Traci Houpapa, MNZM JP, Chair of FOMA

Traci Houpapa, is an award winning company director and recognised leader. She specialises in strategic and economic development advice to Maori, iwi, public and private sector clients throughout New Zealand. Traci is known for her strong and inclusive leadership and her clear focus on building the wealth and prosperity of Aotearoa. She has an MBA from Massey University and is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Celebrant.

Craig Richard

Chair of International Economic Development Council.

Craig J. Richard was selected to serve as the president and CEO of Invest Atlanta in December 2014. He is a seasoned economic development professional of nearly 20 years and is regarded as a collaborative leader with strengths in marketing, business development, entrepreneurial development, workforce development, global commerce, strategic planning and managing talented teams to achieve desired results. His economic development experiences range from neighborhood-level community development and regional chambers of commerce to state economic development.  To read more about Craig …

Alan Johnson

Author of ‘State of the Nation’ Report – Salvation Army

State of the Nation is now in its ninth year, and it’s become something special. You find in our society that only things that are important to the ‘important’ people are measured and analysed. So, in our report, we’ve tried to be a witness for the issues that affect vulnerable New Zealanders by measuring things like unemployment, child poverty, people going to jail, and homelessness.

As the senior policy analyst [and interim director] for The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, I undertake social research and policy analysis, so we can advocate for vulnerable people and seek changes to make New Zealand a better society.  To read more about Alan …

Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under Secretary, Regional Economic Develoment

Fletcher Tabuteau has been a member of New Zealand First since its inception. He believes that New Zealand First represents common sense and has always had a forthright and clear direction for New Zealand’s future encapsulated in the party’s name.

Growing up in Rotorua, Fletcher spent years working in the tourism industry. He has worked in retail and ran his own consulting business specialising in marketing and business communications. Before entering Parliament, Fletcher was a secondary teacher in maths and social studies, and a lecturer in economics and business.  Read more ...


Huhana Lyndon

Committed advocate for her local hapu and iwi born and raised in Whangarei. Huhana professionally has worked in the education and public health sector and held executive leadership positions. More recently Huhana led Te Matarau Education Trust a hapu iwi collective leading Maori Pasifika Trades Training in Tai Tokerau. In Sept 2018, she was appointed to the role of CEO of Ngati Hine Forestry Trust. An Ahu Whenua Trust that administers over 5500ha land assets in forestry, manuka and kiwifruit on behalf of over 5000 beneficial owners. As a single mother of 3 daughters she lives a busy life supported by her loving extended whanau.

Huhana’s whakatauki is “Kotahi tangata, he rau nga taangata” from one person (wahine) comes 100 people… signalling the importance of role models, and intergenerational change that can occur through changing one person’s life.

Sir Mark Solomon

Tā Mark Solomon is committed to the betterment of his Iwi, the kotahitanga of all Māori, and the wider wellbeing of all peoples. He is a strong advocate for the Māori economy and was instrumental in setting up the Iwi Chairs Forum in 2005.

He is the elected Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, a position he has held since 1998, and he has represented his local Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura since 1995 and is the current chair. He was recognised in the 2013 Queen’s New Year Honours with a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Business. In late 2012 he was named Visionary Leader of 2012 in the Deloitte and New Zealand Management magazine National Business Awards.  To read more about Sir Mark …

Ceri Macleod

Economic Development Manager - Gore District Council

Working from the Gore District Mayoral Office, Ceri Macleod is accountable for the economic development component of an innovative model supporting the Gore District Mayor. She is spearheading the development of a unique community-led strategy to promote socio-economic growth across the Gore District, in her capacity as a member of a newly-created team progressing a growth agenda to address predicted population decline.

Ceri has a Masters in Regional and Local Economic Development and a Bachelor in Industrial Economics, both completed in the UK. She has over 20 years’ experience working in a variety of organisations within local government and tertiary education sectors. Positions held in both the UK and Australia have focused on economic development and employability.

Ceri moved to New Zealand just over two years ago. She lives in Gore and loves her chosen home and the lifestyle it affords in rural New Zealand. In her private time she enjoys exploring and photographing the beauty of her new home country with her family.

Hon Shane Jones - Minister for Regional Economic Development

Shane Jones is a List MP based in Kerikeri. He was Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, with a particular focus on fisheries, agriculture and tourism, given the significance of these resources to enhancing economic development in the region.

Mr Jones was a Member of Parliament from 2005 - 2014. During his nine years in Parliament, Mr Jones held positions that included Minister of Building and Construction, Associate Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Trade, Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Read more ...

