Michelle is a changemaker having worked with communities for her 20+ career in Aotearoa and the UK and creating award winning innovative initiatives in both places. She is the creator of The Wellbeing Game, River of Flowers, Places of Tranquillity, The Good Shop and more. Michelle is adept at living in the innovation and uncertainty space initiating, developing and managing successful community partnership and social impact initiatives. She also has a huge network across different sectors, locally and Internationally. With her diverse yet systemic interests, Michelle has a BSc. in Ecology and Psychology and a postgraduate Diploma in Public Health. Michelle is passionate about the environment, community wellbeing and will do her damnedest to make a difference. 

​Flourish Advisory Group member and our Research Project Advisor, Dr Colin Meurk is an Assoc. Professor at Lincoln and Canterbury Universities and Research Associate at Landcare Research.

As an Ecological Scientist Colin has been highly involved in grass roots environmental action, research & teaching of urban ecology & nature conservation over 40 years. Colin does a huge amount of voluntary work, just some of it mentioned here:

•Founding member & President - Travis Wetland Trust
•Trustee - Otamahua-Quail Island Restoration Trust
•Honorary Botanist of Canterbury Horticultural Society
•Leader - award-winning CHCH Perimeter Walkway now 360 Trail 
•Advisor to Greening Waipara Project (ecosystem services into cultural landscapes)
•Designer, Heathcote Sesquicentennial & Millennium Heritage Planting projects
•Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy Steering Group
•Chair Christchurch Biodiversity Partnership
•Created Informed planting guidelines for eco-restoration
•Chair of NZBRN, operating
naturewatch.org.nz (largest citizen bioscience platform in NZ) 

​• Behind iNaturalist app NZ – Mātaki Taiao  www.inaturalist.nz

​With our commitment to social impact and charitable purposes we are taking our time to get the right people to help and advise us on our journey and the many streams of initiatives. 

​Our first is Dr Colin Meurk OMNZ

Mark has always felt like a fringe dweller and says that life is more interesting from this perspective. In more recent years he’s called it “the creative edge” and sees this as the place where transformational change happens. Vocationally this has led him into many adventures in community and what he calls the spiritual dimension. The three strongest strands have been community development, social and political change, networking, and ministry. He was national coordinator of Taura Here I Te Rongomau – the Christian Peace Network during the campaign to declare Aotearoa NZ nuclear-free. During his years in ministry he was immersed in local communities, worked with marginalized youth and started a wide range of progressive initiatives with a strong ecological focus – including Walk for the Planet, the River of Life project, the Avon Otakaro Network, Two Lakes Healing and Deep Water – Centre for Justice, Peace and Ecology. He has travelled extensively overseas to workshops, courses and conferences. A published poet, and has two degrees in Arts/Sociology and Aotearoa History; and theology.

Te Kahui - Advisory Board

Mark Gibson


Dr Colin D Meurk OMNZ PhD

A Flourishing Enterprise

Flourish is a collective group of people who are committed to creating Better Lives for everyone. We have many threads and ideas! 

The greatest challenge of our times is to create and nuture regenerative communities.  With the IPCC stating we have less than ten years now to prevent global warming exceeding a projected 1.5 degree average increase, there is a great urgency to not only understand systems thinking, strong sustainability and regenerative cultures but how to successfully  co-create a new way of living for dealing with our global ecological crisis and ensure the continuation and flourishing of all life on earth.
Flourish sits in the emergent and innovative space to try new ways of doing. The How is as important as the What. Through our discrete initiatives we will do our bit to add to the understanding, share our learning, create and scale out positive change and shift towards a more regenerative, environmentally friendly and well society.

If you want to get involved please contact - 

​Founder/Co-Director: Michelle Whitaker


or click on the button:

Michelle Whitaker


Sharon MNZM, is an advocate and cheerleader for the non-profit sector. Immersed in the sector for over 20 years, she has an intimate understanding of the unique contribution that the sector makes to community wellbeing. After the Canterbury earthquakes she was deeply involved in supporting the sector in its own recovery and in its vital work contributing to community recovery. This experience has led to Sharon developing extensive knowledge about how the non-profit sector can contribute to helping communities prepare for and respond to emergencies and social disruption. She has wide networks and has presented to national and international audiences. Sharon has a BA. (Hons) and is a member of the Representative User Group of the Deep South Science Challenge, where she promotes community engagement on climate change issues through working with the non-profit sector.

Sharon Torstonson

Assoc. Director

Our Team