Bay of Connections Leadership Group

Andrea (Andy) Blair


Andy has been involved in the business of geothermal science for over ten years, coordinating sub-surface geoscience contracts worldwide.

Andy’s professional interests lie in utilising geothermal energy to drive economic growth. In 2017 Andy was awarded the role of Geothermal Business Development Lead for New Zealand, and is charged with driving and supporting commercial investment in geothermal industrial direct use projects.

Tim Hurdle

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 response 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 in the Māori agribusiness sector and sits on a number of farming and health sector enterprises in the Bay of Plenty.

Tina was involved in the establishment and implementation of the Te Kaha Gold partnership in Te Kaha as well as the Omaio/Te Kaha Joint Venture and still sits as a Director.

Based in Rotorua, Tina is a Trustee and Director of Pukeroa Oruawhata Group.

Simon Clarke

Simon Clarke_clear face

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 Matua Governance.

Simon is actively involved in the Tauranga/BOP community, is a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors and is an elected Board member of Priority One and a Trustee of BayTrust.

Simon was raised in the BOP and he and his wife Kate (and two teenage daughters) have a strong passion and attachment to the area. He has a vision of sustainably growing the BOP economy while at the same time preserving and enhancing the BOP’s natural environment and lifting prosperity for our communities.

James Hughes


James has an 18-year career in the infrastructure and environment sectors with a specific focus on climate change, and natural hazards - and impacts on communities and infrastructure.

He was part of The Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Technical Advisory Group from 2016-2018, and is currently working on the NZ 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, also based in Mount Maunganui. The Trust has an investment company which aims to diversify its horticultural holdings; to other non-kiwifruit ventures, of which Riri is a director and General Manager.

Riri is also the Mataatua Delegate for the Federation of Māori Authorities. Governance positions include Miro Ltd, (a collective of Māori trusts growing blueberries), Tuhono Whenua Horticulture Ltd, Toi Kai Rawa Ltd, the Bay of Plenty Māori Economic Development Advisory Committee. She is also the Director of Maori Business with the Wellington School of Business and Government.