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 Fenton Wilson

  • Maori representative to the Board was appointed in 2016:
    Mike Mohi

• 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.”

Fenton Wilson – Councillor, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Fenton has represented the Wairoa constituency since 2009. Born in Waipukurau and educated in Frasertown, Wairoa and Hastings, Fenton has worked most of his life in the Wairoa district. He farms a 235ha sheep and beef property with his wife Sue and is Chairman of the Wairoa Community Development Trust. He is also a director for Hawke’s Bay Tourism, OSPRI NZ ltd and a trustee for Predator free NZ.

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.