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 different countries and speaking 13 different languages.
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.
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 email@example.com or phone: 03 923 2052.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2054.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 545 6852.
Laura Duquemin - Marketing & Digital 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 03 923 2055.
Tim Griffiths - Partnership Programme Lead
Originally from Bristol in the UK, Tim’s career started in the NGO & Charity Sector, including hands-on aid projects in Haiti & Argentina. More recently his experience has seen him working with small local businesses and start-ups, specialising in artisan foods and social enterprises.
Working with small businesses has given Tim a huge appreciation for the work and dedication that go into starting and growing a company, and as a result he is always searching for new ways to support and promote local businesses. You’ll often finding him getting excited by some new start-up idea or product!
Tim moved to New Zealand in May 2017 and is excited by the opportunities and adventures that the Nelson Tasman Region has to offer. In his down time, Tim enjoys throwing a bag into the car and exploring New Zealand, heading out on his bright pink bike around Nelson, and getting experimental with cooking.
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.
David Pons - Nelson i-SITE Assistant Manager
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 03 744 3348.
In addition, we are very proud to have a dedicated seasonal i-SITE team.