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 11 different countries, speaking 13 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2051.
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 email@example.com or phone: 03 923 2054.
Mark Maguire - Regional Business Advisor - Research & Development
Mark relocated to Nelson Tasman after 13 years in Wellington. Mark has held General Manager positions in tertiary, hospitality and retail sectors and has a strong commercial background from working in small to medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Mark's brings 15 years of experience in corporate governance, operational design and strategy, change management and business 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. Mark has connections into many local and national networks.
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.
For more information on how your business can benefit or to arrange a meeting please contact Mark on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2053.
Donna Adlam - Business Support Coordinator
Originally born in Palmerston North, Donna has lived, worked and travelled around New Zealand and parts of the world, including her big ‘O.E’ to the United Kingdom. She worked for 10 years as a Scuba Diving Instructor, which took her to Tonga, Thailand and some amazing spots here in New Zealand. Donna spent some of her instructing career working for Dive! Tutukaka in Northland, where she became very interested and involved with Tourism in New Zealand.
For the past 8 years Donna has been a full time Mum to her 3 children, who are ‘the light of her life'! Donna has a keen interest in nutrition, health and sustainable practices. She spends her spare time trying to nourish her family with goodness whilst reducing waste, limiting their impact on the environment and growing food.
Donna moved to Richmond 5 years ago with her young family and she thoroughly enjoys living in the Nelson Tasman Region, finding all of her great passions at her doorstep: the outdoors, running, biking, swimming, beaches, netball, amazing wine and food and great friends.
Contact Donna at email@example.com.
Toni Power - Finance Lead
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 545 6856.
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 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 email@example.com or phone: 03 545 6853.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 539 0820.
Hannah Norton - Destination Identity 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 email@example.com or phone: 03 545 6852.
Laura Duquemin - Marketing & Digital Executive
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 539 0823.
Rebecca Leach - Major 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 email@example.com or phone: 03 923 2055.
Jenelle Strickland - Event Sales & Marketing Lead
Jenelle (more commonly known as Nelly) comes from a strong sports administration background having managed the Tasman Mako for 5 years and most recently managing the Black Ferns 7s team for 4 years. She has had the opportunity through work to travel the country and the world seeing how large events operate and can vouch that the Nelson Tasman region is still her top destination of them all. Nelly works part time in the role of Events Sales and Marketing Lead while still working part time on special projects for NZRugby.
Originally from the North Island, Nelly moved to Nelson from Rotorua with her family as a teenager and has stayed in Nelson ever since (apart from a small time away in Palmerston North for University). The playground that is the Nelson Tasman region suits her lifestyle of getting into the outdoors whether that’s up in the hills mountain biking or hiking or on/in the ocean fishing. Living on a lifestyle block with her partner Andy and dog Tui keeps Nelly busy when she isn’t adventuring in the outdoors.
You can contact Nelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 027 230 0977.
Amanda Gregg - Partner Programme Coordinator
Amanda relocated to Nelson Tasman from Christchurch in 2007 and has an extensive background in Project Management within a wide cross section of small to large business sectors throughout New Zealand.
Amanda facilitates our Visitor Partner Programme including streamlining our systems and workflows to ensure partner requirements are met.
She grew up in Dunedin coming from a family that encouraged exploring the outdoors, particularly skiing at a young age. Amanda loves what the Nelson Tasman region has to offer. Outside of work Amanda has a passion for natural gardening practices gaining her Horticulture Certificate in Organics. When she is not pushing a wheelbarrow she can often be seen paddling, running, practicing yoga, or walking her Miniature Schnauzers Griff and Milly.
Contact Amanda at email@example.com or phone: 021 222 3029.
Phoebe Legge - Receptionist/Business Support
Born and bred here in extraordinary Nelson Tasman, Phoebe graduated Nelson College for Girls in 2016. After graduation, she spent some time working in both Reception and Dentistry before becoming a full-time business student at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT). Phoebe finished her studies last year and currently enjoying her new role at the Nelson Regional Development Agency.
Phoebe is no stranger to the wider Nelson Tasman region. Spending many weekends out and about exploring what the region has to offer, Phoebe loves road trips and can often be found sharing a good meal with her friends in the many corners of Nelson Tasman region.
You can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 74 43 246
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 during four years working at Nelson i-SITE, Renée gets immense enjoyment from helping people explore this exceptional region.
Contact Renée on email@example.com or by phone on 03 744 3346.
Jess Harvey - Nelson i-SITE Team Leader
Originally from Sweden, Jess moved to Nelson in 2010 to study Adventure Tourism at NMIT. She came to Nelson i-SITE early 2016 with experience from guiding on the ice in Fox Glacier, ski instructing at Rainbow Ski Field and outdoor education at Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre.
She has since then developed a passion for the tourism industry from a new, to her, angle and enjoys enhancing visitor experiences left, right and centre.
Outside of work, Jess is an absolute mountain bike geek, having spent the last two New Zealand winter’s travelling in South America and Europe racing the Enduro World Series with her partner in crime, Loui, in their 1990 Fiat Ducato campervan, The Beast. She also enjoys learning Spanish, attempting to grow her own vegetables and a constant stream of DIY projects.
Contact Jess on firstname.lastname@example.org or the i-SITE phone 03 548 2304.
In addition, we are very proud to have a dedicated seasonal i-SITE team.