Our Team

Staff & Volunteers


James Nikitine - Executive Director (contractor)

James is French/British citizen from the French Alps region. As Founder of Blue Cradle in 2020, James is 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 and sustainability related organisations. He holds an MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh, a BA in Film from the University of Exeter and is undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Canterbury in immersive technologies.


Matt Bateman - Education Lead

Ngāti Waewae, Kai Tahu, Matt has 17 years of experience as Burnside Primary School Principal. Matt is passionate about environmental education, life, learning, family and adventure.


Sarah Bishop - Education (contractor)

Sarah has 23 years of experience teaching Science and Biology worldwide. She spent 15 years in the UK, Mozambique, and Australia, leading Biology departments in high-performing London and Melbourne schools. In 2012 she founded the Marine Megafauna Foundation’s flagship Ocean Guardians education programme in Mozambique. Sarah returned home to Ōtautahi in 2017 and spent five years as a teacher and dean at St Andrew’s College before joining Blue Cradle. Sarah believes in working daily to connect with ourselves and nature.

Natasha S. McIntosh - Coordination (contractor)

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. 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.


Antony Vavia - South Pacific Islands Strategic Advisor

Antony Vavia is a Cook Islands and Fijian based in Auckland. He holds a PhD from Auckland University of Technology in Pacific Island coastal reef fisheries. Due to the lack of published scientific marine data in the South Pacific, Antony is currently exploring how to ensure long-term sustainability of coral reef fisheries in the Cook Islands by doing a case study on the island of Mitiaro. The focus of this research is on the ecological integrity of coral reef ecosystems which are intrinsically linked to the nutritional and cultural wellbeing of Pacific Islanders surrounding ocean-dependence, and ecological and cultural sustenance in the Pacific.  is also a co-founder for Te Ngaru Tu O Nukuroa, a new NGO that aims to develop the island of Mitiaro through improved environmental conservation and rehabilitation efforts

Phillipe Gerbeaux - Gobies Lead

Philippe has been a key member of central government programmes to effectively protect, manage and monitor New Zealand wetlands. He has served on technical advisory groups, science advisory panels and was the Oceania representative on the Science and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention for two terms. He chaired the steering committee for the organisation of the 11th INTECOL Wetlands Conference held in Christchurch in October 2021. He also played a central role in setting up the IUCN Regional Office for Oceania in Suva, Fiji where between 2006 and 2009, he was seconded as Chief Technical Advisor. Since 1983, he has regularly been involved in surveys of freshwater fauna throughout the Pacific Islands in collaboration with the Paris-based French National Natural History Museum. Before joining the Department of Conservation in 1995, Philippe worked for DSIR Hydrology Centre and NIWA (as a periphyton ecologist). He has been a member of several professional organisations, including the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society, the French Ichthyological Society, and the Society of Wetland Scientists.



We are recruiting new volunteers,for various tasks, including writing, events, media and communications. If you are interested, please get in touch at:


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.