Sean Poff named Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Controller

Canterbury’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has a new Group Controller – Sean Poff.

Mr Poff is currently the Director of Science, Data & Insights for Ministry for the Environment, based in Wellington.

He has previous experience throughout military and central government sectors, both in New Zealand and abroad. The Group Controller position is required under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.

The Group Controller supports, leads, directs and co-ordinates local multi-agency responses to emergencies and in the transition to recovery. Mr Poff is passionate about emergency management.

This passion, combined with his leadership experience, cultural awareness, strong relationship and strategic qualities, will be invaluable to CDEM in Canterbury and beyond.

A strong all-round candidate

Chair of the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Lianne Dalziel received endorsement for the appointment at the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee meeting today. 

“We’re thrilled to have acquired Sean’s leadership skills in high pressure situations, combined with his extensive strategic knowledge, which will be so valued in Civil Defence operations and to the people of Canterbury,” she said.

Outside of emergency situations, the Group Controller helps ensure our communities, and the agencies that support them, are resilient and prepared to deal with the risks they face.

Being able to communicate clearly and decisively under pressure, and show political acumen are important requirements, Ms Dalziel said.

Eager to get started

Mr Poff said: “I am honoured to have been appointed and look forward to working with officials and staff from local authorities and partner agencies towards building resilient communities across Canterbury.

“I was impressed by the initiative and community spirit shown by emergency services staff, volunteers and the public during recent emergencies across the region, including flooding and the Covid-19 response.”

Environment Canterbury will continue to be the administrative authority for the Emergency Management Office and the role of Group Controller.

Mr Poff’s appointment follows the retirement of Neville Reilly, who held the position for 10 years. Mr Poff will begin his new position at CDEM on 10 January 2022.

For further information, contact Environment Canterbury media at or 027 221 5259.