Programme
Governance and
Leadership

Purpose of the governance group

The Programme Governance Group (PGG) is responsible for ensuring that the programme is managed in accordance with the annual work programme and forecast budget, and to provide ongoing guidance and oversight to ensure the implementation of the programme is consistent with achievement of programme outcomes.

PGG members

Dr David Tanner, Independent Chair

Dr David Tanner is the Independent Chair of A lighter touch. David is also Managing Director of Start Afresh Ltd. Start Afresh is an Horticultural Innovation partnership formed in September 2014, offering a portfolio of services, from managed orchard investments, to science-led research, and to applied horticulture training and education.

Prior to this, David had 8 years leadership experience with leading global horticultural brand company, Zespri International, with the past six years in an executive leadership team position, as General Manager – Science & Innovation. Prior to that, he had five years with a global top-six R&D authority in Australia (CSIRO), where he managed and undertook research for the Australasian Food Industry.

David currently Chairs the Spring Sheep Dairy Horizon 3 PGP Programme Steering Group, and is Chair of Kiwifruit Vine Health (the Kiwifruit Industry’s Biosecurity Agency), and a member of the Purpose Capital Impact Fund Investment Committee.

David has a proven track record, driving growth through incremental and breakthrough innovation in the agrifood sector. He is a highly driven, dedicated thought-leader with global leadership and management experience in utilising complex science concepts for genuine business improvement and profitability. He has proven technical leadership and experience in crisis management with a track record of successful delivery. David has a collaborative and consultative leadership style that delivers on time.

David’s formal education includes an Undergraduate degree in Horticultural Technology from Massey University and a PhD degree in Food Engineering (also from Massey).

Amy Allison, Director, Agriculture and Investment Services, MPI

A career public servant, Amy Allison is currently the Director, Strategy at Ministry of Primary Industries. A career that began in community development under Parekura Horomia, she brings a community perspective to central government, a strong belief in collaboration and a commitment to service.

Most recently holding senior roles in the Treasury and the State Services Commission specialising in governance, public sector financial management and strategy, she has also led work on open government and is a diversity and inclusion champion.

Amy is a Public Service Leadership Centre Fellow and she holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Science from Otago as well as an MBA from Victoria. As well as brief stints in several Ivy League Colleges for Exec Ed, Amy has been studying the martial art of Muay Thai in Thailand for the last four years.

Dr Alison Stewart, CEO, Foundation for Arable Research

Professor Alison Stewart is the CEO of the Foundation for Arable Research.  She is an applied plant scientist with a 37 year career focused on sustainable disease management.  Her research expertise includes: integrated plant disease management, control of soil-borne diseases, biocontrol of plant diseases, microbial ecology, and fungal molecular genetics.  In particular, Alison is internationally recognised for her work on the control of plant pathogenic fungi using antagonistic micro-organisms, with special emphasis on the naturally occurring beneficial soil-borne fungus Trichoderma.  She has successfully developed and commercialised a number of biopesticide technologies for the horticulture, arable and nursery sectors in New Zealand and the USA. Professor Stewart is a Fellow of the NZ Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Science and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, and was elected a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in 2009 in recognition of her services to plant biology.

Dr Bruce Campbell, Horticulture NZ (Observer)

Bruce is a chartered company director and consultant.  He holds board positions as Director of Horticulture New Zealand (Inc.), Director of the New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre Limited (trading as Bragato Research Institute) and is Chair of the Northland Horticulture Careers Progression Governance Group.  Bruce is experienced in strategies for innovation, and was previously Chief Operating Officer at Plant & Food Research.  He has a particular interest in building partnerships with Māori and accelerating innovation, education and talent development.  Bruce has a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in ecology from The University of Sheffield.  He is a recipient of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, 2017 Horticulture New Zealand Industry Service Award and 2016 Royal Society of New Zealand Thomson Medal for outstanding leadership of agricultural and horticultural science.

