At the Nelson Regional Development Agency, our people are our most important asset and bring a wide range of skills and capabilities to the organisation.

Our diverse team is made up of individuals from many different countries, speaking many different languages, uniting in their undying passion for our extraordinary region and their dedication to sharing this with current and potential talent, visitors and investors.  

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. 

Outside of work Mark's interests range from cycling, golf, cricket and rugby. He also maintains an interest in New Zealand business and investment markets.

Contact Mark

Hannah Norton - Destination Identity Manager

Hannah Norton - Destination Identity Manager

Hannah moved to the Nelson Tasman region in early 2018 looking to combine her career with an extraordinary lifestyle and has never looked back. She has a diverse background in marketing and business development, initially in the legal and events sectors before moving to Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development where she gained specific experience in destination marketing and management.

Hannah leads the development and execution of Nelson Tasman’s regional identity, with a key focus on positioning and promoting the region as a place where talent and business want to be. She also manages the communication and digital strategies across all of the Nelson Regional Development Agency's activity areas.

Outside of work, Hannah can be found in the outdoors with family and friends, whether it be running, mountain biking, kayaking, participating in adventure races or taking a slower paced tramp in the back country.

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Gisela Purcell - Visitor Destination Manager

Gisela Purcell - Visitor Destination 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 experience 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

Toni Power - Finance Lead

Toni Power - Finance Lead

After a few years of living in Christchurch working for a global IT company, Toni, a born and bred Nelsonian, decided to return home with her family to more stable ground. Toni has seventeen years’ experience in the finance industry, having first started her accountancy career at West Yates.

Toni manages the finances of the Nelson Regional Development Agency, supporting the team as they deliver on promoting, positioning and connecting the region. Toni is an all-round problem solver, carrying out a range of administration duties including Health, Safety and Wellness, IT solutions, compliance and Human Resources, as well as providing assistance to the i-SITE management team.

Toni loves living and working here in Nelson Tasman. On the weekends you’ll find her escaping from spreadsheets by cooking up a storm in the kitchen or exploring the great outdoors with family, friends and her dog Mac.

contact toni

Lesley McQue - Economic Developments Projects & Insights Programme Manager

Lesley McQue - Economic Developments Projects & Insights Programme Manager

Originally from the UK, Lesley and her husband migrated to Nelson Tasman in 2004. With a background in production management, project management and research work, Lesley enjoyed a variety of roles before joining the Nelson Regional Development Agency in 2013 to deliver Economic Development projects and Economic data and reports.

Lesley's role at the Nelson Regional Development Agency is currently focused on helping to develop the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy, an ambitious project led by Wakatū Incorporation in collaboration with NRDA, Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and Marlborough District Council. More information about the project can be found on the Te Tauihu website

Having travelled extensively, Lesley now enjoys home life on her rural property. In her free time, she can be found tending her vegetable garden and orchard, cooking or engaging in a range of other creative pursuits. 

contact lesley

Mark Maguire - Regional Business Advisor - Research & Development

Mark Maguire - Regional Business Advisor - Research & Development

Mark relocated to Nelson Tasman after 13 years in Wellington. His strong commercial background includes 15 years of experience in corporate governance, operational design and strategy, change management and succession planning.

Mark manages the delivery of the Regional Business Partner Programme across the top of the south, and also has a key focus on supporting local businesses to increase their R&D efforts with the outcome on commercialisation. Drawing on the resources via Callaghan Innovation this covers a range of R&D grants, specialist research & technical services expertise, innovation skills-building programmes, as well as connections across the R&D and commercial landscape. 

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, and he is always trying to improve his paddle boarding and mountain biking skills.

contact mark

Tracee Neilson - International Liaison & Business Events Lead

Tracee Neilson - International Liaison & Business Events Lead

Tracee grew up in Nelson Tasman, but left for Otago University where she gained a BCom and DipCom before her big OE. Tracee's professional career has included banking and retail marketing for Shell. Returning home in 2004 to be close to family and raise her children, Tracee has been part of the Nelson Regional Development Agency (previously Nelson Tasman Tourism) team for over 10 years.

Tracee works across two areas of the business. With her International Liaison hat on, she pitches content and story ideas to global media, hosting them in the region during their visit. She also works closely with trade and travel sellers encouraging high value visitors to come to Nelson Tasman in the shoulder seasons. The other part of Tracee's role includes leading the Business Events programme, submitting bids, hosting PCO's, generating sales leads and engaging with partners.

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

contact tracee

Laura Duquemin - Marketing & Digital Executive

Laura Duquemin - Marketing & Digital Executive

Originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, Laura and her family moved to Nelson Tasman in 2003. After spending her gap year travelling, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Management and Marketing here at NMIT, engaging in marketing internships and contract work throughout.

Laura's role at the Nelson Regional Development Agency involves positioning and promoting the Nelson Tasman region as an extraordinary holiday destination for domestic travellers, with a specific focus on driving visitation during the shoulder seasons. Working closely with partners, influencers and media, this involves overseeing and coordinating all aspects of domestic marketing campaign activity. Laura also manages the content across a range of our digital platforms, including our regional website and social media channels.

