Our Board

Nikau Foundation is led by a dedicated volunteer Board of Trustees, supported by our Patron and Co-opted Members of the Funding Committee.

 

The Trustee board may consist of up to 14 persons having such special knowledge, experience, qualifications and interest as the Board may from time to time prescribe. A formal appointment policy has been approved by the Board to ensure the best possible mix of the above skills.  Where considered appropriate non trustees may be appointed to Board sub committees to further strengthen the skills available.  Up to three trustees may be appointed from time to time by the Board from local government entities within the Wellington region.  A number of Board Committees have been established.

Patron
Dame Fran Wilde

Dame Fran Wilde

Fran is a Wellington Regional Councillor. Starting her working life as a journalist, she then entered politics. She became a cabinet minister in the eighties, then left Parliament to become Mayor of Wellington.  Formerly she was Chair of Housing New Zealand and Chief Executive of Trade New Zealand.

Current Board Members
Chris Milne (Chair)

Chris Milne (Chair)

Company Director, Technology Investor, City Councillor

Chris is a business consultant focusing on information technology and associated venture capital investments. He has worked in accounting and banking in New Zealand and overseas. He has worked in parliament and is a Hutt City Councillor. Chris is currently a board member of Community Foundations of New Zealand, a trustee of Nga Manu Nature Reserve and a director of Seaview Marina Ltd, Partstrader NZ Ltd and Kaynemaile Ltd. Chris enjoys the outdoors, particularly skiing, climbing and tramping, and he is also a keen tennis player and occasional golfer. Sadly, he is now roundly defeated in all sports by his children, who are in their 20s, a fate shared with his wife Jan.

Liz Koh (Deputy Chair)

Liz Koh (Deputy Chair)

Liz is the owner of Moneymax, a financial planning business based on the Kapiti Coast. She is a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Accountant. Prior to establishing her business in 1999, Liz had a successful career in general management. She is a member of the Institute of Financial Advisers, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Directors. Liz is a Trustee of the Kapiti Community Recreational Turf Trust and is an active Rotarian. Liz is a well known writer and commentator in the area of personal finance. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, music and genealogy.

Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O’Connor

Immediate Past Chair / Company Director and founding trustee

Kevin was formerly the Chair of Infratil Limited, a specialist investor in international infrastructure and utility assets. Previously he had a 35 year career in investment and stockbroking. He is a trustee of the Catholic Foundation of Wellington as well as being involved with a number of other charitable bodies. He is a keen sportsman and maintains an active interest in golf, skiing and walking.

Richard Caughley

Richard Caughley

Partner, Morrison Kent, Barristers and Solicitors

Richard is a lawyer and has been a partner of Morrison Kent since 1985. He is currently head of the commercial property team and is also a member of the Morrison Kent board. Richard is the Nikau representative on the grants and scholarships committee of the Borrin Foundation. He is married to Sarah with three children about to leave home. He is passionate about Wellington and the Kapiti Coast. He enjoys his golf, beekeeping and developing their property, Pahiko on the Otaki River.

Robert Cross

Robert Cross

Principal of Business & Advisory Services Ltd

Robert is a Chartered Accountant, having spent most of his career in public practice.  Twenty seven of these years were spent with Ernst & Young (EY), including 17 years as a partner in the business advisory area, assisting SMEs to improve their business performance.

Robert spent 13 years as the chairman of the Wellington Ronald McDonald House (RMH) overseeing the fundraising and building of the city’s new RMH, a multimillion dollar project, with the doors opening in October 2012.

Robert is a keen sportsman enjoying golf, tennis and mountain biking.

Jill Day

Jill Day

Deputy Mayor, Wellington City Council

Jill Day is a proud Wellingtonian, having moved to the capital when she was 14.

She graduated from Victoria University with degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics and went on to become a primary school teacher.

She soon became immersed in her local community and undertook many volunteer roles.

She was elected to Wellington City Council in the Northern Ward in 2016, and was appointed Deputy Mayor in September 2017. She is Wellington’s first female Māori Deputy Mayor. Her iwi is Ngāti Tūwharetoa. She speaks te reo Māori and is working to become more fluent.

She holds the Council’s Māori Partnerships, Governance, and Children and Young People portfolios. She was instrumental in creating Te Tauihu, the Council’s te reo Māori policy, which aims to expand the use of the language in Wellington.