Dr Sonia Whiteman, Global Trials & Data Insight Manager, Zespri International

Dr Sonia Whiteman is the Global Trials & Data Insights Manager in the Zespri Global Extension team. Sonia is extremely passionate about the value that well executed and implemented science can add and has spent the last 25 years working in research management and extension roles across the primary sector. Sonia’s past governance roles include membership of Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Food Safety Research Centre and NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science. Sonia has a Bachelor of Horticultural Science with honours and a PhD in plant pathology. Sonia has a strong emphasis on supporting and developing the people around her, particularly young woman, as she believes “the greatest success we’ll know is helping others succeed and grow”.

IRG members

Dr Bruce Campbell, Horticulture NZ – Chair

Bruce is a chartered company director and consultant.  He holds board positions as Director of Horticulture New Zealand (Inc.), Director of the New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre Limited (trading as Bragato Research Institute) and is Chair of the Northland Horticulture Careers Progression Governance Group.  Bruce is experienced in strategies for innovation, and was previously Chief Operating Officer at Plant & Food Research.  He has a particular interest in building partnerships with Māori and accelerating innovation, education and talent development.  Bruce has a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in ecology from The University of Sheffield.  He is a recipient of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, 2017 Horticulture New Zealand Industry Service Award and 2016 Royal Society of New Zealand Thomson Medal for outstanding leadership of agricultural and horticultural science.

Dr Alison Stewart, Foundation for Arable Research

Professor Alison Stewart is the CEO of the Foundation for Arable Research.  She is an applied plant scientist with a 37 year career focused on sustainable disease management.  Her research expertise includes: integrated plant disease management, control of soil-borne diseases, biocontrol of plant diseases, microbial ecology, and fungal molecular genetics.  In particular, Alison is internationally recognised for her work on the control of plant pathogenic fungi using antagonistic micro-organisms, with special emphasis on the naturally occurring beneficial soil-borne fungus Trichoderma.  She has successfully developed and commercialised a number of biopesticide technologies for the horticulture, arable and nursery sectors in New Zealand and the USA. Professor Stewart is a Fellow of the NZ Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Science and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, and was elected a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in 2009 in recognition of her services to plant biology.

David Hadfield, Process Vegetables NZ

David is the current Chair of Process Vegetables New Zealand and the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board, representing growers in GIA negotiations, regional plan committees and research project development. David has also been a member of many governance boards and technical groups, former chair of Horticulture Canterbury District Association and South Island Agricultural Field Days Organising Committees, setting up its current structure.

David has a B.Com(Ag) from Lincoln University and was an accountant. At the same time he was also farming with his two brothers. Together they farm 400 hectares of arable crops – vegetable and grass seed, cereals, and process peas and beans. In 2000 and 2001, they were winners of the best premium milling wheat in New Zealand in 2000 and 2001. The three brothers also operate an agricultural contracting operation specialising in harvesting vegetable seed crops, and an equine stock food processing and delivery business throughout the South Island.

Dereck Ferguson, NZ Buttercup Squash Council

Dereck Ferguson grew up on a livestock and cropping farm, and his working career has been in the agriculture sector, predominantly forage and crop agronomy, and also agricultural policy.

Dereck is the Agronomy Manager for Brownrigg Agriculture in Hawkes Bay, overseeing squash, maize, onion, barley, hemp and forage crop programmes.  He manages the R&D programme at Brownrigg Agriculture, and has previous experience in R&D and plant breeding while working for Agricom, a forage seed business then owned by PGGWrightson.

Dereck represents the New Zealand Buttercup Squash Council on the VR&I Board, sits on the local primary school Board of Trustees and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) majoring in farm management.

Dr Stuart Davis, Vegetables NZ

Dr Stuart Davis is a former Director of Vegetables NZ and former Chair of the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board.  He has had a long involvement in vegetable industry research programmes particularly relating to integrated pest and disease management.  Stuart is currently General Manager at Sutherland Produce, a grower/packer of vegetables based in Bombay, South Auckland.  Prior to that, he spent 14 years in operations and technical roles on the executive team at LeaderBrand Produce in Gisborne.  He started his career with 16 years at various locations in the Wattie’s group ultimately as Crop Procurement Manager responsible for crop procurement and research across Australia and NZ.

