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Our leadership team

Our board members

Colin has a background in veterinary clinical practice, and during that time developed an avian health practice. Memorable moments were working with Orana Park on their kākā and kererū breeding programmes and a brief stint with kākāpō paediatrics. Colin went on to hold a number of senior executive roles in the primary, secondary and tertiary health care sectors and more recently was CEO of Otago Innovation, the commercialisation arm of the University of Otago.

He currently chairs the Boards of Tiro Medical, Upstream Medical Technologies, Elbaware and Ember Wellbeing Trust. He is a Director of The NZ institute for Minerals to Materials Research and Deputy Chair of the NZ Institute for Plant and Food Research. Previous Director roles were with NZX listed healthcare companies Pacific Edge Biotechnology and BLIS Technologies.

Colin’s connections to the land are through a native species planting programme in Northland and a cherry orchard and vineyard in Central Otago.

He is a graduate of The University of Auckland Business School, an SEP alumnus of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Dr Andrea Byrom trained as a scientist in wildlife population ecology and held various leadership roles at Manaaki Whenua for over 20 years, including co-Director of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. She now works as a consultant and professional director in Aotearoa’s environmental sector.

Andrea is a Kairangi in the Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre of Research Excellence, co-chairs the Chief Executive’s Science Advisory Panel for the Ministry for the Environment, and is a member of MfE’s Ministerial Advisory Group setting environmental limits and targets. She holds board roles with the Environmental Protection Authority and the Tāwhaki Joint Venture; is a Trustee for the Project Crimson Trust; and Chair and Trustee of the Predator-Free Trust.

Andrea values evidence-based decision-making and has a deep strategic knowledge of the New Zealand science and innovation sector and how it connects with regional and central government agencies. She values evidence-based decision-making and has a deep understanding of, and commitment to, Māori values, knowledge, and tikanga. In 2022 she was awarded the Caughley Medal from the Australasian Wildlife Management Society in recognition of a lifetime of achievements in wildlife ecology and management.

Justine is a director of ESR, Tui Ora, AGMARDT (Agricultural Marketing, Research and Development Trust) and Economic Development New Zealand. Until April 2022, she was the chief executive of Venture Taranaki, prior to which she was Deputy Director-General, Sector Partnerships and Programmes, at the Ministry for Primary Industries. She has held a number of other senior management roles across the public service in innovation, strategy, communications, policy and operations, including as Executive Director of the Royal commission of inquiry into the Canterbury earthquakes’ building failures. She resides in Taranaki with her young family.

John Rodwell is an experienced director with a background in corporate finance, investment banking and investing in agri-businesses. He was chief executive (1995-1999) of GF Brierley, a Bangkok-based investment company focused on agri investment in the region. Through this role John forged deep ties in South East Asia.

Marje Russ is an environmental and resource management specialist. Her experience and expertise include environmental planning/policy-setting, environmental certification and assurance, and risk management & governance. She served on the Board of Tonkin & Taylor Group (environmental and engineering consultants) for eleven years and is a member of the Group’s Risk and Assurance Committee. She is a member the New Zealand Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.

Warren Williams is the Chief Executive of 20/20 Communications Trust where the core service provision is digital inclusion programmes across Aotearoa New Zealand. He has executive and senior management experience in IT, business and tertiary education spanning more than 25 years.

Warren currently holds governance or director roles for Te Ao Matihiko Kāwanatanga, Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand, Trust Tairawhiti (a regional economic development agency), Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty, and other community, Māori and technology boards. Also, he is a member of the Institute of Directors and IT Professionals NZ.

With a background in strategy development, research, technology, operations, and digital communications, he is passionate about strategic leadership and increased Māori representation in decision-making roles.