as at 26 October 2021
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Dr Maria Bargh

Maria is an Associate Professor at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Te Kawa a Māui/School of Māori Studies. She studied at Victoria University of Wellington before completing her PhD in Political Science and International Relations at the Australian National University in 2002.

Her research interests focus on Māori politics including constitutional change and Māori representation, voting in local and general elections, and Māori resource management economy including renewable energy, freshwater, mining and biodiversity. She has also written about hidden and diverse economies such as Māori in the private military industry.

Maria is a member of numerous boards and has broad governance experience with academic, NGO and Crown entities. She has supervised PhD and MA theses on topics including New Zealand politics, Māori land issues, Māori rights and identity, and how Pākehā work as allies with Māori. Maria is active in providing commentaries to the media and community groups about elections, Māori politics, and issues around Māori rights.

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Dawn Baxendale

Dawn is Chief Executive of Christchurch City Council.

Dawn moved to Christchurch in September 2019. She is joined by husband Scott and their youngest son, Elliott who is attending St Andrew’s College in the city. Their eldest son, Jacob is completing his physics degree at University in England.

Over 30 years working in local government, Dawn has built a reputation as someone with energy and enthusiasm who works collaboratively with others to get results. She is also known for taking a keen interest in performance (people and finances) of the organisation she leads to deliver for the community.

She has a track record of achieving clear business and commercial outcomes and has led negotiations that have delivered a strong mixed economy to the towns and cities where she has worked.

Her roles have often involved working closely with politicians and political parties and a wide range of administrations and organisations, including the European Union and the World Bank.

She has been at the forefront of public sector reform in Britain, including regeneration, work skills, unemployment, health and social care.

It’s a long way from Huddersfield to Christchurch, New Zealand, a city still dealing with the consequences of the earthquakes, 2019 terror attacks. However, Dawn is unfazed by the challenge ahead. As she puts it: "I am excited by the opportunity and know that we are on a journey that is going to be hard, hard work. COVID-19 has reinforced the need for us all to work together. I genuinely believe that public authorities need to be at the heart of their communities. Local authorities should be leading and influencing the economic, environmental and community legacy that will remain for decades to come.”

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Dr Rod Carr

Rod is Chairperson of He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission.

Rod has extensive experience in both public and private sector governance and leadership. He served as Chair and non-executive director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and served as Deputy Governor and for a time Acting Governor of the Bank.

He was the founding Chair of the National Infrastructure Advisory Board, and for over a decade was a non-executive director of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce. He led the University of Canterbury as Vice-Chancellor for ten years, and holds a PhD in Insurance and Risk Management, an MA in Applied Economics and Managerial Science, an MBA in Money and Finance and honours degrees in law and economics.

Taituara Rachel Esson

Rachel Esson

Rachel is the Te Pouhuaki National Librarian.

Prior to taking on the role of National Librarian, Rachel Esson had been Director of Content Services at the National Library of New Zealand, having previously held senior and strategic roles in academic and research libraries, including Associate Chief Librarian Research Collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Rachel is a professionally registered librarian with a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Victoria University of Wellington, and holds a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching from the University of Otago. She has researched and published on evaluation of library services.

Before joining the National Library in 2012, Rachel was Associate Director, Library Academic Services at Victoria University of Wellington and Medical Librarian (University of Otago, Wellington). She is a Fellow of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) and is a past President of the Association.

Rachel is committed to collaboration and to reinvigorating the role of the National Library to support the library sector.

Indy Johar

Indy is a founding Director of 00 and Dark Matter Labs.

An architect by training, Indy is a Senior Innovation Associate with the Young Foundation and a visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield.

He co-founded Impact Hub Birmingham and Open Systems Lab, was a member of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce's Inclusive Growth Commission. He is a thought leader in system change, the future of urban infrastructure finance, outcome-based investment and the future of governance.

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Natalie McClew

Natalie is a Partner in the Infrastructure and Merger and Acquisitions team at PwC and offers a broad range of advice and transactional experience, with a focus on infrastructure and complex situations.

With over 15 years' of corporate finance, banking and advisory experience, Natalie brings an extensive expertise in advising both Crown and private-sector clients. Natalie has a deep understanding of the challenges faced in the infrastructure sector in New Zealand, particularly on pathfinder transactions. Natalie also has strong international experience in restructuring, turnaround, and structured financing across the leveraged, mergers & acquisitions, and project finance spectrum.