Dr Sonia Whiteman, Zespri International

Dr Sonia Whiteman is the Global Trials & Data Insights Manager in the Zespri Global Extension team. Sonia is extremely passionate about the value that well executed and implemented science can add and has spent the last 25 years working in research management and extension roles across the primary sector. Sonia’s past governance roles include membership of Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Food Safety Research Centre and NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science. Sonia has a Bachelor of Horticultural Science with honours and a PhD in plant pathology. Sonia has a strong emphasis on supporting and developing the people around her, particularly young woman, as she believes “the greatest success we’ll know is helping others succeed and grow”.

Kevin Wilcox, Onions NZ

Kevin Wilcox is the Managing Director of A S Wilcox and Sons Ltd.  A S Wilcox and Sons Ltd is a family run vegetable growing business located in Pukekohe employing 200 permanent staff. Kevin has held the position of Managing Director for 19 years with the responsibility of delivering the business plan and business performance.

Kevin is currently on the Board of A.S. Wilcox and Sons Ltd, Onions New Zealand (Deputy Chair) and Counties Manukau Rugby.  Kevin has also served on the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (14 years), Potatoes New Zealand Board (14 years), and Produce Marketing Association (PMA) (inaugural director).

Kevin believes strongly in the value of individual responsibility and accountability and seeks out opportunities to work collaboratively with others in everything he does.

Andrew Hutchinson, Tomatoes NZ

I grew up in the Bay of Plenty surrounded by Kiwifruit orchards which always attracted me as a possible career opportunity. I studied Horticulture at Massey University and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Hort. During my studies I worked part time for Sunchaser Avocado on Motiti Island spending most summers living on the island. Since graduating I have worked for a number of horticultural operations including, Aongatete cool stores as Production supervisor/Technical support, AS Wilcox as pack house supervisor and Technical support, and my current position at T&G Fresh as the Technical manager for the Glasshouse Tomato division.

Edwin Massey, New Zealand Winegrowers

In September 2019, Ed took the role of General Manager Sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW). His team is responsible for the implementation of the wine industry Environment Strategy to protect and enhance our industry’s reputation as a world leader in sustainable production. He joined NZW in January 2016 as Biosecurity & Emergency Response Manager where he played a key role in the development and implementation of the wine industry biosecurity strategy. Prior to that, Ed worked at MPI between 2005 and 2015, first in fisheries management and from 2010 in biosecurity response. He completed a PhD in Geography from Auckland University where he developed a passion for sustainable resource management. Ed is originally from Auckland but currently resides in Blenheim.

Programme Management

Dr Stephen Ogden – Programme Manager

Stephen is responsible for ensuring the work programme for ‘A Lighter Touch’ delivers positive outcomes for the horticulture sector. He has a sound understanding of the sector and the technical expertise that ensures the programme will succeed. Stephen has been involved in the primary sector for his entire career and is Managing Director of Market Access Solutionz which undertakes work that supports plant health research, market access, crop protection, food safety and biosecurity for various groups in the horticulture industry. Stephen holds a PhD in Zoology, has been a FAO Visiting Scientist, and held various roles during his 14 years at MPI.

Jeff Smith – Agroecological Technical Lead

Jeff has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Horticulture Management from Lincoln University, and has worked in diverse roles including finance, orchard management, technical extension for crop protection supply companies, and since 2007 with Bayer CropScience as their Regional Sales Manager for Lower North Island/Upper South Island.  In this role Jeff has had extensive experience in technology transfer, field trials, project management, and has an excellent understanding of crop protection.  Jeff says “I believe there is a strong desire, not only within the grower community, but from all participants in the food production industry, to meet both domestic and global market demands of food safety, provenance and sustainability. Agroecology addresses these demands from all angles”.

Paul Munro – Transition Technical Lead

As the former owner of Peracto New Zealand, Paul has expertise in residue trials, efficacy studies, crop tolerance testing, and data assessment. Paul has over 30 years’ experience in providing independent, confidential contract research and development services to crop protection companies, growers and horticultural sector organisations.  More recently Paul has been working through his consultancy company, as well as advising grower organisations such as Onions New Zealand and the Vegetables Research and Innovation Board.