Keynote Speakers

David Downs

David Downs has had a successful career in the private and public sector, with senior roles at organisations such as Microsoft, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged.

David is the CEO at New Zealand Story Group. He is an ex-comedian, TV and radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in his book A Mild Touch of the Cancer.

David co-founded a not-for-profit initiative to help cafes and other small businesses during Covid-19. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $2 million in vouchers for over 2,500 small businesses.

David released a new book, Silver Linings in March 2021, and continues to act as a consultant for government and industry, as well as a director on a number of boards.



Lynell Tuffery Huria

Ko Taranaki te maunga, ko Tangahoe ko Waingongoro nga awa, ko Aotea te waka, ko Ngati Ruanui, ko Ngaruahine nga iwi.

Lynell Tuffery Huria specialises in all aspects of trade mark protection, management and enforcement. She has acted for a diverse range of clients around the globe, including sole traders, start-ups, whanau, hapu, and iwi organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand, and multinational companies across North America, South America and Asia.

Lynell is regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading experts on indigenous intellectual property (IP) law in New Zealand and the Pacific. She specialises in advising Māori organisations on IP issues and is passionate about helping Māori navigate the IP system. In her experience, IP is seen as expensive and not in alignment with Te Ao Māori. She is committed to bridging the two world views. She currently chairs the Indigenous Rights Committee for the International Trademark Association.

In 2018, she was a member of the organising team for the first Nga Taonga Tuku Iho conference. Lynell has also written advice for Māori on the Plant Variety Rights Act review and is co-author of the paper entitled Māori Interests and Geographical Indicators – Strategic Intellectual Property Management enabling Māori whanau development. Lynell is also an experienced board member, having served in a number of governance positions.

Lynell and her husband also own a foundation construction business in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and have three sons and three mokopuna.

Naomi Manu

Naomi Manu is the founder of Massey University’s highly successful Pūhoro STEM Academy. Five years later the Manawatū based programme is the most comprehensive indigenous STEM programme in the world. Pūhoro has spread to Horowhenua, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Christchurch and South Auckland with almost 1,000 students across years 11-13. Before this programme, 75% of rangatahi were not on an academic pathway, now not only are they on an academic pathway but they are exceeding expectations around their capability. Pūhoro connects its students with scholarships, internships, industry opportunities and employment which galvanises and unleashes untapped Māori potential.

Naomi was a finalist in the 2018 NZ Women of Influence Awards in the Diversity category. Naomi is passionate about rangatahi development and in particular creating opportunities for rangatahi Māori to enhance their skills for increased economic transformation and knowledge creation. Naomi previously worked as a social sector researcher at Kāhui Tautoko Consulting Limited and held numerous senior advisory roles across multiple government agencies. Naomi was the principal investigator within numerous local and nationwide research projects including Youth Guarantee, Whānau Ora provision and Māori language revitalisation.

Shay Wright

Shay Wright is a social entrepreneur, mentor and strategist, with experience across New Zealand’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is deeply passionate about education as a tool to change the world.

He has led the Māori strategy for The Icehouse business growth hub, advises Government agencies on innovation and economic development, and is a co-founder of Te Whare Hukahuka.

Te Whare Hukahuka is a social enterprise that supports indigenous leaders to create change in their communities, grow community enterprises and launch their own businesses. They have worked with more than 200 Māori organisations, many of which are food producers, and have trained more than 2,000 Māori leaders and entrepreneurs.

Shay has received national and international awards for cultural leadership, business impact, innovation, social entrepreneurship. He was named in the 2016 Forbes Asia ‘30 Under 30’ list of Social Entrepreneurs, a finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year, a 2019 Obama Foundation leader, and is a current Edmund Hillary Fellow.

He is now working at the nexus of education, ancestral wisdom, health and food to support people to heal their bodies and minds so that we can shift our consciousness and our systems towards compassion and connection. He focuses on solutions that will bring a positive change to his local Far North community, but is drawn by a global and future mindset.

Along with his co-presenter, Vinny Lohan, Shay will share insights into how our systems can both inhibit and foster people’s health, and the business and research opportunities, including in the high-value food sector, that can help bring that about.

