Tom Skerman

Hawke’s Bay former lawyer Tom Skerman has joined Hawke’s Bay Regional Council as its new Economic Development Manager.

Mr Skerman has lived in Hawke’s Bay for more than 20 years, having farmed in northern Hawke’s Bay for 15 years, before working as a lawyer at Sainsbury Logan Williams law firm. He replaces Michael Bassett-Foss who left HBRC in September to take up a newly created position as project director for the Wairarapa Water Project.

More recently Mr Skerman has been in a national role as the Commercial Development Manager for Te Tumu Paeroa (Māori Trustee), which works with owners of Māori land to protect and build their assets.

This role included improving the outcomes for owners of Māori land nationwide and identifying the commercial opportunities available to Māori.

Mr Skerman sees his position at HBRC as an extension and development of his last role, working with key stakeholders, including Māori, to identify and maximise the opportunities for the region.

He says he was attracted to the role partly because of the bold and innovative projects HBRC is involved in, particularly the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

Mr Skerman sees his connection and empathy with the primary sector as one of his strengths, along with his understanding of the opportunities available to all businesses, including Māori. He has particular experience in strategy facilitation, commercial consultation and agricultural partnerships.

Tom will be heading the HBRC led initiatives in the Regional Economic Development Strategy, as well as supporting the council’s investment company team on farmer uptake for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.