Our Team

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Vish Gupte (from left), Di Hay, Abi Goodhew, Kate O'Connell, Nigel Davenport, Alice Gray and Courtney Young.

Meet the Team

Nigel Davenport 

Chief Executive nigel@venturetimaru.nz

Nigel has over 35 years’ experience in the financial services sector and brings a varied set of business skills, knowledge, and networks to the role of Chief Executive of Venture Timaru. Having first-hand experience as a business owner through to various governance roles and involvement with a number of community organisations enables Nigel to fully understand the challenges and opportunities facing new and existing local businesses.

He currently serves as a board member on Sport Canterbury and Economic Development New Zealand. He is a Trustee of the Aoraki MRI Trust and Aoraki Sports Persons Charitable Trust and serves as a Management Committee Member for the Canterbury Tactix.

Nigel is a member of the Canterbury Regional Skills Leadership Group, the Canterbury Mayoral Forums Education and Skills Group, the Ministry of Educations Pathways Advisory Group and was a member of the Unified Funding Group assisting design the new funding model for Vocational Education.

A born and bred parochial South Cantabrian he is passionate about the region and doing what he can to make this an even better place to visit, live and do business.


Di Hay

Operations Manager  di@venturetimaru.nz

With a background in communications and marketing, Di has worked in print and radio journalism, public relations, marketing and on-air presenting for commercial radio. She has also been involved in establishing and running two retail businesses, and a wholesale business specialising in importing goods.

Di holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies from Massey University and Certificates in Journalism and Adult Teaching.


Courtney has a background in tourism, graduating from the Diploma in Tourism Course at Aoraki Polytechnic in 2013. The past 4 years Courtney has been working at the Timaru Information Centre as a Sales and Promotions manager. Her passion is in customer relations and office administration work.

Courtney completed her secondary schooling on the West Coast in the town of Greymouth, soon after she moved to Timaru which she calls home.


Alice Gray

Financial Controller, BCA, CA  alice@venturetimaru.nz

Alice has been an accountant since 1978 and enjoys working with clients to provide timely advice.  Previously, Alice tutored Business Studies at the local polytechnic for approximately 20 years, heading the department in latter years. She thoroughly enjoyed passing on her extensive knowledge of Business Studies.

Alice specialises in accounting, tax and small business profitability.


Kate O'Connell

Visitor Promotions Specialist - Venture Timaru  kate@venturetimaru.nz

Kate has a background in design and marketing across a range of industries, but specifically tourism. Previous to working for Venture Timaru she had a marketing business that specialised in getting businesses thriving online. Digital marketing is Kate’s main area of interest, and meeting and working with stakeholders and business owners across the tourism and hospitality sector to grow our share of the tourism market.

Kate has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in marketing from the University of Otago.


Vish Gupte

Business Support Officer  vish@venturetimaru.nz

Vish is an administration professional with years of experience in government and private sector organizations supporting the managers, executives and the team. Vish holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management in Business and Tourism Management. She also holds a bachelor's degree in French Language with Japanese. Her passion is in administrative governance support.

She is a sport enthusiast and Secretary of Timaru Badminton Club. She enjoys playing badminton in her leisure.


Abi Goodhew

Strategic Projects Coordinator abi@venturetimaru.nz

Abi has a background in marketing and communications, having worked in professional services marketing (engineering and legal services) for four years in Auckland and London. She recently returned to New Zealand after her OE in the UK.  She is passionate about building relationships and connecting people through projects that enable long-term community benefits.

Two initial key focuses for her role at Venture Timaru, will be working on the Sustainable is Attainable Project for the Food Processing and Manufacturing Business Connection Group and the Aged Workforce Strategy.

Abi has a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) majoring in marketing from the University of Otago.


Our Board of Directors

Mark Rogers, Professional Director, Board Chairman

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Mark Rogers, chairman

Mark is a professional director. Mark holds Chair and Director roles on a number of Boards. Mark has a broad background in governance and experience to Chief Executive level. He has worked in both the commercial and governmental spheres and has expertise in the economic development, tourism and infrastructure sectors. Mark is experienced in strategy, finance and operations with specialist knowledge of change, risk and health and safety. He is a member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand, the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum and Risk NZ. Mark holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science.

Raeleen de Joux

Raeleen was born in Gore and brought up in a small Southland rural community. She is from a nursing, public health and health education background and currently employed as a tutor in the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health at Ara Institute of Canterbury. Raeleen is a sitting member of South Canterbury District Health Board.