Professor Susan Fairweather-Tait

Professor Susan Fairweather Tait is Professor of Human Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, the University of East Anglia (UEA). Her main research interests are mineral metabolism and requirements, in particular iron, and she has over 300 peer-reviewed publications. She has served on several national and international advisory committees, including the European Food Safety Authority Panel on Nutrition, and the US NAS Committee on Harmonization of Methods for Estimating Nutrient Intake References. She is currently chair of the UK Nutrition and Health Claims Committee (2020-2023) and the FAO/WHO expert group on nutrient requirements for children aged 0-36 months (2020-present), and a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (2021-2023) and the Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (2020-2023). She was elected a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition in 2017 and appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Nutrition Society in 2021.

Vinny Lohan

Vinny Lohan is a social entrepreneur, part-time philosopher and indigenous wellbeing explorer. After studying robotics at the University of Auckland he moved to India and started a technology and design studio working on multiple social impact projects across education, healthcare and the arts. His studio has supported the work of UNESCO and the Gates Foundation in India. Vinny was a global finalist in the 2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup, and has been named by General Electric (GE) as one of three upcoming social entrepreneurs in the world under 30.

His explorations over the last decade across diverse fields of life has induced a thirst for self-understanding of the physical and mental realms. This led him to explore and learn multiple systems of meditation, yoga and indigenous medicine from various masters across India.

His current field of work is in research and development of ways to weave together different approaches to health, including indigenous wisdom and traditions of holistic health, with modern Western developments in technology around personalisation of health like biofeedback, wearable sensors for health monitoring and AI and machine learning.

In his free time, Vinny teaches meditation and transformative self-awareness in the Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF), a high security men’s prison.


Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Dr Ali Rashidinejad holds a PhD in Food Science from the University of Otago. He has been working in the field of delivery of phytochemicals and bioactive compounds in functional foods for about a decade. He is a research scientist and an academic member of the Riddet Institute. Dr Rashidinejad has published numerous papers in top-ranked international food science and nutrition journals, co-authored two books and several book chapters on functional foods and encapsulation of phytochemicals in food.

He is the first inventor of ‘FlavoPlus’, a new method for delivery of hydrophobic flavonoids in functional foods, and the creator of ‘FoodFort’, a comprehensive digital platform containing the information about delivery of bioactive compounds in functional food and a new tool for functional food designers. Dr Rashidinejad is the primary investigator of several HVN-funded and industry-funded projects at the Riddet Institute.

Dr Andrea Braakhuis

Dr Andrea Braakhuis is a registered dietitian with a research interest in the clinical and health application of plant and animal-based bioactives. Andrea has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is an Associate Editor for the Nutrition & Dietetics journal and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Current collaborators include AgResearch, Massey University, Otago University, the Auckland Cancer Society and various commercial partners. Andrea founded the Dietitians New Zealand Research Special Interest group and is currently employed by The University of Auckland with the Nutrition and Dietetics programme as the Academic Director.

Nuffield Awards presentation at Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins

Andy Elliot

AuOra, which is a newly formed business of Wakatū Incorporation, provides ingredients and wellness solutions that enhance quality of life and our natural world. Andy Elliot’s current role is Research and Business Development Manager, prior to this he has established a track record of commercialisation and business development within the aquaculture industry. Andy is currently focused on developing health and nutrition formulations, development of bioactive extracts and ingredients for functional food and nutraceuticals. These projects are across the primary sector.

In 2018 Andy received a Nuffield Scholarship, his research topic; Exporting Aotearoa- A new business model for nutrition and health-focused export companies explored how NZ business and primary industry urgently needs to reposition their offerings towards health and nutritional solutions, rather than just food and beverage. To help achieve this he has proposed and described a new business model that provides a platform for engagement with new customers and new offerings.

Angus Brown

Angus Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Ārepa, a brain-food technology company working at the nexus between nature, neuroscience and food technology to make the worlds smartest food, his goal is to build a world-leading billion-dollar health food company out of Aotearoa New Zealand exporting high-value, clinically validated functional brain food.

Before Ārepa, Angus was the Business Manager at The FoodBowl, helping large and small companies alike develop and launch new products to market.

