Board of Directors
Chair, Ian Kemish AM
Ian is the former Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea as well as former Australian Ambassador to Germany and Switzerland. A UQ History Honours graduate, Ian began his career as a Foreign Service Trainee in 1988. He has also served overseas in New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam and in Vienna – where he covered the newly emerging countries of former Yugoslavia. Ian was also, in 2004-5, Head of the International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Ian’s service at headquarters in Canberra has seen a strong focus on Australia’s relations with the Asia Pacific, particularly South East Asia and PNG, and, as Head of the Consular Service from 2000 to 2004, on crisis management. He was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for his leadership of Australia’s multi-jurisdictional response to Australia’s worst offshore consular disaster, the 2002 Bali bombings.
Ian is the Executive General Manager, Public Affairs and Social Performance with Newcrest Mining Limited.
Chief Executive Officer, Dr Genevieve Nelson
Genevieve is one of KTF’s founding directors and has been CEO since 2009. Genevieve holds a Doctorate in Cross-cultural and Educational Psychology from the Western Sydney University and is an expert in education in PNG. She also has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (Honours). Genevieve is an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Australian Catholic University and has published extensively and presented at national and international conferences. Genevieve was the recipient of the 2016 Western Sydney University Chancellor’s Alumni Leadership Award. Genevieve was also a finalist in the 2013 Young Australian of the Year Awards, 2012 Telstra Business Women’s Awards and named one of the top 100 Women of Influence by Westpac and Australian Financial Review in 2013. Genevieve has walked the Kokoda Track 19 times.
Director, Dr Andrew Moutu
Dr Andrew Moutu is the Director of the National Museum and Art Gallery and joined the KTF Board in 2016. He is originally from Wewak in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Andrew was trained in philosophy and anthropology at the University of PNG before undertaking a masters and doctorate in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He then worked in Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow for three years between 2004 and 2007 before completing a second postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Ireland in Dublin in 2009. Following his research fellowships, he was appointed a lecturer in anthropology at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. In 2010, he returned home to help the Government of PNG rebuild the National Museum and Art Gallery and take up the position of Director.
Director, Elizabeth Carr AM
Elizabeth Carr AM is the Deputy Chair of the Kokoda Track Foundation. Elizabeth’s background incorporates both the private and public sectors. She has worked in senior executive positions for IBM and Macquarie Group and within senior levels of politics and government in NSW, WA, PNG and the USA. Elizabeth is a full time non-executive Director with a board portfolio covering Government, Private and Not-For-Profit organizations. She chairs South Metropolitan TAFE (WA), St Catherine’s Aged Care Services (NSW), Seton Villa Disabilities (NSW), the Macular Disease Foundation Australia and the Department of Family and Community Services Audit and Risk Committee (NSW). She is a Member of The Environmental Protection Authority (WA), Director of Insurance & Care (NSW), and St Mary’s Anglican Girls School (WA). Elizabeth holds a BA (Hons) from UWA, a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Elizabeth was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2017.
Director, Stephannie Kirriwom
Stephannie joined the KTF board in 2016. She is a passionate young enthusiast for positive change in Papua New Guinea, and channels this passion locally through her involvement with The Voice Inc. as well as the Tupira Surf Club in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea.
Stephannie was a recipient of the Archer Scholarship in her final year of university studies in 2014. She has since graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea with a Bachelor in Law (2015) and been admitted to practice at the National and Supreme Courts of Papua New Guinea (2016).
Stephannie has been invited to speak at various occasions internationally about her vision for change in Papua New Guinea, as well as the work of Kokoda Track Foundation. She currently works as a litigation lawyer at Gadens Lawyers (Port Moresby).
Director and Honorary Treasurer, Bernie Egan
Bernie was appointed honorary treasurer in September 2006 and director in 2009. Bernie developed his interest in PNG when he walked the Kokoda Track in 2006. He spent 35 years with the Reserve Bank of Australia followed by 5 years with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Since 2008 he consulted to Ernst and Young and Promontory Financial Group and undertook a number of missions with the International Monetary Fund. He is currently a Senior Financial Sector Specialist with the Bank for International Settlements in Basel.
Director, Bill James
Bill was born in Sydney and after completing an Economics Degree he travelled extensively overseas. After his arrival in London in 1973, Bill co-founded Topdeck Travel, now one of the UK’s leading youth tour operators. On his return to Australia in 1984, Bill was a founding director of Flight Centre Limited, a listed travel company and one of Australia’s leading retailers. Bill remains a shareholder in the company and is a director of the Flight Centre Foundation. Bill has also published Field Guide to the Kokoda Track, a comprehensive guide for trekkers. He now pursues his interests in history, travel, surfboarding, golfing, hiking and philanthropy.
