Our team

For the moment, Blue Cradle has no regular operational funding and therefore relies on grants and donations. Our team is mostly composed of generous volunteers to whom we are grateful. Some contracts may be awarded to professionals for specific tasks, and in the future, Blue Cradle aims to employ part-time and ideally permanent staff. This is work in development and subject to funding.


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James Nikitine - Managing Director (full-time)

Originally from near Geneva, James is French/British with a Russian background. As he founded Blue Cradle in 2020, James is naturally the main driving force behind the nonprofit. From administration, to accounting, branding, strategy, legal, communications and fundraising, James is responsible for all daily management aspects of the Foundation. He has extensive experience working in the nonprofit sectors in Geneva and Oxford, in peace-building, sustainability and climate change related organisations. He holds an MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Film Studies from the University of Exeter. In future, James’ goal is to split his current workload and busy role into several Blue Cradle roles, essentially forming a team with distinct responsibilities. James is actively in search of operational funding for the Blue Cradle Foundation to become financially sustainable.

Natasha S. McIntosh - Project Assistant (part-time)

Natasha McIntosh is an American expatriate who has spent over a decade in Australia and Aotearoa. After completing her Master’s in Environmental Science from James Cook University, Natasha worked with a variety of stakeholders in Australia to understand community connection to the environment. She is a firm believer that a “whole system” approach to conservation, which includes the needs of the people as well as the needs of the ecosystem, is the only way to reach long term sustainability goals. Without understanding and personal connection to the environment, we can never gain the support of the people that live on the land. Professionally, Natasha has worked with Indigenous, Commercial and Recreational fishery stakeholders with additional experience in community outreach and education. At home her goals are getting her children as dirty as possible and photographing their adventures.

Natasha’s part-time role is funded through the Christchurch City Council’s Sustainability Fund.              Read more about it here.


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Emma Hunter - Engagement Volunteer

Originally from Scotland, Emma recognises the global connectivity of the ocean. There is only one ocean and our actions, wherever we are, have an impact on it. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science with Zoology (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh, Emma has been working on ecotourism boats in Aotearoa and Canada sharing her passion for the ocean and its inhabitants with others. She   recently completed her Master’s in Wildlife Biology and Conservation where her research project looked into microplastics pollution in the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai. She believes sciences is for everyone and resources that allow people to learn about the ocean and how to protect it should be readily available. She relishes the opportunity to facilitate community engagement in marine conservation through the work of Blue Cradle.

Shinae Montie - Antarctic & penguin Lead

Shinae Montie is from Ōtautahi, Christchurch. She is a Coastal Marine Ecology PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury and a Communications Assistant at the Antarctic Heritage Trust. Shinae recently completed her Postgraduate Certificate and Masters in Antarctic Studies (Distinction) where she used GIS and remote sensing to analyse Southern Ocean Phytoplankton dynamics in response to extreme Marine Heatwaves. Her PhD research has followed a similar path and uses a combination of field based and laboratory experiments, and remote sensing to better understand the effects of climate change and marine heatwaves on coastal marine ecosystems. Specifically, kelp forests and seagrass meadows in New Zealand and Australia. Alongside Blue Cradle, Shinae is an international council member for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and co-producer of the podcast Antarctica Unfrozen. As a volunteer collaborator to project Blue Cradle, Shinae is excited to support the science, community outreach and education, and be a hands-on contributor to conservation efforts.

Peter Wells - Project Volunteer

Peter Wells is a Seattle native, based in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. With backgrounds in arts, anthropology, and permaculture design, he specializes in public food forests and has spent the last 3 years creating the Ōtākaro Orchard hub for local food in central Christchurch. Alongside Blue Cradle he assists with projects in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, and governance for the Soil & Health Association and Kiwiburn. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Goucher College and is an IUCN member.


These are some of the companies we hire occasionally or regularly for different administrative, legal, accounting, film and design tasks. We highly trust them and strongly recommend their work and are grateful for their support of our organization.