Arohaina Owen

Arohaina Owen’s background is in Financial Services and she holds a Masters in Financial Planning.  She currently leads the Kaitahi Working Group, who is a committed team of individuals working towards the overall strategy and vision of the company – to be part of the solution.

Arohaina is Pookai Aronui (Director) for Te Pataka o Rauru and Kii Tahi Ltd, investment arms of Southern Taranaki iwi, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi.

Professor Clare Wall

Professor Clare Wall heads the Nutrition Department at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland and is the principal investigator of the HVN Infant Health Priority Research Programme. Her research interest is in the inter-relationships between the determinants of nutritional status and health outcomes of the paediatric population.

Chloe van Dyke

Chloe van Dyke is the founder of Chia Sisters, an internationally successful beverage company with a focus on health, innovation, and sustainability. She has a degree in Neuroscience, and a diploma in herbal medicine which includes the indigenous uses of Chinese, ayurvedic, western, and rongoā Māori plants for medicinal use. She has a particular interest in enhancing the scientific knowledge of our indigenous plant species and how they can be protected for use in export markets. Chloe runs her business in a way that prioritises the wellbeing of the environment and the communities in which it operates. The company is solar-powered, zero-carbon, climate positive, living wage, and B-Corp certified and is the founding business of Businesses for Climate Action. Chloe is an Edmund Hillary Fellow, Obama leader, and Asia New Zealand Foundation leader.

Dr Denise Conroy

Dr Denise Conroy is a Senior Scientist with the Consumer Team, Plant and Food Research, based at the Mt Albert campus. Denise is a Consumer Behaviourist, specialising in understanding the attitudes, emotions, values and cognitions that motivate people to consume specific products, brands or experiences, or to reject these offerings. As an interpretivist researcher Denise is a skilled methodologist, and is very experienced at leading complex teams, across different disciplines, and from diverse backgrounds, to reach a common goal. Much of Denise’s research is Asia focussed; current projects include an exploration of how organic labels on fresh fruit and vegetables are processed and interpreted in Vietnam; why organic is considered to be part of status expression in South Korea, as opposed to any reference to sustainability or the green movement, and, as PI of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, exploring how Chinese consumers construe the relationships between food and health.

Dr Doug Rosendale

Dr Doug Rosendale is the Chief Science Officer at Anagenix Ltd. Doug is responsible for the science programmes supporting Anagenix products. He has over 20 years of postgraduate research, publishing and student supervisory experience in academia and industry. Doug holds a PhD in Engineering and Technology from Massey University and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences from The University of Auckland.

Hamish Glendinning

Hamish Glendinning leads the deer milk business within Pāmu which is looking to develop a high-value alternative dairy industry and product offerings. With Hamish’s leadership, Pāmu Deer Milk has become a world-first ingredient, showcasing groundbreaking innovation in the New Zealand food industry and is one of the examples of Pāmu’s innovation leadership and industry partnerships. Hamish sees enormous growth potential for targeted, high-value forms of functional dairy produced in a way that contributes positively to both the environment and people’s health and wellbeing. Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp Farming Ltd, which strives to be a leader in New Zealand agriculture, carefully creating natural products of high quality.

Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan

Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan is a Director of the Human Nutrition Unit and Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, and principal investigator of the Metabolic Health programme. Jennifer’s research focuses on inter-individual variability in nutritional energetics and the regulation of body composition and metabolism – in essence, trying to work out why some of us are more susceptible to obesity and metabolic disease than others, and how we might be able to tailor prevention and treatment strategies accordingly.


Professor Jeremy Krebs

Professor Jeremy Krebs is an Endocrinologist with a particular interest in obesity and diabetes. He trained in Endocrinology at Wellington Hospital in New Zealand and then did his doctorate with the Medical Research Council – Human Nutrition Research unit in Cambridge England. His thesis was on the impact of dietary factors on obesity and insulin resistance. Prof Krebs returned to New Zealand in 2002 to take up a consultant Endocrinology post at Wellington Hospital, where he was Clinical Leader of Endocrinology and Diabetes from 2007 to 2017. He is a past President of NZSSD.  He is a Professor of Medicine with the University of Otago, and previously the Director of the Clinical Research Diploma at Victoria University. As well as clinical and teaching activities, Professor Krebs leads a research group across the DHB and the University in the area of obesity and diabetes, with a focus on nutritional aspects, and diabetes service delivery. He has a wide range of collaborations across disciplines and institutions.  These include working with basic scientists in genetics and immunology and with academic nutritionists.  Professor Krebs is a member of the science leadership team of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge and has a leadership role in projects in the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.


