Hawke’s Bay’s new Regional Economic Development Agency (REDA) is in good hands, with a highly skilled line-up of board members appointed to lead the organisation and provide a strong economic voice for the region.
The Matariki Governance Group (MGG) today endorsed the chairman and four board members, following a robust appointment process that attracted many highly qualified candidates.
MGG co-chair Alex Walker said underpinning the appointment selection was the creation of a strong organisation, with mana and positioning, that could give life to the MGG’s aspirations of a thriving Hawke’s Bay economy.
“As a regional leadership group we recognise that partnerships across iwi and hapū Māori, business, and the public and private sectors are essential to create the conditions for regional economic success.
“Imagine a Hawke’s Bay where everyone is actively engaged in, and benefitting from, a thriving regional economy – that’s our aim.
“This newly appointed board brings significant commercial and governance experience along with a strong lens and passion for Hawke’s Bay’s economic development.”
Matariki Governance Group co-chair Leon Symes said the agency would also feed into the wider aims of the MGG.
“REDA will help realise the Matariki Regional Development Strategy, which envisages Hawke’s Bay as a region where wellbeing is enjoyed by every whānau, because the right learning and career opportunities are in place to make sure nobody is left behind.”
Experienced governor and outgoing Napier Port chairman Alasdair MacLeod has been appointed the board chair.
Having held many key roles in Hawke’s Bay, he brings extensive networks, credibility, and economic acumen to lead REDA through its formation, and help set its course for the future.
With its strong business, cultural, social and environmental infrastructure, Hawke’s Bay is a region businesses, investors, talent and visitors want to come to, Mr MacLeod said.
“REDA, as Hawke’s Bay’s most influential new economic enabler, will amplify what others in the region are already doing and, alongside other business support agencies, act as a front door for business in the region.”
The four other board members also brought significant commercial and governance experience, along with a passion for Hawke’s Bay’s economic development.
- Shayne Walker – Shayne brings a wide range of governance and commercial skills to the board, including a good understanding of the Māori economy. His governance roles have spanned multiple sectors from health to youth employment, forestry and property development.
- Erin Simpson: Erin brings experience in the skills development space, with strong connections to the region and the Crown. He has held governance roles with entities including the Hawke’s Bay Regional Skills Leaders Group, NZ Apples and Pears Inc, and Muka Tangata, People, Food and Fibre Workforce Development Council.
- Rawinia Kamau – Rawinia (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine) brings a strong understanding of economic development and the Māori economy to the board. Her experience has spanned project management, policy analysis, community planning and development, and general management.
- Caren Rangi – Caren is an experienced governor, with a strong set of strategic and stakeholder management skills. A proud Cook Island Māori, her governance experience includes positions with organisations ranging from Radio New Zealand to Arts Council of NZ Toi Aotearoa, Pacific Island Homecare Services Trust, and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
REDA’s primary focus will be on creating new platforms for growth for Hawke’s Bay by encouraging and enabling new economic activity in the region, and fostering investment and efforts to support a thriving business environment.
BBI Wood Products managing director Brendan O’Sullivan was involved in each phase of the establishment of REDA and said he was pleased to see the board had now been appointed, and was looking forward to the new entity engaging with business and industry in 2023.
“I’m excited about the potential for REDA and the difference it will make for our business sector and the Hawke’s Bay economy as a whole.”