The Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board governs the direction of Hawke’s Bay Tourism and is made up of members of local councils and members of the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association.

The Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board is made up of:

• One Hawke’s Bay Regional Council appointed representative
HBRC have appointed Councillor David Pipe

• The Chair of Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association;
Neil Barber (Owner – Art Deco Masonic Hotel)

• A board member of Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association:
Michele Cole (General Manager – The Crown Hotel)

• Plus two other directors appointed by the HBTIA Board:
George Hickton – Chairman (former CEO Tourism NZ);
Dave Simmons (former Les Mills International and Chair of Tourmasters South Pacific)

See their bios below…

George Hickton – Chairman, Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board

George HicktonAs the former Chief Executive of the New Zealand Tourism Board, George has extensive experience within the tourism sector. During his time at Tourism New Zealand George repositioned the organisation as Tourism New Zealand and launched the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign. During this time tourism growth to New Zealand increased by 60% and Tourism became New Zealand’s largest export industry.

Michele Cole – General Manager, The Crown Hotel

Michele Cole

“With over 24 years in the travel and tourism sectors, in both hotel and airline industry, I am driven, passionate and motivated to make a change and a difference.

I have been operating the Crown Hotel for the past 6 years and have recently made a long term commitment to Hawkes Bay.  I am also a Director on the Hawkes Bay Tourism Ltd Board and the Central Park Regional Chairperson for the Tourism Industry Association NZ.”

Dave Pipe – Councilor, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Dave Pipe

Dave has come from a background of over 20 years in radio and television as an award winning presenter, he served 15 years on the Napier City Council, is the Chair and founder of the Napier Community House Trust, and was a founding Trustee of the Pukemokimoki Marae Trust.  Currently he’s the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council  representative on the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board and the Hawke’s Bay Sports Council.  Married with three adult sons and two grandchildren, he has worked for VSA in Tonga, has traveled extensively, spent a short time teaching in China, and is also a marriage and funeral celebrant.   

Neil Barber – Owner, The Art Deco Masonic Hotel

Neil“I now have thirteen years experience in tourism and hospitality.  This commenced when I first moved to Hawke’s Bay at the start of 2002.  My first project was the restoration of historic Greenhill and the creation of the luxury accommodation business Greenhill Lodge which continues to operate today.  More recently my partner and I took over the operation and management of the Masonic Hotel now rebranded as Art Deco Masonic Hotel. We have embarked on a major restoration programme and successfully turned this business around.  We are proud winners of the Hospitality Association of NZ “Best New or Redeveloped Hotel 2014”.  Emporium Eatery and Bar was launched in 2012 and in our first year of operation took out the coveted “Outstanding Establishment” at the Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards and repeated this again in 2014 and 2015.

I have a passion for tourism in Hawke’s Bay and practical experience to back it up.  I am a proud Napier heritage building owner and have demonstrated my dedication.  My professional background is in Accounting and Finance which equips me with a useful skill set.”

Dave Simmons

dave-simmonsAs Chief Operating Officer of New Business Development at Tourism Holdings Limited, Dave is responsible for the development and implementation of business growth strategies across the group.  Prior to his role at THL, Dave was  Vice President of Global Markets for Les Mills International, leading all functions including people management, sales, marketing, customer service delivery , finance and long-term strategy, throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific.  Other roles have included General Manager of Online and Leisure for Air New Zealand, CEO of Global Travel Market, based in the United Kingdom and Chief Commercial Officer of all business class airline Silverjet.  In addition to his Directors role for Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Dave is also Chairman of Discover New Zealand.