Joanne Todd

Joanne Todd leads the Challenge Directorate team. She joined the Challenge from Fonterra Co-operative Ltd, where for over 20 years she held several nutrition and management roles with a focus on combining business development, science, regulatory and marketing activities, with an emphasis on Asian export markets. She has led and developed globally based cross-functional teams to deliver on a portfolio of projects and has built consumer insight, clinical research, and product development programmes that have delivered successful commercial outcomes increasing revenue for Fonterra’s consumer brands business. Her experience includes work across many areas including maternal, paediatric, immunity and mobility platforms, bringing vast experience in consumer-led innovation, combined with commercial acumen and understanding of the global consumer goods market and international regulatory environments.

Jim Metson

Professor Jim Metson

Professor Jim Metson is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Auckland. He is a physical chemist with research interests in materials science and particularly the science of surfaces. He received his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington before moving to the University of Western Ontario Canada initially as a post-doctoral fellow, then joining Surface Science Western. He returned to New Zealand in 1985 to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Auckland. He was a founding member of the MacDiarmid Institute for Materials Science and Nanotechnology and has worked extensively with international industry, particularly in aluminium reduction technology, gas dry-scrubbing, and alumina refining. He is a recognised international authority on industrial aluminas.

Professor Jun Lu

Professor Jun Lu obtained his BSc from East China Normal University and MSc and PhD from the University of Auckland. He established the Biomedical Science teaching programme and research laboratory at AUT. His research interest is mainly in nutraceutical products and metabolic disease. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles. He has been working on New Zealand seafood products (including mussel, seaweed, paua, fish and clams) to extract bioactive compounds for more than ten years. He is the principal investigator of the HVN-funded project mussel-fucoidan as supplemented superfood for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and alleviation of joint pain.

Kaylene Larking

Kaylene Larking is the Manager of MIA Innovation Limited, the research and development arm of the Meat Industry Association, the trade organisation that represents meat processing companies in New Zealand.  The MIA science portfolio covers the span of meat quality, food safety, processing, engineering and emerging technology disciplines, to nutrition and human health.  The challenge of working across various science disciplines with multiple industry organisations and research providers has helped shape her understanding and appreciation of R&D in the agricultural sector.

Mark Buntzen

The Distillery founder Mark Buntzen is an experienced strategist and facilitator with a background in business strategy consulting, industrial design, and science. He focuses on research-led strategy, innovation, and futures & foresight work to help clients create–and realise–better futures. In service of this work, Mark often develops and facilitates engaging, challenging workshops that use structured creativity and problem-solving techniques to help people develop smart solutions to their business challenges.

Mark Pirikahu

Mark Pera Atutahi Pirikahu

Mai Parinīnihi ki Waitōtara, Waitōtara ki Taipakē, Taipakē ki te kaihau-a- Kupe, ki uta ki te Kāhui Maunga, ki tai ki te ākau toi moana. Ngā Wairiki ki uta, Ngā Wairiki ki tai Whangaehu ki Te Rangitikei, rūpeke atu ki te ūpoko o te ika-a-Māui ko Te Atiawa e titia nei nō runga i te rangi, Taranaki Whānui ki te whenua, uea, uea!

 Mark Pirikahu is from Te Tai Uru, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Whanganui Iwi, Ngā Wairiki-Ngāti Apa and is the National Lead Tikanga Māori for Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department for Corrections.

 Mark spent 29 years in the New Zealand Navy and 8 years working for his Iwi, growing and developing Rangatahi Māori. Mark was brought up in Te Ao Māori and is now sharing it with the world.

Dr Matt Miller

Dr Matt Miller is a lipid chemist working for the Cawthron Institute in Nelson, Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr Miller has over fifteen years of research experience looking into the chemistry and novel sources of marine oils. Dr Miller PhD was awarded a Dean Commendation prize and the 2010 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) medal for research achievement looking at fish nutrition in respect to omega 3 biosynthesis.

