisa has been at Project Jonah since 2013 and has extensive experience in coordinating the response to whale strandings nationally with a particular specialty in incident oversight, logistics, media and volunteer coordination.
Louisa also has a huge passion for community education and played a key role in the development of our World of Whales education pack and Marine Mammal Medic online refresher course. She regularly presents to community stakeholders including kindergartens, schools, polytechnics and community groups, instilling core values of sustainability and conservation of the marine environment.