Please note, we expect to reach our COVID-19 capacity during this period and remind all members and visitors to book date-specific tickets online to avoid disappointment Find out more here

David Sanders

Board member

David Sanders is a partner in the Adelaide Assurance practice, Ernst & Young and is a qualified chartered accountant and registered company auditor.   With over 20 years of auditing experience, David has had exposure to a wide range of industries and organisations ranging from small businesses to large corporates.  David has been a board member since 2012 and brings his valuable experience to Zoos SA’s Finance and Audit Committee and Risk and Governance Committee.

David is proud to be an active member of the community, supporting a number of other organisations including the Operations Flinders Foundation, the Believe Foundation, Prince Alfred College and Moo Premium Foods Pty Ltd.  David has been the Operation Flinders Foundation Treasurer for eight years and also holds the role of deputy Chairman.  David is also currently the Treasurer for Prince Alfred College and the Believe Foundation, as well as Chairman of Moo Premium Foods Pty Ltd.  He was previously a director and deputy chairman of Eldercare for 11 years.

As a child, David enjoyed many visits to the zoo with his own parents and later as a member now enjoys the zoo with his wife, Dallas and four young boys.  David joined the board hoping his business background would help guide the zoo’s finances.


Julieann Riedstra


Julieann is the Chief Operating Officer of the Department for Education and Child Development. Julieann has over 25 years experience in the South Australian public sector in finance, corporate services and infrastructure roles.  Julieann holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.  Julieann also served as a Director of a Credit Union for over 10 years and is on a number of government boards and Committees. Julieann is currently the Deputy Chair of Nature Play SA. Julieann has been a Zoos SA board member since 2013 and has been a Life Member since 2008.

With her extensive experience in master planning and strategic budget and asset management Julieann looks forward to bringing her experience to the Zoos SA Board and is committed to a successful and sustainable future for Zoos SA.


Kate Thiele

Board Member

Kate has over ten years board and executive experience with a Top 100 public listed company, in the private sector including two of Australia’s leading not-for-profits.  She has wide-ranging experience across diverse industries including not for profits, community services, health, retail, disability and manufacturing. Kate joined the board as a co-opted member in 2012.

Kate is also a board member of Minda Incorporated and the University of South Australia’s MBA Advisory Board. Her previous board appointments include the Vocational Education, Employment and Training Board, Deputy Board Member of the Training and Skills Commission and member of the Training Regulation Reference subcommittee.

Qualified with a Master of Business Administration and the Company Directors course and a passion for marketing Kate brings valuable expertise to the Zoos SA Board.  She looks forward to using her experience in leadership, cultural change, strategy development and stakeholder engagement to help Zoos SA continue to achieve our aspiration of becoming a leading conservation organisation.


Kate Hartwig

Board Secretary/Public Officer

Secretary/Public Officer

Kate has had a long career in not-for-profit organisations having been CEO of a range of industry, professional and charitable organisations in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.  She was appointed as the Zoos SA Board Secretary and Public Officer in 2013.

Kate started her career as an Association Executive with the South Australian Employer’s Federation, multi-managing a range of industry and professional organisations.  She moved to Sydney in 1987 and was appointed CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association, then Executive Director of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and CEO of the Australian Video Retailers Association.  She moved to Melbourne in 1999 and took on roles with Software Engineering Australia and as CEO of the Retirement Village Association.  She moved back to Adelaide in 2005 and into the charity sector as CEO of the AIDS Council of SA and Cystic Fibrosis SA.

Kate has been a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1992 and was a Governor of the AIDS Trust of Australia.  She was National President of the Australasian Society of Association Executives and was awarded a Life Membership of this organisation in 2013.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Laws and an MBA and has now launched her own consultancy, providing advice, training and assistance to the not-for-profit sector.

Kate Hartwig

Dennis Mutton JP

Vice President

Dennis Mutton is an independent consultant in the fields of natural resources management, primary industries, regional growth initiatives and leadership development and government-business relations. He is a fellow of the AICD and holds a range of board directorships in government, business and not for profit organisations at State and National levels. His full time work career included executive management roles in both the private and public sectors culminating in 15 years as CEO of a number of State Government agencies including the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions. Dennis was appointed by the Governor as a Board Member of Zoos SA from 1994 to 1998 during the time of the establishment of Monarto Safari Park.

Dennis has an honors degree in science and post graduate qualifications in business management.

He is strongly committed to contributing to the achievement of sustainable communities and landscapes and delivering outcomes that make a real difference. Zoos SA along with other research and conservation organisations have and continue to be a key part of his interest, focus and support. Dennis is also Chair of Zoos SA’s Finance and Audit Committee. The role that Zoos SA plays in education, research and connecting people with nature strongly aligns with his values and where he expends time and energy.


Rod Buchecker

Board member

Rod is Chair of TEC 30 for The Executive Connection, the world’s largest CEO network. He is a recognised executive mentor and business coach, specialising in leadership development and helping companies find the focus they need to succeed.