Matt leads a team of researchers looking at the nutritional benefit of New Zealand Greenshell™ mussel under the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. Dr Miller is the president of the Australasian section of the American Oil Chemist Society (AAOCS), is a committee member of the New Zealand fats and oil group, and has recently been elected Vice-Chair of the Health and Nutrition Division at the American Oil Chemist Society (AOCS).

Professor Nicole Roy

Professor Nicole Roy is with the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago Professor Roy has research interests in nutrition and health, host-microbiome interactions, gastrointestinal physiology, and gut-brain communication. She is based in Palmerston North and leads the Digestive Health Priority Research Programme for the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. Professor Roy completed her PhD in Canada and the United States and postdoctoral studies in Scotland, where she focused on how nutrition and food components can modify inter-organ nutrient partitioning and communication using tracer kinetics, animal models and in vitro models. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Riddet Institute and a Principal Investigator in the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence.

Dr Olivier Gasser

Olivier Gasser, M.Sc., Ph.D., completed his postgraduate degree in Biomedical Research at the University of Basel (Switzerland) in 2004. Following postdoctoral research at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and Harvard Medical School, USA, he joined the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in 2011 to become a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute’s cancer immunotherapy programme. In 2017, Dr Gasser was appointed as Leader of the Translational Immunology research programme where he now focuses on nutrition and the microbiome and their impact on immune development and homeostasis in humans. As leader of the Immune Health Priority Research Programme of the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge, he investigates the mechanistic links between nutrition and health outcomes, with special interest in immune-metabolic effects of food macronutrients and the direct impact of polyphenols on immune function. The HVN-funded side of his research programme is paired with fundamental immunology projects investigating the role of microbiome- and/or vitamin-reactive T cell subsets (such as mucosal-associated invariant T cells and invariant natural killer T cells) in the development of allergic and metabolic diseases.

Reni Wereta-Gargiulo

Taranaki Iwi | Managing Director – Kiwi Kai Nelson

Reni Wereta-Gargiulo is an innovative entrepreneur with a passion for bringing the best kiwi kai to New Zealand and the world. She has developed three successful food and beverage brands out of Nelson – Atutahi, Kiwi Kai and Kai Fusionz, which are woven together with a tikanga Māori vision. Entrepreneurial skills inherited from ancestors on her mother’s Pakeha side (O’Carroll) coupled with her Māori values and heritage of Ngaati Ruanui, Nga Rauru and Te Atiawa on her father’s side are the foundations of her business ethos. Reni and her family are focused on further understanding the use of traditional Māori ingredients to improve the nutritional value and wellness benefits of their brands, as well as helping to educate New Zealand and the world.


Professor Richard Gearry

Richard Gearry is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch and Consultant Gastroenterologist at Christchurch Hospital. His research spans many facets of luminal gastroenterology and nutrition including inflammatory bowel disease, functional gastrointestinal disorders and coeliac disease where he has published widely. He undertook Medical and Doctoral studies at the University of Otago and post-graduate Fellowships at Monash University (Melbourne) and St Mark’s Hospital (London). He has served on a range of national (NZ Nutrition Foundation, Crohn’s and Colitis NZ, IBD-NZ, Gut Foundation, National Intestinal Failure Governance Board, Zespri Science Advisory Board) and international (International Organisation for the study of IBD, World Gastroenterology Organisation, Cornerstones Faculty, Asia Pacific IBD Consensus Group) and contributes regularly to media stories in his field of expertise.

Professor Richard Mithen

Richard Mithen is a Professor of Human Nutrition at the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland and Chief Scientist for the New Zealand High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. Following a PhD at the University of East Anglia and several years working in south-central Africa on the conservation of wild crop relatives, Richard was a group leader at the John Innes Centre and Professor of Crop Science at the University of Nottingham prior to moving to the Institute of Food Research in 2003. Richard has played a major role in the development of the Quadram Institute, a new institute on the Norwich Research Park that combines food and nutritional science with human microbiome research and clinical expertise. Richard’s major research interests are at the interface between crop and food science and human nutrition. Richard migrated to New Zealand in 2019.