Jill is passionate about being a voice for Wellingtonians in need, especially young people and families. She is also a keen advocate for the retention, growth and upgrading of suburban centres because she feels they are vital to the health of communities.

Susan Hornsby-Geluk

Susan Hornsby-Geluk

Managing Partner of Dundas Street, a specialist Employment Law Firm

Susan is rated by international agencies as one of the top 3 Employment Lawyers in NZ. She is a go-to person for complex strategic / high profile matters, and her work is largely at Chief Executive or Board level.

Susan is the Managing Partner of Dundas Street, an award-winning specialist Employment Law firm based in central Wellington. Susan has been a Nikau Foundation Board member for the past 4 years and was previously a board member of law firm Kensington Swan.

Susan is a regular commentator on television, radio and in print.  As a former fitness instructor at Les Mills, Susan maintains a rigorous fitness regime which she complements with a diet of wine and chips. She divides her time between Central Wellington and the Kāpiti Coast with her wife Helen.

Greg Kelly

Greg Kelly

Managing Partner of Greg Kelly Law Ltd, specialists in wills, trusts and estates.

Greg has 35 years experience in the wills, trusts and estate area. He is a member of the Wills and Trusts Committee of the NZLS Property Law Section, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Greg is a contributor to Butterworth’s Law of Trusts, probate and administration author for McGechan on Procedure, co-author of Garrow and Kelly’s Law of Trusts and Trustees (6th and 7th editions) and of Dobbies’ Probate and Administration Practice (5th and 6th editions). He has presented papers at numerous seminars and conferences for NZ Law Society, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and other organisations throughout New Zealand. Greg chaired the NZLS Trust Conferences in 2009, 2011 and 2015.

In 2010 Greg received a Master of Laws with distinction from Victoria University for his thesis on an Inheritance Code for New Zealand. In 2009 Greg established Greg Kelly Law Limited a specialist will, estate and trust legal practice.

Rebecca Morahan

Rebecca Morahan

Co-Founder / Managing Director, WELLfed

Rebecca has 20+ years corporate experience in financial services’ across Information Technology, business process, project management, senior management and consultancy – in New Zealand and overseas.

Rebecca is currently a board member of Bellyful New Zealand and WELLfed New Zealand (which she co-founded). A long-time volunteer and manager of volunteers, Rebecca has a passion for not-for-profit success through slick operations, strong governance and building effective community connections.

Rebecca lives in Porirua with her husband, David, and two children and is particularly motivated by health/nutrition, wellness, inequality and women’s/children’s issues.

Adrienne Olsen

Adrienne Olsen

Principal, Adroite Communications

Adrienne is the principal at Adroite Communications, a Wellington-based communications, public relations and business development agency with clients from all over New Zealand and from a broad range of sectors. She has more than 25 years’ experience in strategic communications planning and implementation; and reputation, crisis and issues management.

She is a trustee of the Halberg Endowment Fund. Adrienne is a life trustee of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation (formerly the Halberg Trust); she was a trustee from 2000-2017.

When not engrossed in work, Adrienne enjoys developing gardens, pottering in the kitchen, and exploring new places.

Adrian Orr

Adrian Orr

Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Adrian has an extensive career in economics and public sector finance. His career history includes Directorships and International Governance, previously serving as Chair of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, and Chair of the Pacific Pension and Investment Institute. Throughout his career Adrian has been the recipient of various awards, including CFO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Finance and Business NZ (2018). Adrian is New Zealand born and bred, and primarily of Cook Island and Irish descent. He is married to Sue, a novelist, and they have 3 adult children.

Pancha Narayanan

Pancha Narayanan

Past President of the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils and board member of the Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research at Victoria University in Wellington

Pancha is the Managing Director of Promac International Limited that provides programme and project management consultancy and services to both the public and private sectors in New Zealand. As a volunteer in the migrant and refugee communities he has, in the past also held the positions of the President of the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils and the Multicultural Council of Wellington. Pancha is currently the President of the Upper Hutt Multicultural Council. He is also a board member of the Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research at Victoria University in Wellington.

Pancha enjoys cricket, meditation, swimming and yoga. He is married to his school friend Pohswan with whom he has two (now grown-up) children.

Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts

Director, Outlook Media

Rachel is a communications and strategy specialist. For over fifteen years, through her company Outlook Media, she’s worked with not-for-profit organisations, business and government agencies. Her clients’ fields are as diverse as community-led development and Search and Rescue. Her skills and experience cover consultation, insight and support of wide-ranging goals, multi sector forums and projects, including search and rescue prevention, philanthropy, not for profit capability and communication tactics.

Rachel is a member of the Open Government Partnership’s Expert Advisory Panel. She is most interested in providing leadership supporting practical outcomes that are fit for purpose and achievable.

In a previous life Rachel was a journalist and a radio producer working on National Radio’s Nine to Noon programme amongst others. Rachel is married to Chris; they have two teenage boys and live a great life in Wellington’s inner city.

Peter Verhaart

Peter Verhaart

Head of Wholesale and Private Investment at Kiwi Investment Management (a Kiwi Wealth company)

Peter has over 30 years’ experience in New Zealand investment markets.  He was formerly Head of NZ Multi-Asset Group at AMP Capital, General Manager of AXA Global Investors and Head of NZ Investment Consulting at Mercer.
He has extensive investment and asset consulting experience including working with a large number of charities. He has facilitated investment education sessions for Philanthropy NZ and WorkplaceSavings NZ and has presented at many investment forums and conferences.
Peter holds a Bachelor of Science from Canterbury University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Mathematics from Victoria University and a Diploma in Business Studies endorsed in Financial Planning from Massey University.
He lives on a 3.5 acre lifestyle block on the Kāpiti Coast with his wife Gina and son James. Peter and James share a passion for native flora and fauna and both volunteer at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve.
Co-opted Sub-committee Members
Tony Paine

Tony Paine

CEO of Accessability Charitable Trust, Co-opted member of the Grants Committee

Tony has over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit leadership and management working in the health, social service and cultural sectors. Tony’s career includes work with the NZ AIDS Foundation, the Christchurch Methodist Mission, and as CEO of Comcare Trust, the Christchurch Arts Centre, Victim Support, New Zealand Red Cross, and Philanthropy New Zealand.

Tony served on the Board of Housing New Zealand for 5 years, has a Masters in Management and lives in Wellington with his partner Bernadette Macartney and their two daughters Maggie and Sally.

Jackie Robertson

Jackie Robertson

Chartered Accountant, Co-opted member of the Audit, Risk and Investment Committee

Jackie has over 26 years’ in the audit profession. 18 of those years were with Deloitte, 11 as a partner in the Wellington audit practice. Jackie has been responsible for the audits of a wide range of organisations including many local not for profits in the arts and social areas. She has also worked with many clients that hold large investment portfolios.

Jackie led Deloitte’s Sustainability assurance and advisory practice and is a keen advocate of responsible and sustainable business practice.

Jackie enjoys the outdoors, skiing, yoga and walking Charlie the Labrador, circus arts, good films and good company.

Ambassadors
John Allen

John Allen

CEO NZRB, formerly CEO of MFAT & NZ Post, Lawyer

John Allen was appointed the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Racing Board in March 2015, having previously held the role of Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade since July 2009. He was the Government’s chief adviser on foreign and trade policy, official development assistance, international law, and diplomatic and consular issues.

Prior to joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, John was Chief Executive of New Zealand Post, where he led a range of initiatives to drive growth in advance of declining mail volumes. He held a number of senior positions at New Zealand Post before his appointment as its Chief Executive in 2003.

A former Partner of Rudd Watts & Stone, specialising in commercial and public policy issues, John has also been a visiting Lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington. He is an experienced company director and was co-chair of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum until April 2011; was adviser to the Boards of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Education New Zealand and Asia New Zealand Foundation; and trustee of the New Zealand China Council. John is Chair of the Be.Accessible Trust. He is also a member of the Territorial Forces Employer Support Council; and a trustee of the New Zealand International Arts Festival and New Zealand Book Council.

Ian Cassels

Ian Cassels

Company Director

Ian is the Managing Director of the Wellington Company – a major player in the redevelopment of Wellington city’s urban environments and historic places.  He is also:

– President of the Wellington Branch of the Property Council of New Zealand
– Actively involved in Angel Investments: assisting funding with start up companies- Bio Fuel and Medicine
– A member of the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce

Ian and the Wellington Company are long time supporters of the prestigious Arts Category for the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards and the Gold Awards celebrating Wellington’s brilliant business performers.