Through his Adelaide based consulting practice, Rod works with a wide variety of private and public clients in Australia and New Zealand.  With over 30 years experience delivering sustainable, strategic and creative solutions on high profile brands all over the world, he is known as one of Australia’s most accomplished marketing communications professionals.

He is also an advisory board member of Torque Control Specialists Ltd, a member of Saint Ignatius College Council and sits on the Strategic Fundraising Committee for Cancer Council SA (CCSA). Prior to joining the Zoos SA board Rod was a director of CCSA for 10 years, Clemenger BBDO Adelaide for 15 years and also Regional Development Australia – Metropolitan Adelaide.

He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Strategic Marketing Management in Boston and the prestigious Y@R Ad Skills Programme in New York. He is also an Ambassador for Thought Leaders Global and a founding member of the Faculty of Thought Leaders Business School, a Sydney and Melbourne based learning institution changing the way clever people think.

Rod Buchecker

Susie Robinson

Board Member

Dr Robinson is the Executive Officer of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, one of Australia’s nationally designated research infrastructures. She has worked in government and university sectors in the UK and Australia, and has significant corporate governance experience.  Trained in the sciences and business management, she holds a PhD from Cambridge University.

A former Director, International and Industry Engagement for the Australian Technology Network of Universities, with prior experience as a lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University (Australia), Cambridge University (UK) and the University of South Australia, she was also a long-standing former member of the Governing Council of the University of Adelaide. Susie additionally brings further corporate governance experience, having sat on the Board of major SA charity, Novita Children’s Services, for 5 years.

Dr Robinson has a depth of experience working at senior and executive level in the UK and South Australian Governments. Public sector portfolios include innovation; research and development; higher education; skills and employment; treasury and finance; and public sector performance.

A mother to young children, her family has enjoyed many years’ zoo membership. Her family have a passion for the zoo as an institution of great importance to both the local community and visitors.

Bill Spurr AO

Board Member

Bill Spurr has had an extensive career in the tourism, hospitality and event industries in South Australia. A former Chief Executive Officer of the S.A. Tourism Commission Bill currently chairs the board of Adelaide Venue Management Corporation ( responsible for the operations of the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Hindmarsh Football Stadium) and is a member of the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council.

Bill is an adjunct Professor of Tourism at Flinders University and was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015 for “distinguished service to the tourism, to education, particularly through international marketing, to the arts and sports as an administrator of institutions and events, and to the community of South Australia”

Kristofer Helgen

Board Member

Kris is an expert on mammal evolution and conservation and serves as the Chief Scientist of the Australian Museum in Sydney.  Kris was Curator in charge of mammals at the Smithsonian from 2008 – 2017.

Originally from Minnesota, Kris received an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard, and later a PhD in zoology from the University of Adelaide, working under Professor Tim Flannery. After this, Kris was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian, working at the National Museum of Natural History and National Zoo.

From 2008-2017 Kris served as the Smithsonian’s Curator-in-Charge of Mammals. He has worked in more than 50 countries (especially Asia-Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Americas) and is renowned worldwide for his work as a zoologist and conservationist. Kris has published hundreds of scientific papers about mammals, appears regularly on television and radio, and is well known for discovering and naming many species of mammals new to science.

Kris holds honorary positions at the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), and the National Geographic Society. He has served on various international and institutional boards. He has deep respect for zoos as educational, conservation, and research organisations, and regularly works on research projects with zoos around the world (London, Smithsonian, San Diego). Kris, his wife Lauren, and their young son, are Zoos South Australia members and regular visitors. Kris has visited Adelaide/Monarto Zoos for more than 20 years.

Peter McCarthy

Board Member

Peter, a retired medical scientist, is an Honorary Research Associate of the Royal Zoological Society of SA with a background in and passion for research. He has mentored many Ph.D and Honours students and is a believer in the power of collaboration in scientific endeavours and creating opportunities for others to learn and establish careers in the scientific field.

Peter has had close ties to Zoos South Australia for decades, having set up a volunteer run laboratory in the Animal Health and Research Centre at Adelaide Zoo in 1999. Then working with the Zoos SA Board in the early 2000s to increase the research activities of the Society. The outcomes of the volunteer run laboratory have been described as invaluable to the scientific community. His work includes nutritional developments for captive animals, rehabilitating wildlife, support and mentorship of students and clinically relevant diagnostic services.

In 2019 Peter was a key member of the six person team who won the Unsung Hero Award of South Australian Science. The award recognised the group for years of countless projects with animals in captivity and in the wild based at the Zoos SA laboratory.

Peter joined the Board in late 2020 and aims to use his collaborative skills and background to continue championing research and knowledge.

Roll on July when Light Creatures at Adelaide Zoo starts as part of Illuminate Adelaide.

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

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