Jeremy Tauri (Plus Chartered Accountants) - President

If you ask Jeremy Tauri what he likes most about his job, he’ll say it’s helping people. Whether it’s showing clients how to understand accounts or helping them understand how to overcome problems in their businesses, he explains things in simple, plain-English terms.

He is committed to developing Northland as a place to do business and is enthusiastic about helping other people achieve success.

Jeremy has been an accountant for the past 17 years at Plus Chartered Accountants, based in Whangarei.  He holds trustee roles for various charitable trusts around town and also writes a column for NZME regional newspapers.

Jeremy grew up in Kaikohe but moved to Whangarei to study when he was 18. He now has young children and enjoys the different perspective on the future that being a parent can offer.

In his spare time he enjoys kickboxing – but don’t worry, he’s very approachable.

Tim Robinson (Bernina Northland) - Vice President

Tim is co-owner and director of Bernina Northland Sewing Centre, Northland’s premium sewing machine sales and service centre, along with sewing and quilting supplies, dress fabrics, wool and sewing haberdashery.  Tim is now working full-time in the business, after spending 33 years working in the ICT business with Spark NZ, formerly Gen-i & Telecom, working at the frontline with a range of companies, from small medium enterprise businesses to large local based corporates, partnering with them to develop and implement innovative solutions to enhance their business performance.  All these endeavours, and especially now with his own retail business,  have provided him with an invaluable insight into the issues surrounding small business, in particular compliance.

On a personal level Tim was raised in Whangarei and attended Whangarei Boys High School. He is married to Sandy, has three 3 towering sons, and is a self-professed lover of all sports involving water. Skiing, fishing, boogie-boarding, sailing and just basically getting wet fills his family leisure time. Tim is currently the Secretary of the Kai Iwi Lakes Water-ski Club and is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Whangarei Boys High School.

Tim has been a serving board member of the Chamber for the past 15 years, was Vice President for 6 years and President in 2009 & then as immediate past president the following year. He brings to the Chamber Board a sound understanding of business, relationship management, information technology and sales, plus a real affinity for the uniqueness of doing business in the regional environment. Tim also provides ongoing board succession and continuity of board development.

Danny Douglas (Gilmore Taylor Associates Limited) - Treasurer

Danny Douglas (Gilmore Taylor Associates Limited previously Gilmore Brown Ltd) – Treasurer Danny attended Kamo High School and completed his Business Management degree, majoring in Accountancy at Northland Polytechnic in 2002. He has been working for Gilmore Brown Ltd/ Gilmore Taylor Associates Limited since 2003.

Prior to being employed as an accountant Danny worked on deep sea fishing boats around New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. And after leaving school also worked as a builder.

His experience at Gilmore Taylor Associates Limited has helped him to development a keen interest in helping businesses to grow. And he enjoys helping clients achieve their goals.

Danny is an Associate at Gilmore Taylor Associates Limited, with a special interest in business advisory services and works with business owners from a wide range of Northland business sectors including;

  • farming and agriculture,
  • construction,
  • retailing and wholesaling,
  • professional sectors.

Ryan Welsh (WRMK Lawyers) - Board of Directors and Immediate Past President

Originally from Wellington Ryan has now firmly settled in Northland after having moved here 13 years ago to practice law. Ryan graduated from Victoria University with degrees in Law and Science. Prior to practising law Ryan was involved in fisheries management that dealt with research into New Zealand’s commercial fishing stocks. Ryan is married to Rose and together they have three young children.

Ryan is currently an associate with the law firm WRMK Lawyers (formerly Webb Ross McNab Kilpatrick) and practices in areas of law that constantly bring him in to contact with a wide cross-section of business people who operate in a broad range of enterprises. The experience gained from acting for these commercial clients provides an insight into the issues that business people face. This area of law brings Ryan into contact with not only the client but also many other professionals including accountants, valuers, financial advisers, surveyors to name a few, as well as local and central government agencies. Ryan has built up an extensive network of contacts with whom he has a very good rapport.
Ryan in a voluntary capacity also sits on the board of numerous community organisations in Northland.

Ryan has a strong interest in the local economic development of Northland and considers that a robust and sustainable regional economy helps build strong communities. Visionary leadership within Northland will also be pivotal to its success. As a result of his scientific background and experience Ryan considers that new and innovative ideas need support which goes hand in hand with an environment that fosters research and development.

