Hon Dr Nick Smith was born and educated in North Canterbury in a bridge construction family. He subsequently completed a first-class honours degree in civil engineering and a PhD in landslides at Canterbury University.
Nick was politically active from a young age and was selected as the National candidate for Tasman in 1989. He won the Tasman seat in 1990 and 1993, and following the introduction of MMP, Nelson in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 despite both having a long previous history as Labour areas.
Nick has held 12 Ministerial portfolios in the Bolger, Shipley Key and English Cabinets, covering Conservation, Building and Construction, Housing, Education, Immigration, Corrections, Social Welfare, Treaty Negotiations, Environment, ACC, Climate Change and Local Government.
His greatest passion has been improving New Zealand’s management of the environment and natural resources. In 1998, he founded the Bluegreens as a group within National that wish to advance policies that support economic prosperity and a clean, green New Zealand.
Serean Adams, Cawthron Institute, Aquaculture Group Manager
Dr Serean Adams and her passionate team are focussed on applied and innovative research that supports and grows NZ’s aquaculture industry. The group has been instrumental in establishing hatchery production of shellfish spat in NZ to reduce the industry’s reliance on wild caught spat, as well as establishing selective breeding programmes to provide spat that have superior genetics. They work with species that are currently farmed (Greenshell mussels, Pacific oysters, and king salmon) as well as emerging high value species (geoduck, scampi, and flat oysters). Their research is multi-disciplinary, spanning from reproduction and developmental biology, to post-harvest and bioactives research. This is all with the aim of improving the value, security, and sustainability of NZ’s aquaculture industry. Prior to her appointment as group manager, Serean worked as a scientist within the group developing methods for cryopreserving shellfish gametes and larvae for selective breeding and triploidy induction techniques for shellfish.
Smashed by years of drought, eastern Marlborough farmers Doug and Wendy Avery realised in 1998 they needed to change direction not only in their lives but also in his farming methods. A seminar by Dr Derrick Moot, a senior plant science professor of Lincoln University, followed by a science project facilitated by the NZ Land Care Trust, led not only to Bonavaree Farm ( the Avery Property at Grassmere) transforming, but also the lives of Doug, Wendy and their family. The farm which struggled with just Doug and Wendy and a gross income of $320,000 today employs 6 full time people and lots of busy contractors, and today gross income has soared to $3,000,000. The Starborough Flaxbourne Soil Conservation Group which Doug chaired, won a Green Ribbon in 2008 for leadership in improving drought affected land. The Avery family were South Island Farmers of the Year in 2010 and Marlborough District Council Environment Award winners in 2011. In 2012 Doug was made a Land Care Ambassador by the NZ Land Care Trust and in 2013 Doug was named Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. In 2014 Doug set up a company called Resilient Farmer to promote more resilience into the lives of farmers and others. In 2017 Doug was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Agriculture and Mental Health.
Dr. George Chamberlain began his career as an aquaculture researcher and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University. He later directed aquaculture programs at Ralston Purina International and Monsanto and led the development of an integrated shrimp farm in Malaysia.
In 2004, he co-founded iAqua, a technology company which operates breeding, nutrition, farming, and processing facilities for Pacific white shrimp in Hawaii and manages other operations in Asia. Chamberlain was President of the World Aquaculture Society in 1996.
In 1997, he assisted in founding the Global Aquaculture Alliance and continues to serve as President. GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices standards account for over 1.5 million metric tonnes of certified seafood.
Martyn took up the role of Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in November 2013.
Before this appointment, he was New Zealand’s High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Australia – a role in which he was responsible for managing a range of trade issues with one of our most important trading partners. He was also the Chief Executive/Comptroller of the New Zealand Customs Service from 2004 to 2011. During his time at Customs, he was elected Chair of the World Customs Organisation – the largest international organisation responsible for setting global customs, trade security, and customs operating standards.
Until 2004, Martyn served as an officer in the New Zealand Army for 27 years, including service with the Special Air Service (SAS). He commanded the deployment of New Zealand Forces in East Timor from 1999–2001 and was subsequently responsible for the establishment of a single New Zealand Joint Forces Command in the rank of Major General.
Martyn holds a Masters of Arts (Strategic Studies) from La Trobe University, Melbourne. He is a graduate fellow of the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies and a graduate of the Australian Army Command and Staff College, Fort Queenscliffe. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management.
Dr. Brad Hicks holds degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Pathology. He has been involved in the aquaculture industry in Canada and Internationally for the past 40 years. He began his professional career as a veterinary pathologist specialising in fish diseases. Later he became involved in several operating companies raising, salmon, trout, tilapia, sablefish and striped bass in both North and South America. Brad has published many articles in both peer reviewed academic journals and trade journals. Brad recently migrated into the supply side of the industry as a partner in a private feed company in BC.
In addition to these revenue-generating activities, Brad has been active as an advisor and a member of several boards; the National Research Council, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries BC and Chairman of the Board of AquaNet one of the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence. He is a director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, a founder and Director of the Pacific Organic Seafood Association and a founder and Chairman of the Canadian Organic Aquaculture Producers. Brad chaired the Canadian “Organic Aquaculture Working Group” which drafted the “National Organic Standard for Aquaculture”. Brad has also been involved a number of community organisations.
John Howie, Lintbells Ltd, CEO
Dr John Howie is CEO & Co-founder of Lintbells Ltd, the UK’s leading nutritional supplement manufacturer for dogs, cats & horses. Having started his career in science with a PhD in molecular genetics, John quickly moved into the commercial world. Managing various European food raw material and health businesses has given John great insight into the importance of combining a rigorous scientific approach with raw material quality & functionality, ultimately leading to him co-found Lintbells in 2006 after spotting a gap in the pet nutritional health market.
