Our Team

At NRDA our people are our most important asset and bring a wide range of skills and capabilities to the organisation. We are proud of the diversity of our team, with team members from 11 countries and speaking 13 different languages.

Mark Rawson - Chief Executive

Mark Rawson - Chief Executive

Originally from regional Otago and South Canterbury, Mark holds qualifications in business and economic development. He provides a blend of public and private sector experience as a result of his diverse background in senior executive positions in the public and private sectors at a 'hands on' operational, senior management, and governance level. Mark has held roles in local and regional economic development, regional destination marketing and management, local government economic and regulatory service delivery, events and venues management and marketing, inner-city revitalisation and worked in private equity for four years.

Prior to taking on his role at the NRDA Mark was CEO at Destination Rotorua. Before that he was Group Manager Economic & Regulatory Services at Rotorua Lakes Council. This followed on from his role as GM of a Rotorua-based private equity company involved in a wide range of investments both in NZ and China (predominantly focused in the wood processing, manufacturing, property development and China market F&B exporting sectors). Outside of work Mark's interests range from cycling, golf, cricket, and rugby to pretty much any sport. He also maintains an interest in NZ business and investment markets. Mark is married and has a stepdaughter to help keep him on his toes.

Contact Mark at markrawson@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 923 2051.


Bill Findlater - Executive Advisor - China Business

Bill Findlater - Executive Advisor - China Business

Bill was CE of the region's original economic development agency from its inception in 2004 until June 2016. He has now taken on the role of Executive Advisor – China Business for two days a week.

Bill was employed by the EDA after a 34-year career in the pip fruit industry. He came to Nelson Tasman in 1985 as the Nelson-Marlborough Regional Manager for the New Zealand Apple & Pear Marketing Board (ENZA) and became National Supply Manager in 1997. For three years prior to joining the EDA, Bill was Procurement Director for a joint-venture UK Category Management company supplying produce to seven of the eight major UK supermarket chains.

Bill is former chairman of the company operating the successful Nelson Giants Basketball franchise. He is Chairman of the Annesbrook Community Trust and a director of Annesbrook Leadership College. He is an appointed advisor to the Tasman Regional Transport Committee. Bill is also a member of the Institute of Directors, is on the board of Top of the South Trades Academy, and is a member of NMIT's business advisory group.

For fun, he is a member of Ulysses Motorcycle Club whose motto is ‘Growing Old Disgracefully’, enjoys visiting USA, particularly Route 66, regularly with his son and riding his e-mountain bike.

Contact Bill at bill@nrda.co.nz or phone: 021 427 538.


Mark Maguire - Regional Business Advisor - Research & Development

Mark Maguire - Regional Business Advisor - Research & Development

Originally from the UK, Mark has relocated to Nelson Tasman after 13 years in Wellington. Mark has held General Manager positions in the hospitality, retail, and tertiary sectors and has a strong commercial background from working in small to medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Mark's career has been varied, with extensive experience in corporate governance, operational design and strategy, and change management and he has also been responsible for financial reporting and business succession planning.

When not in the office, Mark enjoys spending time with his young family. He is passionate about most sports but particularly enjoys supporting his favourite sporting teams including the All Blacks, Hurricanes and Warriors. You may also find him playing golf and tennis when the weather permits.

For more information on how your business can benefit from Mark's expertise or to arrange a meeting please contact Mark on mark@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 923 2053.


Lesley McQue - Economic Developments Projects & Insights Programme Manager

Lesley McQue - Economic Developments Projects & Insights Programme Manager

Lesley moved to Nelson Tasman from the UK in 2004, joining the (then) EDA in March 2013. Lesley has had an extensive career in production control, configuration management, business process re-engineering, and project management, in various sectors including military electronics, flight simulation, radiotherapy treatment machines, insurance, wholesale banking and more recently in food production.

She also has experience in software training, the diving industry, and office administration in artwork, civil engineering and in community service.

Having travelled extensively, Lesley now enjoys home life on her rural property, tending her vegetable garden and orchard, and making cheese. Entertaining friends with recipes that she has bought back from her travels is yet another of Lesley's hobbies. Lesley also dabbles in a bit of collage work and mixed media in her spare time.

Contact Lesley at lesley@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 923 2054.


Helen Riddle - Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Helen Riddle - Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Helen is a third-generation Nelsonian who returned to her hometown after living in Christchurch for ten years. Helen has had a long and varied career in administration, culminating in ten years as an Executive Assistant with a global manufacturing company, where she had a wide range of responsibilities from Quality Assurance to Occupational Safety and Health.

Having recently built a new home, Helen is enjoying landscaping and gardening, she also enjoys outdoor life – camping, boating, and walking.  When bad weather strikes she spends time indoors on hand-crafts, making things for her grandchildren.