Mayor Dave Cull

President of LGNZ and Mayor of Dunedin City Council

Dave was appointed President of LGNZ in July 2017.  He was Vice President of LGNZ from December 2016 - July 2017 and is the Mayor of Dunedin City Council.

He was elected Dunedin City Council Mayor at the 2010 local body elections. Since 2007, Dave has been heavily involved in the Dunedin community having sat on various steering groups and committees covering economic development, technology and the environment.  Read more ...

Nigel Bickle - Leader of Provincial Development Unit, MBIE

Nigel is Head of the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) which was established in March 2018 in response to the increased emphasis by the Government on regional economic development.

The PDU is home to the Provincial Growth Fund team, the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP) team and the He Poutama Rangatahi team.

Nigel is responsible for leading the Provincial Growth Fund’s design and administration, as well as monitoring its operation in consultation with other government agencies.

Rob Edwards

On stage or in-house Rob’s purpose is to provide a meaningful and memorable experience that leaves people focused on looking after their most important asset, themselves. A long history of developing his craft ensures plenty of laughter and messages that stick. His professionalism off stage makes life easy for event organisers.

His experience working with people at all levels of business, cardiac patients, young offenders, elite athletes and remote island communities gives a communication style that genuinely connects with any audience. He’s been speaking professionally for 20 years and was one of only two Australians to receive the internationally recognized status of Certified Speaking Professional in 2012 (it’s pretty tough to get).

John Hutchings

John is an active analyst comfortable operating on location and in a real time environment. With a long background in the primary sector he understands the challenges of sectors, the impact and pressures of international markets and on-farm challenges.

John has a deep understanding of central and local government policy in relevant areas and institutional arrangements, particularly constraints and opportunities under the RMA and LGA.

His key practice areas include: Manager, Sustainability with Fonterra – engaging with regions on dairy development potential; managing to environmental limits – formerly an advisor on environmental matters to the Prime Minister and Cabinet; public policy – an early career with Local Government New Zealand and the Taranaki Regional Council, plus a public policy qualification; stakeholder facilitation – facilitating focus groups to generate clear consensus positions amongst stakeholders; research and analysis – capacity to communicate, research, analyse and deliver quality outputs within agreed deadlines.

Daphne Luke - Chair of Maori Spectrum Trust

Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine

As founder of Te Arahanga o Ngā Iwi, a Māori economic development agency based on the Kāpiti Coast.  Daphne works with iwi, community and government agencies to advance the interests of Māori in the region.   In 2009 she initiated Te Aho, a regional Māori economic development strategy that engaged five iwi and five local authorities across the region Whitireia to the Rangitikei River for five years.  Working across the interests of five iwi, five local authorities and two regional authorities.

She founded Te Rōpū Pakihi, the local Māori business network in 2000 and is the Chair of that group.  Daphne has been a kaiāwhina for Te Wānanga o Raukawa for a number of years in management programme design and delivery and was appointed to the Wānanga's governing body, Te Mana Whakahaere by Minister Steven Joyce in 2013.  A position she continues to hold today.

In 2010 Daphne was elected to Te Huarahi Tika Charitable Trust, the Māori Spectrum Trust which she now Chairs.  She is a director of the Trust's subsidiary, Hautaki Limited that holds the collective interests of Māori in 2degrees mobile.  Daphne also represents the Trust's interest in the Spectrum claimant coalition.

Whilst a member of the 2010 Māori Economic Taskforce, Daphne was part of the Rural Broadband Working Group formed by Minister Sharples to explore how the Rural Broadband Initiative could provide outcomes for Māori communities.  This led to her appointment by the Minister to Ngā Pū Waea a national Māori advisory board.  Daphne continued in this role until 2013.

Over the last five years Daphne has also been responsible for the project management of two major Ngāti Raukawa initiatives including Te Rūnanga o Raukawa change management to a new Whānau Ora entity and project management of Te Hono ki Raukawa, the largest of the three Waitangi claim management groups for Ngāti Raukawa.

Suzie Marsden - General Manager - Services

Suzie leads the design and delivery of NZTE products and services that help customers strengthen their business, understand their customers and increase their sales as they grow internationally.

Previously the Director of Better by Design at NZTE, Suzie is an experienced senior executive and marketing professional with strong leadership credentials.