Lintbells is one of the fastest growing companies in the UK and now sells products such as joint, skin and digestive supplements to health-conscious dog, cat and horse owners in more than 15 countries. The company’s lead product, Yumove, is the UK’s number 1 veterinary joint supplement and utilises significant volumes of premium Greenshell Mussel powder. As well as the sourcing programmes the company is running, Lintbells is also investing in a number of research programmes in New Zealand to further develop active ingredients from NZ sourced raw materials, which leads John to visit at least twice per year. It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it!
John is the fourth generation from his family to make a living from the water. He sees a huge opportunity for Aquaculture and has a keen interest in reassuring that the future of the industry is in good hands.
John’s passion, dedication and hard work has placed him in a management position at a young age and, at 22, he is balancing the role with a degree in aquaculture at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. “I’m excited about the day ahead every morning when I wake up and I can’t see that changing any time soon.”
Mayor Leggett was elected in October 2016. He served two terms on Council before he was elected Mayor.
Previously he’d chaired Council’s Community & Finance committee and served on Assets & Services, Regional Planning & Development, Audit & Risk, and Regional Transport committees.
John sat on the working group reviewing Marlborough’s resource management documents (the Marlborough Environment Plan) and he is a director of Council’s property holding company, MDC Holdings.
A lawyer for almost three decades, he is a partner at local firm Wisheart McNabb &Partners.
John’s family moved to Blenheim in 1966 and he and his brothers received their schooling here.
Sport has been a big part of his life – schoolboy rugby, golf and tennis which he still plays regularly.
He also gets his exercise walking his two dogs.
With his partner Anne Best, he enjoys watching a rugby match or a movie, or spending time in the Marlborough Sounds.
Before joining New Zealand’s biggest seafood company, Fiona spent 25 years as a radio and television journalist and a television producer in New Zealand and the UK. She started her career at TVNZ working on programmes like Holmes, and then spent 11 years in London, during which she worked for the global business channel, CNBC, as Executive Producer of a team producing a live daily programme broadcast from London, Singapore and New York.
She came back to New Zealand in 2012 and joined MediaWorks where she did a stint on breakfast news before becoming the EP of Paul Henry’s late night news show.
Fiona chose to work at Sanford because she believes in the seafood business and shares Sanford’s values around people and sustainability. She is excited by the way the business is growing through the application of great science and she loves the people she is meeting in fishing and aquaculture.
Together with my wife Ruth we have four adult children, 12 grand children, and one great grandson. I am privileged to live in a divine community called Manaia, neighbouring the township of Coromandel.
My Iwi affiliations are Ngati Pukenga, Ngati Maru and Ngati Kahungunu. I am recognised as an Iwi leader and local, regional and national negotiator.
I’ve been a businessman since 1976 and together with Ruth we run our own businesses in the seafood, health and real estate industry.
I serve as a Director and Chair of a number of seafood businesses nationally as well as for a number of health organisations. I am advocate and advisor to the NZ Police and Community Advocate for Manaia and Coromandel Pare Hauraki and Tainui Waka Alliance.
Morgan comes from a trades oriented family, based in Nelson. Her artistic skills were shown early on with a hobby of painting, designing and building projects. When ornamental fish keeping and a first job in hydroponics/aquaponics came into the mix, a direction towards the exciting opportunities offered by a Degree in aquaculture, was a future she wanted to peruse. With a passion for the environment and animals, her goal is to design and apply innovative systems to benefit fish health and the environment.
Rachel Reese was elected Nelson’s first female Mayor on 18 October 2013 and re-elected in 2016. Mayor Reese has served on Nelson City Council for four terms, previously as a Councillor and Deputy Mayor. She is a National Council member of Local Government New Zealand.
Her extensive resource management, business, local government and community expertise includes over 18 years’ experience in resource consent and plan change processes for both private clients and as a city council decision maker. Much of this work has focussed on regional issues across the Top of the South Island in relation to aquaculture, coastal development and protection, landscapes, biodiversity and biosecurity (land, freshwater and marine), air quality and discharges, and water permits. Rachel has been an accredited Resource Management Commissioner – Chair for more than 10 years.
Rachel is also a Member of Resource Management Law Association and is a qualified Mediator and Arbitrator. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies.
Vicky has extensive experience across a range of complex policy frameworks. She is passionate about diversity as a critical factor in high performing organisations and speaks regularly at business and industry forums.
Vicky is also a member of the steering group for Te Hono – a network of primary sector leaders using design to realise the full potential of our exports. Vicky’s involvement has given the business leaders a richer understanding of the wider context their industries are operating in, including new approaches to policy development for more effective public services.
Stephen Toplis, BNZ, Head of Research
Stephen has been with the bank since 2001. Prior to this his employment included Chief Economist Deutsche Securities, Chief Economist BT Securities, Chief Economist Doyle Paterson Brown and Chief Economist Fay Richwhite.
He is located in BNZ’s Wellington Markets Division where he is charged with providing an economic and political overview for the Bank’s wholesale operation and its clients. The end focus of much of his work is: the analysis of business risk for the BNZ’s corporate clients; and advising Financial Institutions on likely interest rate and foreign exchange movements.
At university Stephen completed a BSocSci in Computer Science before moving on to do a Masters in Economics.
Stephen is also contracted to the Hugo Group, a consultancy, which provides economic and political advice to a small group of New Zealand Chief Executives.