Contact Helen at helen@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 923 2052.


Jessie Creedmore - Domestic Consumer & Events Marketing Manager

Jessie Creedmore - Domestic Consumer & Events Marketing Manager

Jessie joined the NRDA in September 2016, bringing with her 20 years' experience in business development, event marketing, publishing, website development, writing, creative services, and digital media. She has also bought and sold a marketing and website development company.

Previously, Jessie's predominantly worked with the private sector across a range of industries, including product development, branding and distribution of import sporting goods, property developments, wine marketing, commercial bus manufacture and marketing, and digital content marketing training services.

Jessie is a strong advocate for Nelson Tasman. She's lived in several beautiful parts of New Zealand and visited amazing places around the world, but now calls Nelson Tasman her forever home. It makes sense that Jessie chose to work in an organisation tasked with the enhancement of the vitality of the region, given her love for the region.

Contact Jessie on jessie@nrda.co.nz or phone: 03 545 6854.


Gisela Purcell - International Marketing Manager

Gisela Purcell - International Marketing Manager

Gisela grew up in Nelson Tasman but has spent enough time living in other places around the world to appreciate what makes this region unique. She has an MA in International Development and a wide range of work experiences including running her own business teaching languages to children in New Zealand and Australia, marketing local education opportunities to international students, and promoting the region's wines.  Gisela believes that the synergy created by working collaboratively harnesses more energy to achieve maximum results.

Outside of work, Gisela enjoys playing in a variety of music groups from percussion bands to classical orchestra. She loves getting into the great outdoors either on foot, by bike or in her kayak. She is also passionate about her volunteer roles with the Trade Aid Shop and Fair Trade movement.

Contact Gisela at gisela@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 545 6853.


Tracee Neilson - International Media Liaison

Tracee Neilson - International Media Liaison

Tracee grew up in Nelson Tasman and is proud to call the region home. After completing two Marketing degrees at Otago University, Tracee went on to work for Shell Oil company both in NZ and Australia, managing retail fuel marketing. Returning home to Nelson Tasman in 2004, Tracee has enjoyed a part-time role planning itineraries, hosting visiting media and supporting the International Marketing Manager with trade relations at NRDA Tourism for almost nine years. Tracee has immensely enjoyed the sector switch to promoting the Nelson Tasman region – an easy job in terms of what is on offer.

In her spare time, Tracee makes full use of our national parks and all the other great outdoors activities the region offers, particularly running and mountain biking with her two children. Tracee also enjoys to travel and be reminded of how spoilt we are to be living in Nelson Tasman.

Contact Tracee at tracee@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 539 0820. 


Laura Duquemin - Domestic Marketing & Content Coordinator

Laura Duquemin - Domestic Marketing & Content Coordinator

Laura moved to Nelson Tasman from Guernsey in the Channel Islands when she was just eight years old. Not having visited New Zealand before, her family decided to sell their house and uplift their lives in order to move to our beautiful region and make the most of everything it has to offer. Laura attended Nelson College for Girls with her sister for seven years, before taking a gap year after graduating to reconnect with her family and friends in Guernsey and Spain.

In 2013, Laura did a short course in wedding planning and after three and a half further years of study, she has graduated from NMIT with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Management and Marketing. During her time at NMIT, Laura achieved numerous awards for her academic achievements and took an interest in applying her learning practically, engaging in both internships and contract work at local organisations.

In her spare time, Laura loves to be outdoors, whether that be for paddle-boarding, kayaking, yoga, tennis, biking or simply going for a walk. As a person who likes to fill up her days with every activity possible, Laura also has a creative side, dabbling in baking and craft projects when time allows.

Contact Laura at laura@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 539 0823.


Rebecca Leach - Events Coordinator

Rebecca Leach - Events Coordinator

Rebecca grew up on a South Canterbury farm with summer holidays spent at Rainy River and Tahunanui Beach, so the Nelson Tasman region has always held a special place in her heart. Originally moving here to live in 2006, she has recently returned after residing in Abu Dhabi for 3.5 years and is enjoying the change of seasons and getting back into the kiwi lifestyle. Immersing herself and her family in all the region has to offer has been a real pleasure, including rediscovering beautiful locations to walk the dog, incredible performing arts and sporting opportunities for her teenage children, and the fabulous eateries which she is still working her way around.

With a post-graduate qualification in Marketing and a background predominantly in sales and food marketing, Rebecca has worked in roles with multi-nationals as a Key Account Manager and Space Planning Analyst and with local FMCG businesses in Sales and Marketing positions. She also has experience as a community volunteer in education, child health, and sport.