She has lived in the Aoraki region for 46 years. In partnership with her husband Chris, she is a Director of Charoux Partnership , a local building company. She loves Timaru and South Canterbury and believes it is the best place in the world to bring up a family.

Raeleen has a strong commitment to community development and enjoys her involvement in several community groups, organisations and sporting bodies. She is the Chairperson of Te Aitarakihi Trust Inc and actively involved in the ongoing development of Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre.

Erin McNaught, Company Owner/Director

Erin is the joint owner of Industrial Controls South Canterbury Ltd, and has been actively involved in developing this business from its start in 1996 to present day with a team of over 100.

She has a background in business administration and human resources, with particular interest in the people that make our businesses and communities successful.   This has led to a return to formal education, with current part-time study toward a Bachelor of Applied Management specialising in Human Resource & Strategic Management which will be completed in 2020.  Erin works alongside her partner of 30 plus years, David Stickings, and together they have two children, who are both also doing tertiary studies.

Erin was born in Timaru and is passionate about our region and all that it has to offer.

Allan  Booth

Allan has called Timaru his home for over 35 years and is actively involved in various community organisations and groups within the District.

Allan is a managing director of two of his own businesses, which manufacture and distribute wooden products in South Canterbury and also export to various parts of the world. Allan is also a current District Councillor.

Dr Anthony Brien, Ph.D.

Having lived in the Timaru District for the past 35 years, and with no plans for leaving, Tony has a vested interested in ensuring the District grows sustainably in economic, social, and environmental terms for future generations. He believes we must grow, by business diversification, the economic base of Timaru that will increase the population to ensure a vibrant future, and that attracting new businesses attracts new skills, new families and new opportunities which helps sustain existing businesses.

Tony brings to the Venture Timaru Board extensive connections within the New Zealand tourism industry, an understanding of the workings of a Council Controlled Organisation from being a past District Councillor, and an understanding of the District’s agriculture base. As a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors he brings sound governance experience to the Board.

Tony lives in Timaru with his wife, Sandra, and two of their three adult children also live locally. He holds a senior academic position at Lincoln University, lecturing and researching in the areas of Business Management and Tourism.

Tony Howey

Tony was born and raised in South Canterbury, and following his studies in Agricultural Commerce, gained international experience with several study awards.

He farmed grain/seed and vegetables between 1986 and 2019, and now concentrates on organic blackcurrants with the ViBERi brand.

Tony’s current and past directorships/committees include Horticulture NZ, NZGAP, Opuha Water, Ravensdown, Southern Packers, Seedlands, Farmers Mill, SC Chamber of Commerce, Aoraki Multicultural Council, OOP Zone Committee, Timaru Bahá’i Community, and Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre.

He was motivated to put his hand up to serve on Venture Timaru’s Board of Directors by a desire to make our region an even better place to live and work, where a strong sense of community continues to build.

Stacey Scott

Stacey’s career spans various areas of business such as governance, leadership, general management, stakeholder relations, and project management. Her business ambitions and community involvement have always been linked. Having a business that works across both private, public and the not-for-profit sectors supports Stacey’s values of giving back to my community.

Stacey looks forward to her role at Venture Timaru, to be part of strengthening networks across the region and to understand issues or concerns for those that live within it.  She cares for people, prosperity, and regional growth, and will provide strong and genuine leadership.

Born and raised in Timaru, Stacey is married to Dave and they have four children, who attend Roncalli College & Sacred Heart Primary School in Timaru. Stacey and her family farm a mixed cropping farm in Lyalldale, St Andrews.

Karl TeRaki

Karl is of Ngāi Tahu descent, and his extensive career as a business owner and presence on many boards, brings a background in economic development, tourism and stewardship for the community and culture to Venture Timaru.

He has owned and operated Kitchens Direct in South Canterbury since 1997. Over the 24 years, Karl has trained apprentices and tradespeople as joiners, many of whom have gone on to run their own businesses.

He has held many roles within Ngāi Tahu and Arowhenua to support regional development opportunities and initiatives, ultimately to enhance wellbeing.

He has been involved in Māori business development and Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu Board Governance for the last 15 years.

He is an appointed Board member (by the Minister of Health) for South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB).

He chairs the Māori Health Advisory Committee for the SCDHB. This Committee ensures a focused lens on the health and equity outcomes for the Māori within the community of South Canterbury.

He is chairperson for the He Manu Hou Bilingual early childhood ECE Trust and Committee member for Te Aitarakihi Multi Cultural Centre. Karl has also held the position of Māori liaison and Kapa Haka tutor for Craighead Diocesan for the past 8 years.