Mark was educated at Waikato University and Hamilton Teachers College. He started his working life as a teacher, including three years spent as an outdoor education specialist at Tauranga Intermediate School. During this time, he was instrumental in establishing Ngamuwahine Outdoor Education Centre. Taking children into the outdoors and the bush led to a lifelong interest and passion for our native flora. In 1977 with his wife Esme and four small children, they moved onto a small lifestyle property at Oropi, 12km south of Tauranga. Soon after they started a small native plant nursery that grew to become Naturally Native New Zealand Plants Ltd, one of the countries larger nurseries. In 2000 he was awarded life membership of the New Zealand Nursery & Garden Industry Association, and in 2011 he was awarded the Loder Cup for the promotion and conservation of our native plants. Mark retired in 2013 and in 2016, was elected as a Councillor on the Western Bay of Plenty District Council. He has been involved in several environmental organisations. He is immediate past chair of the Dune Restoration Trust of NZ, Founding Chair of the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, and he is past Chair of the Rotary Centennial Trust for the restoration of the Kopurererua Valley wetland in Tauranga. Other environmental organisations he has been a trustee of include Tane Tree Trust and Trees for Survival and Enviro Hub.
Planting programmes like The One Billion Trees fund present incredible opportunities for the native nursery industry. However, they also present challenges that will need to be carefully considered by all who are involved in the industry, be they producers, specifiers or users of plant material.