In her role as an Events Coordinator she’s loving promoting our beautiful region to event organisers and professional conference organisers, selling Nelson Tasman through others at every chance.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca@nelsonnz.com or by phone on 03 923 2055.


Toni Power - Finance Manager

Toni Power - Finance Manager

After a few years of living in Christchurch, Toni, a born and bred Nelsonian, decided to return home to more stable ground. Toni has fifteen years’ experience in the finance industry, starting her accountancy career at West Yates in Nelson before moving on to work for a global IT company in Christchurch. Tonis’ passion for numbers and the Nelson Tasman region is the perfect combination for her role at the NRDA.

On the weekends you will see Toni escaping from the numbers to explore the great outdoors with family, friends and her dog Mac, or cook up a storm in the kitchen.

Contact Toni at toni@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 545 6856.

 


Hannah Norton - Partnerships & Engagements Manager

After growing up in Christchurch Hannah completed an Honours degree in Commerce before moving to Auckland to start a career in marketing and business development. She worked in both the legal and events sectors before moving to Auckland Tourism - Events and Economic Development where she gained experience in destination marketing and management, and economic development. Whilst there, Hannah developed specific expertise in destination development with a focus on driving greater value for the region by working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders.

Hannah and her partner always aspired to settle long term in the Nelson Tasman region so were excited to make the move in early 2018. They are loving being closer to family and the amazing outdoor surrounds. Outside of work, Hannah can often be found in the outdoors with family and friends, whether it be running, cycling, kayaking or a slower paced tramp in the back country. Always wanting to challenge herself she often competes in various multisport and adventure races around New Zealand.

Contact Hannah at hannah@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 545 6852.


Dorothy Riley - Nelson i-SITE Manager

Dorothy Riley - Nelson i-SITE Manager

Dorothy grew up in a dairy farming family in Taranaki and then the West Coast, with extended family always in Nelson Tasman. After an OE and four years in Auckland, she moved to Nelson Tasman.

Dorothy's initial career was in Early Childhood. After having her own children, a change in career was required, and with travel being another major interest, this was the obvious choice. With a travel qualification from NMIT secured it was off to gain experience in an awesome NZ locality with a tourism focus – Te Anau/Fiordland, being employed with a major NZ tourism operator, this then led to the Nelson i-SITE.

Dorothy and her family live in Richmond. Exploring NZ in any way possible is one of their main pastimes, along with the challenge of modernising their 1960s home and keeping up with two teenagers and their activities.

Contact Dorothy at dorothy@nelsonnz.com or phone: 03 539 0827.


Renée Bennett-Shields - Nelson i-SITE Assistant Manager

Renée Bennett-Shields - Nelson i-SITE Assistant Manager

Renée is a third generation Nelsonian, born into a proud fishing family. Her early working career saw her sailing the seas on a deep-sea fishing vessel with Sanford and Sealord, joining an industry in which her father, mother and brother already worked. Renée met her husband on the water and after a short stint living in Timaru, moved back to Nelson Tasman to join the land factories, working in quality control and staff training.

After getting married and a summer of quality controlling apple pickers and boysenberry fields, Renée joined the world of hospitality, stepping up to the role of Maître d'hôtel until baby number one was on its way. A few years (and another baby) on, Renée stepped into the exciting world of tourism and found her calling. Attributing an even deeper passion for Nelson Tasman, and New Zealand, to the knowledge gained during four years working at Nelson i-SITE, Renée gets immense enjoyment from helping people explore this exceptional region.

Contact Renée on brochures@nelsonnz.com or by phone on 03 744 3346.


David Pons - Nelson i-SITE Supervisor

David Pons - Nelson i-SITE Supervisor

Born in Belgium, David's deep appreciation of New Zealand started with a one-year school exchange in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty. Back in Belgium David completed University, gaining a Masters in International Relations, as well as being an active member of the local scouts group and travelling.

A full year of work holiday travelling and exploring most of New Zealand, including being a surf instructor on the West Coast and working a winter season at Mt Hutt, resulted in him returning to live in Nelson Tasman with his partner. An avid surfer, mountain biker and action sports maniac, David has a broad knowledge of outdoor activities in the Nelson Tasman region and New Zealand in general and speaks five languages.

Contact David on Supervisor@nelsonnz.com or by phone on 03 744 3348.


Nelson Tasman i-SITE Team

Nelson Tasman i-SITE Team

In addition, we are very proud to have a dedicated seasonal i-SITE team. 

Find out more about the i-SITE here


Working for our team requires commitment to the following five values:

Authentic ambassadors sharing our Nelson Tasman region's identity
Great to exceptional team
Fun and enjoyment
Catalyst for partnership
Customer-centric

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