Our People

Dean Howie

Programme Manager - Regional Economic Development

Dean leads the regional economic development programme for Bay of Connections to support the sustainable growth of the wider Bay of Plenty region. He works with central government, local authorities, economic development agencies, iwi and industry to identify and advance future opportunities for the region. Dean is an experienced stakeholder engagement practitioner with a background in tertiary education and advertising. A self-described ‘generalist’, Dean’s skills in relationship building, communication and systems thinking are valuable in his role.

Jacqui Rolleston-Steed

Analyst, Data and Insights

Jacqui has a wealth of experience within local government. Her strengths are project and event management, which is where she will help guide our data project for the region. Jacqui’s role is to explore key common datasets that are critical to support future decision-making, while also enabling us all to better tell the story of sustainable regional development.

BOC Leadership Group

Tim Hurdle

Tim is an experienced adviser and commercial consultant with a strong background in infrastructure and economic advisory services. He was previously GM Strategy for a leading infrastructure firm and Senior Adviser to a previous Minister of Economic Development and Transport. He was closely involved in the Government’s initial response to, and recovery from, the Christchurch earthquakes, and worked on international trade issues policy for three governments.

Tina Ngatai

Tina is a regional business leader with an interest in sustainable practices and Māori development. Tina is actively involved in the Māori agribusiness sector and sits on multiple farming and health sector enterprises in the Bay of Plenty. Tina was involved in the establishment and implementation of the Te Kaha Gold partnership, as well as the Omaio/Te Kaha Joint Venture, and remains a Director of the initiative. Based in Rotorua, Tina is a Trustee on a number of iwi trusts, as well as a Director at Pukeroa Oruawhata Group and a trustee on Toi EDA (the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s economic development agency).

Simon Clarke

Simon is an experienced senior commercial executive and business leader with expertise in New Zealand energy, telecommunications, legal and technology sectors. He now offers strategic and advisory services through his company, Matua Governance. Simon is actively involved in the Tauranga community, is a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors, and is the Chairman of Priority One and BayVenues. Simon was raised in the Bay of Plenty and he and his wife Kate and two teenage daughters have a strong affinity to the area. He has a vision of sustainably growing the regional economy, while at the same time preserving and enhancing its natural environment, and lifting prosperity for our communities.

James Hughes

James has more than 20 years’ experience in the infrastructure and environment sectors, with a focus on climate change and natural hazards, and the impacts on communities and infrastructure. Today, James works with numerous public and private organisations to help Aotearoa New Zealand transition to a lower carbon future. His work crosses infrastructure planning and natural hazard assessments, as well as climate change adaptation, mitigation and broader sustainability. James was part of the Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Technical Advisory Group from 2016 to 2018, and led the built environment component of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment.

Riri Ellis

Dr Riri Ellis is a trustee of Ngāi Tukairangi Trust in Mount Maunganui, a Māori exporter of kiwifruit and the largest shareholder of Te Awanui Hukapak Ltd. The Trust also has an investment company that aims to diversify its horticultural holdings, of which Riri is a Director and General Manager. Riri is also the Mataatua Delegate for the Federation of Māori Authorities, while her other governance positions include Miro Ltd, (a collective of Māori trusts growing blueberries), Tūhono Whenua Horticulture Ltd, and Toi Kai Rawa Ltd, the Bay of Plenty Māori Economic Development Agency. She is also the Director of Māori Business with the Wellington School of Business and Government.

Toni Owen

Toni has more than 30 years of business and governance experience, with expertise in strategic, business and succession planning. She is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants ANZ, Professional Trustee and Member of the Institute of Directors. As a Director of Focus Chartered Accountants in Whakatāne, Toni works with a wide range of rural, commercial and professional clients, and is actively involved in a variety of community and charitable organisations. Toni has held governance positions with EBOP Chamber of Commerce, NZCA, Eastern Bay Energy Trust, Energy Options Limited, EECA and Kawerau Enterprise Agency. A long-time resident of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, she is committed to the growth and development of the Bay.