Director, Yahoo Serious
Yahoo is a founding director of KTF. Having trekked the Track many times, Yahoo is a friend of PNG and many veterans. Yahoo Serious was the first Australian to write, direct, produce and star in a major motion picture and earned an international reputation as one of Australia’s most original and successful independent filmmakers. In 1989 he was the cover of Time magazine. Yahoo studied at the National Art School, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Newcastle University and the Celebrated Filmmaker Award from Harvard University for Young Einstein. He produced successful music albums, created award-winning documentaries and wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movies Reckless Kelly and Mr Accident.
Director, Wendy Brooks
Wendy joined KTF’s Board in 2016. She is passionate about social justice, equity and human rights. Through her businesses, Wendy Brooks Consulting Pty Ltd and Director and NFP Business Services Pty Ltd, Wendy provides strategic fundraising services and a range of administrative services to the community sector. Wendy’s voluntary leadership positions include: Co-Chair, Human Rights Watch Australia; Board Chair of InLife Independent Living Ltd; Chair and Trustee of the National Trust of Australia Victoria Foundation; Trustee of National Trust of Australia Victoria; Board Director of Fitted for Work; Board Director of Kokoda Track Foundation; and Board Director of Women Donor’s Network. Wendy serves on the HRW International Disability Rights Advisory Council and is a founding member of the Australian Charity Law Association and the Melbourne Women’s Fund and Patron of the Kukuku PNG Program, Global Research Centre RMIT. Wendy lived and worked in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, before returning to Australia.
Honorary Secretary, Salman Haq
Salman was appointed secretary in August 2006. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Salman’s career spans over 20 years including positions with Touche Ross & Co and Goodman Fielder Limited.
Director, David Frecker (retired 2016)
David Frecker is a corporate and commercial lawyer and company director, and has worked extensively in Papua New Guinea. David has been a KTF board member since 2006 and chairs the Finance, Audit, and Risk Management Committee. He is a partner in the law firm, Ashurst Australia. David is also a director of Kula Gold Limited, a listed company with a gold development project in PNG.
Peter Thomas (retired 2015)
Peter Thomas has extensive commercial and financial experience, with particular specialisations in structuring and restructuring organisations and advising on their ongoing capital requirements and corporate governance. He has a strong record in advising early stage companies, especially in relation to their capital requirements and the options they have for raising that capital. As a tax adviser, he has advised major corporates and public sector entities on their taxation obligations and on merger, acquisition and divestment transactions, both nationally and internationally.
He is Member of the Industry Research and Development Board; Chairman of the Tax Concessions Committee of the IR&DB; Chairman of SAMI Pty Limited and related companies; Chartered Accountant and Tax Adviser; former senior tax partner of KPMG; former board member of KPMG, of The Museum of Contemporary Art and of WWF – the Conservation Organisation. Board member of The Kokoda Track Foundation, Centacare Foundation and The Bluearth Institute.
Dr. Stephen Wearing (retired 2016)
Stephen Wearing is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). He has also taught as a visiting fellow in his 25-year career, including Wageningen University, Netherlands; Newcastle University and Macquarie University in Australia. Stephen specialises in the social sciences in natural resource management. His research and publications range across the areas of resource management to the sociology of leisure and tourism. His latest book, Tourism Cultures: Identity, Place and Traveler, contributes to the growing area of ‘critical tourism studies’; this is a movement that seeks to bring an alternative commentary and new theoretical thinking to the understanding of tourism in contemporary society.
Patrick Lindsay AM (retired 2017)
Author, broadcaster and documentary maker, Patrick has been a passionate advocate of the story of Kokoda since he first visited in 1983 and first walked the Track in 1992. He wrote the best-selling book The Spirit of Kokoda in 2002. He has since written 20 best sellers including The Spirit of The Digger; Back From The Dead; The Essence of Kokoda; The Spirit of Gallipoli; Cosgrove, Portrait of a Leader; Fromelles; Our Darkest Day; Kokoda Spirit; The Coast Watchers; True Blue; and his It’s Never Too Late series of motivational books. He created the format for the top-rating TV reality series, In Their Footsteps, and, most recently, created the Kokoda App to bring the story to the digital generation. He is currently working on a feature documentary, Kokoda … the spirit lives, due for completion in 2017 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign. In 2015 Patrick was named a Member of the Order of Australia for ‘significant service to the media as a television presenter and journalist, to international relations, and to literature as an author’. Patrick has been chairman since 2006.