Our People

To tātou iwi

Board | Poari

Bob Major (Co-Chair) 

Bob Major is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading business leaders in the dairy industry and beyond. After graduating from Massey University with a MSc he held various senior positions within the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute, the New Zealand Dairy Board, and Fonterra Co-operative Group, in the Middle East, Asia and New Zealand. Over the last ten years, Bob has focussed on governance roles, and is, or has been, a director of a range of companies including Sealord, Westland Co-operative Dairy Company, Comvita, Miro Berries and KiwiRail. He also chairs the Avocado Primary Growth Partnership.

Whaimutu Dewes (Co-Chair) 

“E noho koe ki te ngaki i nga werewere a o matua tipuna mo nga uri whakatipu”.

Whaimutu Dewes, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Rangitihi descent, is constantly reminded of the strictures of his elders to realise the aspirations of the people for the generations that follow has an intense interest in the role of economics and governance in New Zealand and Maori economic development. He is Chairman of Ngati Porou Forests and Sealord Group. Previous roles include the Chair of Ngati Porou Seafoods and Aotearoa Fishers, and directorships of Contact Energy, Ngati Porou Holding Company, Housing New Zealand, Television New Zealand and the Advisory Board to the Treasury and to AMP. A strong advocate of the revitalisation of te reo Maori, Whaimutu regards the fact he and his wife Judy have raised their children to be fluent in Maori and English languages to be a highlight for him.

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Professor Frank Bloomfield is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for the University of Auckland, taking up the role in March 2023. Prior to this, he was Director of the Liggins Institute, one of the University’s Large Scale Research Institutes.

Frank is a Professor in Neonatology, having worked clinically for many years as a Consultant Neonatologist at Auckland City Hospital. Frank was previously President of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Perinatal Society of New Zealand. Frank took a BSc (first class honours) in Experimental Immunology and Oncology and a MBChB at the University of Manchester. Frank trained in paediatrics in the north-west of England, obtaining MRCP, before moving to New Zealand where he specialised in neonatal paediatrics, obtaining FRACP. He took a PhD in paediatrics at the University of Auckland and spent two years in Toronto as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and a neonatal transport fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children. He was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Neonatology at the University of Auckland and a specialist neonatologist at Auckland City Hospital in 2002.

Chris Downs

Dr Chris Downs joined the HVN Board in 2018. Chris is currently the Director of the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Previously, Chris was General Manager, Crop & Food Science, Agri-Science Queensland at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and prior to this was the Research Director (Food) for the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Agriculture and Food. As a member of the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Executive, Chris led the delivery of science and innovation underpinning the development of healthy, safe and sustainable foods, food ingredients and beverages for Australia’s food industry and global consumers. Chris has previously held executive positions in Food Science Australia, CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences and at the New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research, where he has had responsibilities including; science leadership, organisational innovation strategy development, government investment portfolio leadership, business development and commercialisation. He has previously held directorships in companies involved in innovation and commercialisation in the seafood and biomaterials sectors. Chris is currently a Director and Chair/President of the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT) in the USA.

Paul Te Poa Kararo Morgan

Paul Te Poa Karoro Morgan has served as chair of Kono NZ LLP since 2011, and as chair of Kono’s owner, Wakatu Incorporation, since 1986.   Paul’s career has been at the forefront of economic development for the Maori community for nearly 30 years, during this time he has had many directorships and roles with Government across agribusiness, science and business.   Paul served as chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities, representing the interests of Maori business, from 1996 to 2007. He was awarded a QSO for services to Maori business in the New Years’ Honours in 2010. Paul as Chair of Wakatu Inc. has lead the evolution of the whanau business Kono NZ LLP a fully integrated business which, markets seafood, wine, horticultural produce and fruit leather from its lands and aquaculture farms in Te Tau Ihu, top South Island.  Kono employs over 500 people with sales to 40 plus countries in the Kono brand. Paul in his capacity of Managing Director, Fomana Capital Ltd is currently involved with a range of other businesses and organisations spanning the nutraceutical, food ingredient, functional foods, cosmetics, aquaculture, food & beverage sectors and financial services.

Alison Watters

Dr Alison Watters was appointed to the HVN board in August 2019, and has over 20 years’ experience in governance roles spanning the commercial, educational, sporting and farming sectors. Alison is currently Deputy Board Chair for the state-owned enterprise AsureQuality Ltd, who are global experts in food assurance and is an elected Director for Livestock Improvement Corporation Ltd, a global genetics and agritech company. Alison has a scientific background in nutritional physiology having received a PhD from Massey University. Previously, Alison was the Director of Human Nutrition at Massey University involved in the development and management of academic teaching and research programmes centred around human health and well-being, and also a Technical Manager for Fonterra, during which time she was involved in commercialising food ingredient innovations internationally, specifically targeting human health.

Rodney Wong

Rodney Wong is a stalwart of the New Zealand food industry, with over twenty five years experience across the private and public sectors. With an initial background in production technology, he was CEO of Pacific Brands Foods for over 10 years – and more recently held senior roles with Noske Kaeser NZ Ltd, Conzept Engineering Solutions Ltd; WMC Technology; Lindsay International and Lowe Products Ltd. He is a former Chair of Crop and Food Research and led the merger to form Plant & Food Research before becoming Deputy Chair. Mr Wong is a member of the Massey University College of Business Advisory Board, and is also a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors; a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology; the Executive Chair of Speirs Nutritional LLP; Director of Scanpower Ltd; the Chair of Manchester House Social Services Inc; and a Trustee of Central Energy Trust.