About us Governance
About Us


SAFE’s Board of Directors is made up of compassionate people who volunteer their time and expertise to help animals and ensure good governance.

Our board members come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including animal advocacy, digital media, accountancy, psychology and business.

Meet the Board

Gareth Hughes — Chair

Gareth has spent his entire adult life campaigning for progressive causes and is a passionate advocate for animals. He spent eight years working at Greenpeace NZ and Australia including coordinating New Zealand's largest climate campaign, Sign On. He served in Parliament for a decade starting as the youngest MP of the term and was the Green Party Musterer (Whip), spokesperson for animals and was the Chairperson of the Social Services Community Select Committee.

Gareth is currently on a sabbatical and lives on Quarantine Island / Kamau Taurua, where he lives with his family as the only permanent residents.

Logan Smedley — Treasurer

Logan has experience within the not-for-profit industry in New Zealand. With a focus on youth organisations he works as the accountant for Girl Guiding New Zealand and as the Treasurer on the board of Pillars Incorporated. Beyond this, through affiliation with Turtle Rescue, he became more aware of animal injustice and hopes to help make a change within New Zealand through SAFE.

Katharine Birks — Secretary

Active in the animal advocacy movement since the 1980s, Katharine has been involved with high profile organisations and campaigns in North America and Australia. With a background in public relations and journalism she began her fundraising career 25 years ago, focusing on impact philanthropy within the tertiary sector. Returning to New Zealand in 2006, her consultancy has provided fundraising, policy and advocacy support to many causes. Her passions and vision lie with driving change for animals and removing inequalities for all sentient beings. To this end, she has served as a trustee on several boards.

Kirsten Magnusson

An experienced director, Kirsten brings expertise in strategy, marketing and communications. Kirsten has worked on the SAFE board since 2016. Her focus is on removing animals from the food chain, with a particular emphasis on future food technologies that provide healthy and sustainable outcomes for people, animals and the environment.

Tim Groenendaal

Tim is widely regarded as a creative and thoughtful strategic thinker, with 20 years+ in snr management and board roles specialising in strategy, audience and brand. Beginning his career in music management, Tim now has business interests in tech, touring, corporate events, luxury tourism and hospitality. He has a demonstrated track record of designing and executing campaigns (music, film, brand, political) and audience analysis.

Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere

Marcelo is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago’s Faculty of Law, where he teaches and researches extensively in the field of animal law. He brings to the SAFE Board an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand’s animal welfare regulatory environment, and is passionate on reforming this area to improve the lives of animals throughout the motu.

Laura Thomson-Bache — Adjunct Role

Laura is a communications professional working in the community funding sector, with a focus on social media marketing, storytelling, and event management. Through her transition to vegetarianism and then veganism, she learnt more about animal exploitation and the advocacy work fighting to end it. She is passionate about educating people about their impact on the welfare of all animals and how collectively we can make a big difference to their lives, our environment, and our health.

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Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.