Our Team

Our talented team at The Headwaters Eco Lodge will ensure your experience with us is truly unforgettable.

Debbi Brainerd



A creative thinker, project manager and community volunteer from Seattle, Debbi fell in love with New Zealand, when she began travelling here, over 20 years ago.

With degrees in Clothing Textile Design and Molecular Biology, plus extensive experience in events and wardrobe consulting with Nordstrom, her passion for people and places is legendary.

Before co-founding The Headwaters with her husband Paul, Debbi founded IslandWood, a 255-acre overnight environmental education centre built to LEED Gold sustainability standards that serves over 10,000 students and teachers each year.

She loves hiking, cooking, mixed media art and mustering sheep (whenever local farmers let her come along).


 Pete Gawron



Chef Pete made his name internationally as the founder of high acclaimed Arrowtown restaurant Saffron which he ran for over a decade.

He has worked at Michelin-star restaurants throughout Europe and Asia, and his stunning cookbooks Saffron and The Taste of Central Otago showcase his outstanding reputation for delicious seasonal cuisine.

Pete masterfully oversees all food and dining experiences at The Headwaters Dining Room. His garden-to-plate philosophy is inspired by the bounty of fresh, organic produce available from our onsite gardens.

When not in the kitchen, Pete enjoys the great outdoors, meeting local winemakers and food producers and sampling regional cuisine. 


 Gabriela Diaz



Originally from Argentina, Gabby travelled around the world before arriving in New Zealand and landing her dream job at The Headwaters Lodge.

With an extensive career in customer service and reservations, Gabby manages all front-of-house operations and co-designs guests 'getaway' packages, going the extra mile to deliver personalised, first-class hospitality experiences.

Gabby is your best friend when it comes to customising experiences to make the most of your time at The Headwaters Lodge.

She loves hiking and mountain biking the Glenorchy trails and experimenting in the kitchen, as well as music and singing in her free time.


Shaun Shallish



Born in Oamaru on the South Island, Shaun's love for the outdoors fuels his life.

After studying Physical Education Sport and Exercise Sciences at Otago University, he spent six seasons guiding New Zealand’s iconic Milford and Routeburn Tracks in Mt Aspiring National Park.

His exceptional guiding skills and outdoor knowledge (including walking tracks in all weathers & situations) make him the perfect head guide for our Adventures in Paradise program.

Shaun knows the Glenorchy environs like the back of his hand and will ensure you're literally on track at all times, well-fed and watered to experience these breathtakingly memorable places.


 Simon Judt



Originally from Germany, Simon is an avid hiker and surfer who loves New Zealand and the great outdoors.

With a master's degree in Sports Tourism and Recreation Management, he has been with The Headwaters Lodge since it opened in 2018.

Simon expertly coordinates all our activities, programs and events and goes the extra mile to deliver outstanding guest experiences to all.

His warm and welcoming personality is infectious, and he will be one of the smiling faces to welcome you upon arrival.


Ingrid Temple



With 30 years of experience creating and managing events and working in tourism in NZ and Australia, Ingrid is a star performer with planning and coordination.

Ingrid excels in delivering excellent customer service and is a key member of our team at The Headwaters.

Her enjoyment of local wine has seen her involved in the New Zealand wine scene including being a judge for the Central Otago Wine Tourism awards.

She loves getting out in the mountains and is passionate about getting out and about in our stunning environment.


Katherine Cahill



Growing up in the Mackenzie country beside Aoraki / Mt Cook, Katherine loves tramping,  mountain biking and snow, having skied from an early age at Ohau, Roundhill & Mt Dobson.

After university, she lived and worked in London before coming back to spend five years with Ngai Tahu Tourism as Conference Sales Manager in Queenstown.

Katherine’s expertise organising corporate and private conferences trade shows makes her the ideal person to help you plan a corporate event, large group gathering or wedding at The Headwaters Lodge. As a Glenorchy local, she knows the community well.

Dogs and books are a passion, along with helping out with her husband's craft brewery business on their Glenorchy lifestyle block.


Michelle Trapski



Michelle’s extensive track record with commercial tourism made her the ideal person to contribute to the design and construction strategy for The Headwaters Lodge & Chalets.

As previous chief executive of AJ Hackett Bungy and managing director of Active Adventures, she's on several high-profile boards, including the Active Hearts Foundation and Impact 100 and is currently an executive director for Mt Cardrona Station.

Michelle skis, hikes and swims, and enjoys regional food and wine– especially exceptional Central Otago Pinot Noir.


Our Reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Camp Glenorchy. We initially chose this place because it is pet friendly and we like to travel with our 2 wee dogs. The location is great, pretty much in the heart of the community, within walking distance of everything. Lots of great walking trails around the...

Dan, North Island

All Reviews