Suzie joined NZTE in August 2014. Prior to that she was at Westpac where she held marketing, product and sales leadership roles including Regional Manager Retail Bank, Head of Brand & Marketing, Head of Sustainability and Head of Consumer Finance. Suzie was also on the Lead Team for Fisher and Paykel Finance as GM Marketing and has seven years experience in the UK, in the financial services and oil and gas industries.

Over 20 years Suzie has honed her services marketing skills as well as brand building, change management and product development. She also developed and implemented Westpac’s multi award winning sustainability strategy.

Gloria Campbell - Regional Commissioner for Social Development

Gloria’s career in the public service began in 1978 when she commenced in the position of Benefits clerk in Stratford for the Department of Social Welfare.  Prior to being appointed as MSD Regional Commissioner in 1998, Gloria held a number of management roles within the Department of Labour and New Zealand Employment Service.

Gloria holds an Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) membership and a Public Service Management qualification, which she attained while with the Department of Labour.

As one of 11 Regional Commissioners for the Ministry of Social Development, Gloria leads a region of about 190 staff working out of 10 service centres across the region and is based at the regional office in New Plymouth.

Gloria’s team includes a labour market development function that assists local communities create employment opportunities and helps address skills and labour shortages by partnering with industry and business.  Promoting the benefits of recruiting a diverse workforce, she is committed to helping people access opportunities that improve their lives and that of their whānau contributing to stronger and more resilient communities.

Gloria is Taranaki born and bred and has a strong understanding of regional and social issues, living and tree farming with her husband in central Taranaki.  She is passionate about her involvement with the Taranaki Kiwi Trust spending as many weekends as she can, engaged in activities and events on behalf of the Trust.  Gloria is also a former Board Member of Venture Taranaki Trust.

Shot by James Griffin of Edgeline Photography | www.edgeline.co.nz

Dr Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a 'pracademic' with over 25 years experience working in economic development in Australia and New Zealand, in policy analysis, practice, research, teaching and consultancy. He has worked in universities, parliaments and state and local governments.

Paul has a BA (HONS) and MA degrees in political science (Australian National University) and a PhD in geography and planning (University of New England, Australia). He has written and presented widely on many aspects of economic development. His particular interests are in economic development strategies and action plans, regional governance, rural town economic development, building entrepreneurship ecosystems, creativity and innovation.

Paul currently lives in Waipukurau NZ and teaches in the Business School at Hawke's Bay Eastern Institute of Technology, where he is an Adjunct Associate Professor. He is a NZ Business mentor, a Young Enterprise Scheme mentor (a special joy) and is NZ"s point man for Purdue (Indiana) University's Agile Strategy Lab ' strategic doing' work.

Peter McKinlay - Local Government think tank

Peter is the Executive Director of MDL. His specialist interests are public policy and local governance, the design of governance structures and organisational strategy. In addition to his consulting work, he is a regular author, presenter and commentator on the future role and function of local government.

Peter is also a Research Associate at the NZ Institute for Governance and Policy Studiesat Victoria University of Wellington.

Brad Olsen

Brad Olsen is an economist at Infometrics and has expertise in bringing together a range of complex data to tell stories in an engaging way. He has a comprehensive understanding of the regional economy, with a particular focus on Northland where he grew up. Brad regularly speaks to media about issues arising in the economy, with recent highlights including discussions on the Auckland regional fuel taxstrike action and productivity, and milk pricing. He also has a sound understanding of New Zealand’s infrastructure and tertiary education policy areas, and contributes to Infometrics regional data and consulting projects.

Outside of work, Brad’s involved in numerous community organisations, including as Chair of the Wellington City Youth Council, a member of the external advisory group for the review of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, and more. In 2016, he was announced as New Zealand’s Queen’s Young Leader and has met the Queen at Buckingham Palace three times.


Dr David Wilson

Dr David Wilson, CEO of Northland Inc, Chair of EDNZ and Member of the PGF Advisory Panel

David has been involved with a wide variety of projects in local and regional economic development, metropolitan, business and industry sector development, corporate citizenship, governance, sustainable economic and socio-economic development.

David Wilson, who since 2007 has been director of the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University, took up his new Whangarei-based role leading the regional economic development agency and tourism organisation in September 2013.

As director of AUT’s Institute of Public Policy, Dr Wilson designed and led an academic programme dedicated to economic development professionals. He holds a PhD in regional economic development.  To read more about David …

Ben Lucas

Ben leads major strategy projects for Metrodynamic clients across the UK. He is an expert on the political and economic drivers that are needed for growth and how to shape narratives that best reflect these. He advises places on governance, inclusive growth and how best to work with Westminster and Whitehall.