Dr Rod Claycomb

Dr Rod Claycomb is the Co-Founder and current Innovation Director of Quantec Ltd, a New Zealand company specialising in the development and commercialisation of high value naturally derived bioactives. Rod has an extensive background in the dairy industry, filling roles from pure and applied research through commercialisation.

Prior to Quantec, Rod was the founding CEO of Sensortec Ltd and prior to that, the Director of R&D for Waikato Milking Systems.

Rod’s areas of expertise include bioactives, biosensors, agritechnology and commercialisation. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Davis in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Rod is the author of numerous publications and inventor on seven patent families.

Photograph courtesy of Stephen Barker. ©Barker Photography

Dr Sabrina Tian

Dr Sabrina Tian, Innovation Research Science Manager at Sanford Limited, has 34 years’ work experience including 25 years’ food industry R&D experience (Fonterra, Sanford). Sabrina has a doctoral degree in the functional food and gut health field obtained from Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has broad knowledge and skills in dairy protein separation, marine bioactive extraction, and food & bio technology. Sabrina is also equipped with the theoretical and practical combination of chemistry instrumentation and microbiological analytical skills from her previous positions in other laboratories (R.J. Hills, SGS).

Currently Sabrina leads Sanford’s marine by-product utilisation, bioactive compounds extraction and validation research towards nutraceuticals and functional ingredients commercialization. Sabrina also works with a team of scientists looking at the nutritional benefit of NZ Greenshell™ mussel under the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

Sabrina co-lectures at the University of Auckland, and currently co-supervises five PhD projects within New Zealand universities. She is a professional member of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST) and she is one of the Industry Advisory Group members for several MBIE-funded national science programmes.

Shayne and Rachael Walker

Shayne and Rachael Walker live in Karamu, Hastings, on Aotearoa’s largest Damson Plum orchard. With a background in research (Shayne has completed his MBA and Rachael is an Associate Professor who completed her PhD in health economics), the couple wanted to explore the potential of damson plums beyond jams and gin, particularly to understand opportunities to improve the commercial, social, health, and cultural value of the Damson plums through exploring their bioactivity / functionality (e.g., immune health) and related value-add opportunities, as well as understanding market regulation constraints. The couple approached HVN for an initial korero about this topic and has since received a development grant and are working with the Riddet Institute to undertake this initial research.


Dr Tom Wheeler

Dr Tom Wheeler is a Senior Scientist and Technical Manager of an analytical chemistry team at the Cawthron Institute.  Since 2017 he has led research on the biochemistry of seaweeds with the goal of understanding their nutritional benefits, functional properties and utility as food ingredients.  A biochemist by training, Tom has also applied his skills in protein analysis and purification to investigating the innate immune-related properties of milk proteins, hormonal control of mammary gland function and the role of salivary proteins in ruminant digestion.

Vanessa Hayes

Vanessa Hayes sold her successful Gisborne Life Insurance business in early 2021 to concentrate on her passion; growing the New Zealand Macadamia Industry, based on variety research she started in 1983.  She now commutes twice weekly between the Nursery and Organic macadamia orchard at Torere and the macadamia product and sales office in Gisborne where she lives with Rod Husband; her life and business partner in Torere Macadamias Limited (TML).

Research trials at Torere included existing New Zealand varieties and new imported international varieties, to find the best for New Zealand conditions.  TML’s extensive research over many years identified the best commercial dropping varieties.  They have sole plant variety rights to propagate and supply these varieties to grow the NZ Macadamia Industry and increased nursery capacity to match the demand for more trees.

Agmardt, Poutama Trust, Te Puni Kokiri and Trust Tairawhiti provided support to assist TML’s variety research activities.  TML now receives support for the New Zealand Macadamia Growth Strategy from an impressive number of Government agencies that includes PGF, MBIE, MPI, PFR, Hort Innovation Australia, two Tertiary Education providers and HVN.

The range of new research projects will provide data from New Zealand grown macadamias that is not currently available.  E.g., pre-approved kernel health and nutrition content data from these TML varieties will be delivered as specific outcomes from the HVN and PFR research project.

Whaimutu Dewes

Whaimutu Dewes

“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 and has an intense interest in the role of economics and governance in New Zealand and Māori 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 Māori, Whaimutu regards the fact he and his wife Judy have raised their children to be fluent in Māori and English languages to be a highlight for him.