CMT 2007 - Keynote Speakers
Mr Damien O'Connor, Minister of Tourism (NZ)

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor was born in Westport and attended primary school there before going to St Bede's in Christchurch and Lincoln University.

Before becoming an MP, he worked in a variety of jobs in farming and tourism. During a five-year stint in Australia, he worked as a machinery operator and in sales. On his return to New Zealand Mr O'Connor established Buller Adventure Tours, an adverture tourism company, which he owned and operated in a partnership.

Mr O'Connor is past president of the Buller Promotion Association, a member of the West Coast Tourism Development Group, a member of the West Coast Business Development Board and a founding director of Buller Community Development Company. He was also West Coast Young Farmer of the Year.

He is an active sportsman and has represented Buller at athletics. He is a keen skier and likes whitewater rafting, jetboating, and motorsports. He plays rugby for the Parliamentary Team.

Mr O'Connor was elected to Parliament in 1993 as MP for the West Coast, and became MP for West Coast-Tasman in 1996. He was Labour spokesperson on Tourism and Racing from 1996 till 1999. He chaired the Primary Production Select committee and was a member of the Health Select Committee from 1999 till 2002.

Mr O'Connor is currently Minister of Corrections, Minister of Tourism, Minister for Rural Affairs and Associate Minister of Health. He retains a strong interest in tourism and regional development.

Dr. David A. Fennell (Canada)

David Fennell is Professor in the Department of Tourism and Environment at Brock University, Canada. He teaches and researches mainly in the areas of ecotourism and tourism ethics. He has published widely in these areas, including sole authored books on ecotourism programme planning, a general text on ecotourism (3rd edition forthcoming), tourism ethics, and a forthcoming title on codes of ethics in tourism (he has edited two other books). David is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ecotourism, and is an active member on editorial boards of many academic journals. He is the recipient of several awards and distinctions for his work in these areas.

Dr. James Higham (New Zealand)

James holds the position of Professor at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Department of Tourism. His research interests focus on tourism and environmental change and have specifically centred on the management of tourist encounters with wildlife, originally focusing on tourist interactions with Royal Albatrosses at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand. His more recent work has also addressed tourism and wilderness management, ecotourism development issues, and tourism and climate change. Since 1996 he has participated in a number of research projects funded by the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology. In 2002 James was the recipient of the Antarctica New Zealand Educators Scholarship and later that year was visiting researcher at the Scott Polar Research Institute (Cambridge University). He serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Journal of Ecotourism and Tourism in Marine Environments.

Dr. Marc L. Miller (USA)

Marc is Professor in the School of Marine Studies and Adjunct Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington (Seattle, Washington, USA). He has published widely on the topics of coastal tourism and recreation management, marine protected area management, fisheries management, integrated coastal zone management, and marine environmental ethics and aesthetics. In recent years, his work has taken him to the coasts of the United States, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Spain, South Africa, the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, Palau (Micronesia) and the Galapagos Islands.

Marc has co-edited three proceedings (1991, 1998, 2002) of the first three CMTs. In addition, he was an Associate Editor of Coastal Management from 1983 until 1993, and has served as an Associate Editor of the Sage Qualitative Research Methods Series since the series began in 1986. He also serves as the Research Commentary and Notes Editor of Tourism in Marine Environments and a Coordinating Editor for Annals of Tourism Research.

Dr. Mark Orams (New Zealand)

Mark Orams is a widely respected marine scientist; he holds a bachelor's degree in environmental sciences, a master of science and a PhD. He has published three books and over 20 scientific papers on the management of human impacts on marine resources and is currently the Director of the Coastal - Marine Research Group at Massey University at Albany.

Mark is also the executive director of the Sir Peter Blake Trust - the organisation dedicated to honoring Sir Peter Blake's memory by continuing on with his hard work in leadership, the environment and with youth. Mark sailed around the world with Sir Peter on board the winning yacht Steinlager 2, worked alongside him in the management of Team New Zealand and then assisted with Blakexpeditions. Those experiences were an enormous learning opportunity for Mark.

Dr. Jeff Wilks (Australia)

Jeff is Director of Strategic Development with Surf Life Saving Australia. A qualified Psychologist and Lawyer, he has a special interest in the health and safety of travellers. Jeff is a consultant on Tourism Safety and Security to the United Nations World Tourism Organization and to the Supreme Commission for Tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. An active marine safety practitioner Jeff has worked as a scuba diving instructor on the Great Barrier Reef and in 2004 was awarded an International Life Saving Federation Citation of Merit for his contribution to risk management and beach safety with Surf Life Saving Queensland. Jeff is lead author on five tourism safety books and more than 150 refereed papers and book chapters. He retains an active role in education and training as Visiting Professor of Law at Northumbria University in the UK (Centre for Travel Law). In his current role with Surf Life Saving Australia Jeff works with government agencies and the tourism industry to provide best practice safety programs at tourist destinations, especially in relation to water safety.