Murray Broadbelt (Employer Services) - Board of Directors

Murray is the Managing Director of Employer Services Ltd, an employment relations consultancy based in Whangarei.

The Company’s client base extends as far as Invercargill but maintains a strong Northland presence from its offices in Maunu Rd, Whangarei.

Prior to establishing Employer Services Ltd in 2002, Murray spent 6 years serving employers and businesses throughout Northland as manager of the Employers and Manufacturers Association’s Northland office.

Murray has previously been a Board member and Vice President of the Northland Chamber.

He was Chairman of the National Party’s Whangarei Electorate for 12 years and is currently a member of the Party’s Northern Regional Executive and the Party’s List Ranking Committee. Murray is in his second four year term as a Trustee of Foundation North (formerly the ASB Community Trust) and is also a Trustee of the Northland Emergency Services Trust (Northland’s Rescue Helicopters).

Virginia Craig (Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth) - Board of Directors

Who am I?

I’m Virginia Craig and I truly believe that Northland is the best place in the world to live.

The amazing coastline, the climate, the cultural and arts heritage, and of course the people make Northland absolutely unique.

Born and educated in Whangarei, I have worked as a Registered Legal Executive with Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth for 27 years. I have developed strong and diverse relationships in the business community and with the many clients I have built up over the years, and am confident that I am highly regarded and respected.

I am a member and past president of BNI Riverside chapter and am the current President of the Northland Branch of the Institute of Legal Executives.

Over the years I have seen Northland prosper and sadly there have been times when the region has declined. In my opinion there is now a strong sense of energy in the region and a determination to see Northland grow and develop. This is an exciting place to do business and attract investment.

I am excited by the opportunity to become involved with the promotion of Northland in a more structured way and if elected am confident that I will be able to make a worthwhile contribution to the board.

Brett Donovan (Donovan Group NZ Ltd) - Board of Directors

As a loyal advocate for living in Northland and with a passion for business spanning more than 15 years, Brett Donovan believes he has a lot to offer the Northland business environment.

In fact Brett has always aspired to becoming a mentor for emerging companies, to help them on their journey to becoming profitable entities locally, before taking the plunge nationally or internationally.

Brett initially trained in electrical engineering and project management and was involved in many of the early IT-controlled manufacturing plants in Whangarei. He developed an enthusiasm for business while working alongside Northland business owners to refine their business operations through the use of technology. This was the beginning of a career focused on IT, manufacturing and construction, with the goal of changing a staid market place.

In 1992 Brett joined Donovan Group as divisional manager and by the late 1990s became general manager. In mid 2000, along with his brother Kyle Donovan, he bought 50% of Donovan Group NZ Ltd and was welcomed to the board as a director.
Brett, along with the team at Donovan Group, was the proud winner of the Supreme Award at the Westpac Business Excellence Awards 2015. The company also won the Northland Inc Innovation Award and the Eroad Excellence in Business (Large Business) Award.

Tony Shi (Switch MSP) - Board of Directors

Tony founded his first business Orbitcoms Ltd in Whangarei in 2002 and has been in ownership and leadership role since. Currently, Tony is the managing director of Sitch MSP, a successful Whangarei based Managed IT Services Provider.

Tony has accumulated vast experience and knowledge in sales/marketing and business management. The background of his migrating from China over 18 years ago also enables him to bring a different cultural perspective to business and life in general. The most notable accolade to date is winning the 2014 Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards Small Business Category (prior to re-branding, as Northcom ICT)

Tony believes in “vibrant businesses, vibrant community”, and recognises the importance of the role Chamber plays in the local business and wider community. He is confident that he is able to add value by getting involved in the chamber governing body and contributing to its members’ success.

Ken Wilson (GT Advantage) - Board of Directors

Ken has over 30 years experience in senior management roles throughout the country including organisations such as Northland Dairy, Progressive Enterprises, Fletcher Challenge, Damar Industries, Enterprise Northland and Advantage Business.

Ken’s specialities include change management, team optimisation, and strategic planning.

Ken is a 5th generation Northlander now settled back in hometown Whangarei – and has been an active member of the Northland Chamber for several years.

His formal qualifications include a Diploma in management, Diploma in Dairy Technology (Distinction), post graduate honours degree (Demography) and a B.Soc.Sc (double major in Geography and Sociology)

Ken is an associate member of IMNZ, a member of the Institute of Directors (IOD), and a trustee of Northland Events Centre (Toll Stadium). He has for several years been on the judging panel for the Northland Business Excellence Awards.

