The Gemnetics Team

Our people form the heart of Gemnetics

We pride ourselves on working closely with clients to streamline their data management needs and accelerate their breeding efforts.

Sue Carson

Managing Director

Sue has over 30 years of experience with management and analysis of field research trials including breeding trials, yield monitoring plots, and genomics data at the USDA Forest Service, the New Zealand Forest Research Institute, and private consulting, publishing over 100 scientific papers.

Sue holds a BS (with Distinction) in Natural Resource Management, a MS in Forest Pathology from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Forest Genetics from North Carolina State University.

Sue has worked very closely with Merlin to define the information processing needs of plant breeders since the inception of the Gem system.  

Merlin McKenzie

Software Development

Merlin specialises in the development of commercial software and systems for the commercial forestry sector, and had a part in creating some of New Zealand’s first database applications for management of plantation forests. In 1997, he established Centralis Ltd, a company specialising in corporate information systems design and development.

Merlin holds a BSc in Mathematics from Canterbury University, and an MS in Computer Science from Purdue University.

Merlin designed the Gem software and has headed its development since its inception.


Mike Carson

Business Development

Mike has over 30 years research experience first at the New Zealand Forest Research Institute as a tree breeder and in senior management positions overseeing genetic and propagation research, then in private consulting. He has published over 100 scientific papers.

Mike holds a BSc (Hon, 1st Class) in Forestry from University of Canterbury and a PhD in Forest Genetics from North Carolina State University.

Mike has contributed to the development of Gem from its inception, and attributes a considerable amount of success in achieving superior genetic gains to Gemview.


Judy Hayes

Data Administrator and Client Relations

Judy has extensive experience in database administration and trial management and has managed large databases at both Scion and private companies for over 25 years. Judy also has extensive experience with trial installation, trial assessment and data analysis, Judy has co-authored over 50 scientific publications and technical articles for the forestry industry.

Judy holds a BSc in Biological Science from Victoria University with an emphasis on Genetics.

Judy has been working with Gem since its inception. She oversees Gemnetics operations and works closely with Merlin on testing new software developments. Her attention to detail and ability to sort out data inconsistencies is exceptional.

Helen Chapman

Data Administrator and Client Relations

Helen has worked as a Technical Forester and Manager for over 10 years. In 2006 Helen began consulting to forestry companies in New Zealand, specializing in disease resistance monitoring, trial installation, management and assessment.

Helen holds a BSc in Forestry from University of Canterbury and Certificate in Forest Health Surveillance.

Helen has been on the Gemnetics team since 2010. Helen manages data import for several clients, and is working with Merlin to develop and implement Gemstock. Helen brings a forest manager’s perspective to data usage, that is, a great attention to detail as well as keeping the big picture in firm focus.


Paula Le Sauvage

Data Administrator and Client Relations

Paula was born and raised on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She worked in Trust and Company administration and management for over 18 years before moving to NZ in 2003.

Paula holds a BTec Higher National Certificate in Business Studies.

Paula has been part of the Gemnetics team since 2009. She has exceptional accuracy and efficiency with data input and management.


Emma Carson

Sales and Marketing

Emma has been surrounded by the New Zealand forestry industry her whole life, being Sue and Mike Carson’s daughter. She spent many high school and university summers working in forestry. She now works for Gemnetics in the role of sales and marketing, forming relationships with and producing informative material for existing and potential clients.

Emma has a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Otago, and a Master of Development Practice from James Cook University.

Emma is the first point of call for anyone interested in our products, to provide the information you need about Gemnetics’ software.


Maria Irihei

Accounts Manager

Maria has 19 years of experience in management of accounts within the forestry industry.

Maria joined the Gem team in 2011. Part of Maria’s role is overall office management and her friendly and efficient manner helps keep the Gemnetics team running smoothly.

If you contact us, most likely it will be Maria greeting you on the phone.



Luis Apiolaza

Software Development

Luis, an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry, is a statistical geneticist and breeder who has been working within the Forestry industry for over 17 years.

Luis works at the intersection between academia and the production industry, and he uses his analytic and quantitative skills to increase crop productivity and profitability.

Luis is now part of the Gemnetics team, assisting in developing new and powerful tools for the benefit of our users.