Grant McPherson

Grant is the Chief Executive of Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ). He leads ENZ in taking New Zealand's education experiences to the world for enduring economic, social and cultural benefits for all of New Zealand.

In response to COVID-19, Grant is chairing the International Education Chief Executives' Group. Together with peers from other government agencies with interests in international education, the group helps drive the Government's Recovery Plan for the international education sector to ensure it is successfully rebuilt, including to bring broad and enduring social, cultural and economic benefits to Aotearoa New Zealand.

He also lives and breathes international education - he was an international student himself, his children have international study experience and he has hosted students in Wellington with his family.

Prior to his role at ENZ, Grant was Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager, Strategy at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), following extensive experience as Regional Director, South/Southeast Asia and Group General Manager, Business Solutions on the NZTE Leadership team.

Jim Palmer

Jim is the Chair of the Future for Local Government Review Panel.

Jim has recently retired from being the Chief Executive of Waimakariri District Council after 17 years. Currently, Jim has leadership roles in Greater Christchurch Partnership and the Canterbury Interim Regional Skills Leadership Group. He is a chartered accountant with experience as an audit director for Audit New Zealand and the Audit Office.

He has had a wide range of prior governance experience on various groups including Co-chair of Canterbury COVID-19 Recovery Oversight Group, Chair of the Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery Steering Group and Chair of the Canterbury Chief Executive's Forum.

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Allan Prangnell

Allan is the Executive Director of Three Waters, within the Local Government Branch at the Department of Internal Affairs. He has led advice for the Department on the case for major transformation of the water infrastructure services and regulation. Allan has also led, in partnership with other government agencies, local government and iwi/Māori, the development and establishment of Taumata Arowai, a new drinking water regulator in response to the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry.

Allan has worked in a variety of leadership and advisory roles across local and central government and holds a Bachelor of Laws, majoring in Public, Comparative and International Laws, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Classical Studies and Politics.

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Caren Rangi ONZM

Caren is the first Pacific Chair and third woman to hold this role of Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa in its 55-year history. Caren is from the Hawkes Bay, is of Cook Islands Māori descent and is a former member of the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand.

She is an experienced public sector governance practitioner, with a passion for Cook Islands Māori dance, music and cultural history. Caren is a qualified accountant and auditor and an experienced governance practitioner and facilitator. She is a board member for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Pacific Homecare Services, and Pacific Inc Ltd. She is also a Board director of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation in Rarotonga, and of Pacific Co-operation Broadcasting Ltd. In 2018, Caren was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and the Pacific community.

Taituara Phill Reid

Phill Reid

Phill is the Auckland-wide Planning Manager within the Chief Planning Office at Auckland Council where he has worked for the past 25 years. Phill oversees the Council's policy response to regional-wide issues, the implementation of national directions as well as policy input into resource management reforms and preparations for the review of the Auckland Unitary Plan. Phill has previously held roles as the Hearings Panel Planning Manager for the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel, Auckland Unitary Plan Manager and as the District Plan Manager for North Shore City Council. Phill is also an accredited Independent Hearings Commissioner and full member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

Taituarā Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson Panel

Padraig McNamara, Sarah Scott and Josh Cairns are partners at Simpson Grierson, Aotearoa New Zealand’s local government law firm. Specialists in local government law, resource management and the funding and financing of infrastructure, their keynote talk will map key reform processes and predict five high-impact opportunities and challenges for the next decade.

Taituara Paddy Mc Namara Block
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Taituara Josh Cairns web
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Dr Keith Turner

Keith possesses extensive experience in the New Zealand energy sector. He was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Energy from 1999 until his retirement in 2008. Prior to that, he worked as a private energy expert advising large corporate clients and Government, following 15 years heading power planning and then operations of the whole of New Zealand’s power system.
From 1985 to 1999 he led and served in a wide range of electricity industry reform functions that established the current New Zealand industry structure and electricity market.

Since 2008, he has held a number of major company board roles. He was formally Deputy Chair of Auckland International Airport Ltd, a Director of Chorus, a director of Spark Infrastructure Ltd (ASX), Victoria Power Networks (VIC) and South Australia Power Networks (SA), Chair of Solar City Limited, Chair of Emirates Team NZ and Chair of Fisher & Paykel Appliances. He is currently Chair of DamWatch Holdings Ltd, Milford Opportunities Project, MfE ARC and is a director of TransGrid (NSW) and Trustpower.