Ken has had pleasure working alongside many Northland SME owners and their teams, and sits on a number of local advisory boards. He sees the Chamber as the primary business networking organisation in the region, and would like to be an active contributor to it’s ongoing success.

Sue Walters (Ricoh Northland) - Board of Directors

I am a competent, hard working and dedicated individual with a significant background in operations and financial management, events management, marketing, sales, training and administration across numerous business sectors. I have proven capability in communications, stakeholder engagement, public relations and other media related areas.

I have called Whangarei home my whole life and I have a very real passion to see our city prosper. Together with my husband, I have three sons aged between 13and 19 years and as a family we enjoy our regions’ beaches and camping spots.

I am a voluntary treasurer and board member for the Te Kowhai Print Trust which is an organisation that I love working with – as a community organisation, TKPT is a wonderful resource for our arts and school communities.  My husband and I are also secretary and chairperson for the Whareora Landcare Group and are actively involved in improving the state of our native forests so that Whangarei’s native flaura and fauna can flourish.

The past year as a Chamber Board member has been incredibly inspiring.  We are lucky to have such a talented group of business men and women working hard on behalf of our region’s economy.  Whangarei is ‘growing up’ and it’s great to part of it.

Auriole Ruka (Te Puu Ao Charitable Trust) - Board of Directors

I am passionate about making a difference in communities and believe that with powerful and dynamic leadership and the ability to work collaboratively with whanau, building upon the strengths of hapu and Iwi we can seek out our own solutions that will have us navigate into futures that will benefit the generations yet to come and pay tribute to those of our tupuna that left a legacy for all of us to follow.

Executive Summary

  • Currently employed by He Puna Marama Trust as General Manager – Maori Business Transformation and recently project managed InnoNative Market Day
  • Experienced in business acumen holding key governance roles on Jubilee Trust with an investment portfolio estimated at $25million for seven years and Whangarei Accessible Housing Trust since its inception with 28 properties across Auckland and Whangarei
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, able to connect authentically with all stakeholders and experienced within diverse and marginalised communities; people with disabilities, Maori & Pacifica, Refugee & Migrant and Youth
  • Experienced in building relationships with funders, businesses, workforce and government holding contracts and philanthropic funding for projects that build communities effectiveness to respond to opportunities and gaps
  • Skilled at leading and motivating teams, with the ability to manage staff effectively. Solid background in coaching, mentoring and supervision to build high performance teams based on culture of organisational vision and values.

Masters Business Degree, 2016 

Bachelor Maori Performing Arts, 2011-2014

Bachelor Business Studies (with distinction) 2000-2004

Recipient Business Professional Award, Massey University

Sarah Blithe (Hubands energy) - Board of Directors

As a 6th generation Northlander I am passionate about the Northland region and all it has to offer. Growing up in a family owned and operated business gave me a head start on understanding business life as well as the challenges and opportunities that local businesses face.

I spent 13 years working in marketing and media starting at MediaWorks Northland then working on a National level in Auckland on television, radio and digital. While working full time I also pursued my LLB and having the opportunity to use this in day to day business life has been invaluable.

After relocating to Queenstown for 3 years and managing The Heritage Hotel Conference Centre my husband and I felt the pull of Northland calling us home in 2015. I stepped (or jumped!) back into our family business, Hubands Energy embarking on a full re-brand and move which has resulted in a business growth fast track.

It has been inspiring to see the business growth in Northland over the past few years. I believe my passion and understanding of this region as well as being at the forefront of a local SME puts me in a position to offer both experience and fresh ideas to assist the Chamber in the continued growth of Northland businesses.

Jeroen Jongejans (Dive! Tutukaka) - Board of Directors

I’m Jeroen Jongejans.

Business is the engine room of communities, and, when businesses work well as a collective, we can achieve positive change.

I believe we are living in exciting times, the next 5 years will see more changes than the last 95.

We have to play an active role in this process and ensure that “regulators” become partners and facilitators for smart sustainable growth.

This is currently not the case.

I served on the Chamber Board from 2007 till 2015, and I also serve on the Boards of “Northland Inc” and “Tourism Industry Aotearoa” plus have a good business and political network.

Keen to work on the Board to help Northland grow!