Last week Gareth James, Āpōpō Life Member, passed away. With this sad news we want to take the opportunity to celebrate his career and the impact he had on infrastructure in Aotearoa.

Career overview

  • District Engineer: Waimakariri District Council 1984 to 1989
  • Manager Services: Waimakariri District Council 1989 to 1998
  • General Manager South Island: Waste Management NZ Ltd 2010 to 2021
  • General Manager Canterbury: Waste Services Ltd 1998 to 2021


  • Executive Member, ALGENZ 1990-99
  • Inaugural Chair NAMS Committee 1995-99
  • Elected Life Member of INGENIUM – now Āpōpō – 2004


Career highlights

After Gareth left the Waimakariri District Council he was the driving force in getting the Canterbury Regional Landfill at Kate Valley developed, replacing old Councils’ tips. This was a very large and substantial project for the area and more than ticked every box for advanced asset management. Features of the landfill have been;

  • Innovative procurement, governance arrangements and operating systems (the OAG has looked at this several times and been impressed)
  • The landfill itself is probably the most advanced in NZ in terms of environmental protection, monitoring etc
  • Development of native bush and walking tracks in land surrounding the landfill
  • A bespoke waste transport system that minimised journeys and maximised efficiency
  • Gas from the landfill is now producing electricity to the equivalent of 10,000 households
  • Good financial return to shareholders (50 % Canterbury Councils) while disposal fees are the lowest in NZ for Class 1 landfills

A few months ago the landfill site was renamed, in a fitting ceremony, as “the Kate Valley Landfill and Gareth James Energy Park”.


Āpōpō Life Membership

Gareth was awarded life membership of INGENIUM, now Āpōpō, in 2004 having been involved with the organisation for over 14 years and making a significant contribution to infrastructure assets in Aotearoa.

As a member organisation Āpōpō depends on the amazing network of subject matter experts around the country with a wealth of experience and knowledge who volunteer to make this organisation what it is.

It is important that we take the time to recognize the significant contributions our members have made to the quality of life of New Zealanders.

A huge thank you goes out to Gareth and his family at this time, as well as all those in our network who work tirelessly to improve our assets for the communities we live in.

Thanks to Brian Smith for the background information on Gareth’s career. Photo from Linkedin.

We welcome any additional tributes or photos on Gareth’s career. Please sent them to to be added to this article.