Seven directors for new, expanded Northland Inc board

22 Jun 2018, 9:29 AM

The Northland Regional Council has appointed six new members to the helm of an expanded, seven-strong board for regional economic development agency Northland Inc.

Council Chairman Bill Shepherd says the six will join Kaikohe-based chartered accountant Sarah Petersen (the only remaining member of the previous five-strong board) when the new seven-member body officially meets for the first time in Whangarei in July.

Joining Ms Petersen – who has been on the board since 2012 – will be newcomers Geoff Copstick of Hikurangi, Kris MacDonald of Matapouri and Kerikeri residents Nicole Anderson, Dennis Callesen, David Crewe and Jim Makaweo.

Chairman Shepherd paid tribute, Thursday 22 June, to outgoing board members Karleen Everitt (Chair), her deputy Jeroen Jongejans and their colleagues Irene Durham and Warren Moyes.

“My fellow regional councillors and I are very grateful to all the outgoing board members for the strengths they have brought and the roles they have collectively played in significantly lifting the reputation of Northland Inc in recent years,” Chairman Shepherd says.

Outgoing Northland Inc Chair Karleen Everitt says she’s excited by the appointments of the new directors and believes it’s a great time for them to drive the organisation to its next phase of business.

The Northland businesswoman was appointed to the board in 2013 and has held the chair’s role since August last year.

While not reappointed, Ms Everitt says she’s proud of the great shape she and her colleagues will leave the organisation in as their shared legacy and contribution to Northland’s economic development and its communities.

“Equally, I’m extremely proud of the work being done by the team at Northland Inc under the leadership of chief executive officer David Wilson,” she says.

“It’s an exciting time for Northland; this is a region very much ‘on the up’ but there is more work to be done.  The new board has my full support, and I offer them best wishes on behalf of the outgoing board members and the people of Tai Tokerau Northland for their commitment to working to progress the region even further.”

Chairman Shepherd says in announcing a $46m package to boost Northland's economic and social development recently, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern had revealed much of that planned investment had been guided by the Northland Inc-led Tai Tokerau Northland Regional Economic Action Plan.

“This extra funding will allow Northland to take advantage of the collective vision outlined in the economic action plan when it was developed and our new directors will also no doubt be looking forward to their own roles in helping to bring this plan closer to fruition.”

Chairman Shepherd says the regional council had been delighted with the number – and calibre – of applicants for the Northland Inc directorships, which were publicly advertised during April.

“Council’s taking the opportunity to build on the current achievements by introducing ‘new blood’.”

With 35 applicants for the directorships, Chairman Shepherd says he’s also pleased councillors had decided to seize the opportunity to take full advantage of the level of potential talent on offer by increasing the size of the board by two members.  (The cost of the two extra directors will be met by council.)

“The decision to expand the board reflects the importance council places on Northland’s economic wellbeing and its belief in the critical work carried out by the organisation the directors will lead.”

He says collectively, the new board brings its own strengths and expertise and council is confident that together they will have a great deal to offer Northland and its people.

Of the new directors, Nicole Anderson is director and chair for various organisations and Dennis Callesen a tourism consultant and company director.

Financial management expert and accountant Geoff Copstick is no stranger to the council, already sitting as an independent (non-councillor) member of its Audit Working Party, while David Crewe has a background in economic development, central and local government and vast experience at board director level.

Rounding out the newcomers are Ngatiwai Trust Board CEO Kris MacDonald and business and governance consultant Jim Makaweo.

Chairman Shepherd says directors are appointed for varying terms ranging from one and three years, which will be confirmed when the appointments officially take effect on 01 July.

More information about Northland Inc generally is available online at