Linnaeus Laboratory Gisborne

Drawn from around the world, the talented team at Linnaeus provide the local farming, horticulture, forestry and fishing industries with access to a comprehensive range of diagnostic testing.

Will Kerner Technical Solutions Manager
"I am passionate about providing outcomes for growers and leveraging my broad knowledge as a general scientist to do so."
0800 254 662
027 700 2553

“Will jumped on board with Linnaeus in 2020 after assisting in the establishment of the Bragato Research Institute (BRI), a Regional Research Institute for the NZ wine and viticulture sector. Will has spent the last few years co-managing the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme with Riversun team member Nick Hoskins, and oversaw the legacy research portfolio for New Zealand Winegrowers.

Before managing research projects, Will worked in production as a viticulturist for his family estate, helping the family through organic conversion which resulted in a highly sought-after Pinot blanc wine produced by a couple of NZ winemakers who trained in the Alsace region. Will also worked in Napa, California in senior technical roles, both in the field and in the winery.

Will has been active in governance for research and technical advisory groups, most recently before joining Linnaeus. Will chaired two committees for the wine sector; The Grape Yield Analyser Industry Advisory Group and initiated the Mealybug Task Force group. Additionally, will has given talks at the International Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference, first in 2015 and second in 2019. Will presented his MSc thesis in 2015 which focused on the question of organic management versus conventional management and the resultant chemical compositions of soil, must and wine. In 2019, Will discussed the importance of researching functional soil ecology so agronomists and farmers alike can begin to ecological engineer our agroecosystems as a viable method to reduce chemical inputs and increase ecosystem multi-functionality and subsequent profitability.

Will is passionate about providing outcomes for growers and leveraging his broad knowledge as a general scientist to do so. His focus in soil chemistry and biology is key to the managed services Linnaeus provides on behalf of their clients for any successful agricultural management programme must be bolstered with sufficient data, and importantly, sound interpretation thereof.”

Dr Eline van Zijll de Jong Molecular Diagnostics Manager (PHD)
"I enjoy using my applied microbiology, plant pathology and molecular biology for the direct benefit of New Zealand’s grape growers."
0800 254 662
021 269 2749

Dr Eline van Zijll de Jong has joined the team at Linnaeus as Molecular Diagnostics Manager. Her primary role is to lead the research, development and implementation of molecular biology diagnostic methods for detection of important pathogens in grapevines, avocado and food. In addition she provides technical and analytical support to Linnaeus’ research programmes in plant and soil health.


Eline has a strong research background in applied plant microbiology and pathology, and the application of molecular biology methods to these areas. As part of her doctoral studies in Australia, she developed molecular genetic markers to uncover novel beneficial fungal grass endophytes. More recently Eline led a research team at Lincoln University to discover microorganisms for biological control of a pest and disease in brassicas.


Eline enjoys applying and advancing her skills in applied microbiology, plant pathology and molecular biology for the direct benefit of New Zealand’s grape growers.

Yvonne Wruck Technician
"The circle is slowly closing for me to have a full view of what’s necessary to make good wine – it all starts in the vineyard."
0800 254 662

Yvonne Wruck joined Linnaeus in 2015, bringing with her significant experience in molecular biology, the wine industry and grapevine propagation. At Linnaeus she is responsible for ELISA testing and involved in R&D.


Returning to Gisborne in 2013 after working for a Greek winery, she set her sights on Linnaeus and says that working here has given her a more complete picture of the wine industry.


Outside of work, Yvonne is kept busy with her three daughters – with whom she enjoys the local beaches, forests and outdoors.

“Every day is different and gives me the unrivaled opportunity to help local businesses and individuals provide premium produce to New Zealand and overseas markets.”

0800 254 662

Libby is currently on maternity leave until March 2021.

Libby’s role at Linnaeus – testing food and water – gives her an insight into the vast range of produce grown and processed on the East Coast. 


A Gisborne native, Libby returned in 2016 after gaining a National Diploma of Science at CPIT in Christchurch and working in human pathology labs in Perth for eight years. She initially joined Linnaeus’s ELISA team then moved into food and water micro testing.


Outside of the lab, Libby enjoys the outdoors – walking, and exploring the East Coast’s many parks and beaches.

Eilish Chilton Research & Development Technician (BV&O)
"I particularly enjoy the variety that my role at Linnaeus provides, from field to computer to lab work."
0800 254 662
027 753 4214

Eilish joined Linnaeus in June 2020 as a part of the casual team for the grapevine virus-testing season. When the virus-testing season ended, the R&D trials for Riversun grapevines needed additional resourcing. Eilish jumped right in and helped coordinate the team during trial assessments. Her keen eye for detail and critical mind led to a permanent role as Research and Development Technician. Eilish has also recently taken on Pest and Disease monitoring for the grapevine source blocks and field nursery.

Eilish is originally from Invercargill and graduated in 2018 from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Oenology. Over the three years of study, she worked in the wine industry during summer breaks as a vineyard hand for Amisfield in Central Otago for two summers, followed by a vintage cellar stint at Yealands in Marlborough.

Eilish furthered her vine and wine skills working at Cloudy Bay in central Otago and then at Newton Vineyard, the latter in Napa Valley, California. After completing the 2018 vintage at Newton, Eilish started travelling first on the west coast of America and eventually ended up in Tasmania for yet another vintage.

Eilish and her partner ultimately moved to Gisborne to further both of their careers, which led Eilish to Millton Vineyards 2020 harvest before taking the opportunity to join the team at Linnaeus laboratory.

Now settled in Gisborne, Eilish enjoys travelling and being with family and friends. She particularly enjoys the variety that her role at Linnaeus provides - from field assessments to data interpretation, Eilish has stewarded innovation into new practice.

Dion Williams Sampling Technician
“I enjoy the outdoor nature of my job and the varied forms of work it comes in.”
0800 254 662
027 221 9419

Dion’s life revolves around water – both at work where he is mostly out and about collecting samples from across Tairawhiti, including bores, rivers, rainfall stations and trade waste, and at play where he surfs and coaches at Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club.


Dion’s 14 years’ experience in hydrological sampling is underpinned by certifications in water sampling from Opus and river gauging from NIWA.

Brenda Overend Casual Technician
“I like the focus of performing lab work, and I work hard to ensure accurate, consistent results.”

0800 254 662


Brenda is employed at Linnaeus as a casual technician highly skilled in testing water for pH, chlorine, oil & grease, calcium and total hardness, alkalinity, chlorides, fluoride, BOD, COD, conductivity, salinity, and solids.

Karen Neumegen Casual Technician
“I enjoy seeing the raw product come into the lab and then finding out the results of the testing and reporting back to our clients.”

0800 254 662

Karen Neumegen is employed at Linnaeus as a casual technician skilled in water and food testing. Karen is a key technical person for IANZ for all water micro tests and selected food tests. She analyses drinking water to New Zealand drinking water standards, and performs various microbiological tests on swimming pool water, river water, wastewater and sewage.

When she’s not tramping or walking half-marathons, Karen maintains an interest in teaching children with special needs by working with SPELD, which provides information, assessment and tuition to individuals, families, businesses and schools.