Before becoming a Founding Director of Metro Dynamics, Ben had a long career in public policy and communications, advising cities, businesses and charities on how best to achieve their public affairs objectives. He has worked with Ministers, Officials and Local Government Leaders on a range of public policy issues, has set up and run a public affairs consultancy and two highly influential Commissions, the 2020 Public Services Commission and the RSA City Growth Commission.

Professor Wim Heijman

Wim Heijman (1953) received MSc degrees respectively in Economics and Human Geography from Tilburg University and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He received his PhD degree from Wageningen University. In 2000 he was appointed Professor of Regional Economics at the latter university. His major research topics are rural development, landscape economics, and the assessment of the regional economic impact of tourism. Prof. Heijman was awarded honorary doctor’s degree by the Universities of Debrecen in 1999 and Nitra in 2015. In 2004, 2014, 2015, and 2016 he received honorary professor titles from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, the Mongolian University of Life Sciences in Ulaanbaatar, the Stavropol State Agrarian University (Russian Federation), and the Belgorod State Agricultural University (Russian Federation) respectively. He has been affiliated with AGRIMBA (the network for the MBA in Agribusiness and Commerce) since the start of the organization in 1995. In 2015 he was appointed its Secretary General.


Vaughan Cooper - General Manager - Northland Inc

General Manager of Investment and Infrastructure at Northland Inc.

Luke Beehre - Project Manager of Extension 350

Luke manages and executes the Extension 350 initiative on behalf of Ministry for Primary Industries, Northland Regional Council, Dairy NZ, Beef+Lamb New Zealand and Northland Inc. Luke's background and specialist areas include agricultural project management, finance and farming.

Julian Wood

Julian works on the Maxim Institute's economics project, primarily examining regional development in New Zealand. With a Master’s in Social Science from Waikato University, Julian brings a depth of experience from his time working as a senior policy analyst for the Department of Labour, where he focused on labour market dynamics, minimum wage and employment legislation, regional development, business dynamics, and immigration.

Jim Sephton - Principal Project Manager - NZTA

Jim is creative leader who has focused his carreer on achieving outstanding results for communities and clients through meaningful collaboration.

He is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over twenty years experience in the UK and NZ developing and delivering transportation and place based projects.

He’s spent the majority of his career in the private sector working for Jacobs and GHD and is now enjoying life in the client side at NZTA.

As a Principal Project Manager for NZTA based in Whangarei, he is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Northland Programme and is the architect of the Northland Delivery Framework - an innovative procurement model which supports pathways to employment and job opportunities for our community

He’s been involved in the Northland Bridges programme from Business Case through to delivery.  As a member of the Programme Management Board he promotes the ‘Mauri’ of this programme which is “Enhancing our communities’ environment and economy through building better bridges”.

Patrick McVeigh - Master of Ceremonies

Patrick will act as the conference MC.

Patrick moved to New Zealand in 2013 and has since led business, innovation and skills programmes at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). He oversaw the delivery of key initiatives, including the development of the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct (GridAKL), the Auckland Youth Employer Pledge, JobFest, TechWeek, IdeaStarter and Digmyidea.

Patrick also led ATEED’s economic insight and analysis programme. This included the development of the Auckland Growth Monitor and Index, the Auckland Innovation Dashboard, the Local Economic Development Masterclass, and the Auckland Economic Insight series, including recent reports on the Circular Economy and Growing Prosperity.

Patrick’s strong consultancy background is based on a deep foundation of eight years’ experience in public policy and economic development consulting in London, where he worked with local, regional and central government clients.  Patrick has recently joined MartinJenkins.

Te Ngaronoa Mahanga - host of the EDNZ Gala Awards

Te is a man of many talents, a musician, a MC extraordinaire and an economic development professional.  Te will be hosting our MBIE Gala Awards Dinner and bringing to the event his unique style and humour.

Currently working for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) as an Industry Development Coordinator in the Māori Economic Development team.

Te Ngaronoa has run the DIGMYIDEA – Māori Innovation Challenge over the last two years which is designed to bring together aspiring Māori digital entrepreneurs looking to transform an idea into a sustainable business. Te Ngaronoa also writes and performs Māori Hip Hop that aims to uplift Māori culture by celebrating Māori values, stories and aspirations, in a fun, melodic manner.

Find Te Ngaronoa’s Kaupapa Driven EP on Spotify and Apple Music.