In her spare time, Laura loves to tick as much as she can off her ever-changing bucket list. Whether that's canyoning in the Abel Tasman National Park, hiking to the top of Mount Arthur, running a half-marathon or taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, she's always open to suggestions for new activities. 

contact laura

Rebecca Leach - Events Liaison

Rebecca Leach - Events Liaison

Rebecca completed a BSc and BCapS at Otago University, before beginning her career in Account Management and Space Planning in the FMCG industry whilst studying marketing at Massey University. Rebecca first moved with her family to Nelson Tasman in 2006, but spent 3 years living and working in Abu Dhabi before securing her role as Events Liaison at the Nelson Regional Development Agency.

Rebecca's role includes marketing events through various media channels, co-ordinating the 3 NCC Event Sponsorship Funds and assisting in the smooth delivery of major events and city activations by connecting people in the events and related industries. This is for the benefit of our communities, increasing social cohesion and bringing positive commercial outcomes for local business. Rebecca really enjoys building these relationships and seeing the multitude of outcomes of well organised events – especially enjoyment on the faces of attendees!

Rebecca’s spare time involves following her teenage children’s ballet, underwater hockey and volleyball from the side lines, walking her aging chocolate Labrador along the railway reserve and a little gardening. Rebecca believes that Nelson Tasman is the perfect region for all of these activities. 

contact rebecca

Donna Adlam - Business Support Coordinator

Donna Adlam - Business Support Coordinator

Originally born in Palmerston North, Donna has lived, worked and travelled around New Zealand and other parts of the world, including her big ‘O.E’ to the UK and USA. Donna's passion for the tourism industry, particularly in New Zealand, was inspired by her work as a Scuba Diving Instructor at Dive! Tutukaka in Northland.

Donna provides administrative support to Mark Maguire through the Regional Business Partner Programme, a programme designed to enable local businesses to innovate and grow. She also assists Gisela and the rest of the tourism team to attract high value visitors into the region during the shoulder seasons.

Donna enjoys spending time with her 3 children, who are ‘the light of her life’.  She has a keen interest in nutrition, health and sustainable practices through reducing waste and growing her own food. Donna thoroughly enjoys living in the Nelson Tasman region, finding all her great passions at her doorstep; the outdoors, hiking, running, biking, swimming, beaches, amazing wine and food and great friends.

contact donna

Amanda Gregg - Partner Programme Coordinator

Amanda Gregg - Partner Programme Coordinator

Amanda grew up in Dunedin and relocated to Nelson Tasman from Christchurch in 2007. She has an extensive background in project management within a wide cross section of small to large business sectors throughout New Zealand.

Amanda facilitates and streamlines our Visitor Sector Partner Programme from the sign-up process through to the development and delivery of partner programme collateral and communication systems. Behind the scenes she assesses our digital tools and workflows to ensure partner requirements are met. Amanda enjoys supporting and collaborating with our highly valued partners in the visitor sector.

Outside of work Amanda loves all of what the Nelson Tasman outdoor region has to offer. Another happy place is her passion for natural gardening practices gaining her a Horticulture Certificate in Organics.

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Phoebe Legge - Executive Assistant

Phoebe Legge - Executive Assistant

Born and bred here in Nelson Tasman, Phoebe graduated from Nelson College for Girls in 2016 and moved on to become a full time business student at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, gaining her qualification in 2018. Phoebe joined the Nelson Regional Development Agency in 2018 as our Receptionist and has recently been appointed as Executive Assistant.

Phoebe provides a range of executive support to Mark Rawson, and also assists with administration duties, events and ensuring the smooth running of the Mahitahi Colab. 

Phoebe spends her weekends out and about exploring what the region has to offer. She loves road trips and can often be found sharing a good meal with her friends in the many corners of Nelson Tasman region.

contact phoebe

Renée Bennett-Shields - Nelson i-SITE Manager

Renée Bennett-Shields - Nelson i-SITE 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 over four years working at Nelson i-SITE, Renée gets immense enjoyment from helping people explore this exceptional region.

contact renee

Jess Harvey - Assistant i-SITE Manager

Jess Harvey - Assistant i-SITE Manager

Originally from Sweden, Jess moved to Nelson in 2010 to study Adventure Tourism at NMIT and began her career at the Nelson i-SITE in early 2016. Jess brought with her a range of experience in the tourism industry, from her time guiding on the ice at Fox Glacier, ski instructing at Rainbow Ski Field and teaching outdoor education at Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre.

In her role as the assistant manager of the Nelson i-SITE, Jess manages a team of consultants who enhance our visitor’s experience in our region and beyond. Jess works closely with businesses, tourism operators, her team and the i-SITE manager to build lasting relationships that encourage collaboration across the region to give our visitors the best possible time with us.

In her spare time, Jess is most likely outside, often on a mountain bike. Jess enjoys travelling the world with her husband during the New Zealand winters to partake in the Enduro World Series mountain bike races and is the first person to vouch for Nelson as a world class destination for the sport.

contact jess

Nelson Tasman i-SITE Team

Nelson Tasman i-SITE Team

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

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