The Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association Board is made up of eight members of the Tourism Industry.
Neil Barber – Chairman – Owner, The Art Deco Masonic Hotel
“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.”
Hamish Prins – Prinsys Tours
“I am married to Di and we have 2 daughters. We have lived in Hawke’s Bay all our lives. We have operated our own business for the past 36 years, the past 16 have been in tourism establishing and developing Prinsys Tours. Being involved in the ownership and operations of a small dry stock farm , a Tourism business, an Organic apple orchard and a Hair Salon gives me a broad knowledge and experience of the diversity within Hawke’s Bay. I also have 9 years of governance experience as a Board of trustees member of Pukehou School whilst we lived in that community and our daughters attended the school. Prinsys Tours has been a member and supported Hawke’s Bay Tourism for the past 16 years. We have seen many changes over this period during good and tough times. It is important that we foster and support the current growth that makes our region competitive and sustainable on the global stage. Hawke’s Bay has so much to offer to the people who live and work here, and to all our domestic and international visitors that visit our wonderful region. However we all know globally there are many of these wonderful regions therefore we need to be mindful and strategic in our regional development and growth. I am passionate about our region and what we offer and am thrilled to be a part of the leadership and governance moving forward.”
Megan Harris – Owner, In-House Marketing – Deputy Chair
I am passionate about Hawke’s Bay as a place to live, to work, and as a fabulous visitor destination. I am committed to seeing us all work together for the greater good of the whole region’s economy and for your business.”
Michael Henley – CEO, Aotearoa Fine Wines & Chairman, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers
Michael is now a Director of Aotearoa Fine Wines of New Zealand. Previously, Mike was CEO of Trinity Hill. He currently serves as the Chairman for Hawke’s Bay Wine Growers. He is also a member of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Marketing committee. Prior to his current role he was with Craggy Range Winery for close to 10 years where he held a number of roles including National Sales Manager, European Market Director based in London and finally the Global Marketing Manager based at the winery in Hawke’s Bay.
Diane Ross – Owner, Cottages on St Andrews & The Lodge on St Georges
“John & I moved to Havelock North in 2010 and purchased Cottages On St Andrews. During our four years in the Bay we have transformed the business from a “lifestyle property” to a very successful 5 star accommodator that continually attracts return and word of mouth guests. These include local, domestic and international – and the rapidly growing Asian Market. I am not tertiary qualified, I have learnt by hands on experience, a can do attitude and transferable business skills and attributes.”
Louise Stobart – Owner, Birdwoods Gallery and Sweet Shop
“My husband, Bruce and I moved from Zimbabwe in 2004 and have since established Birdwoods as a reputable visitor destination just outside of Havelock North. This year we celebrate ten years of Birdwoods New Zealand having achieved it through hard work, dogged determination and the support of a great team of people and the fact we live in just the right place! We were delighted to have won the Westpac Business Award for Tourism and a finalist in the inaugural HB Tourism awards in 2012.”
Rebecca Tacon – Planit Events
“I am born and bred in Hawkes Bay and after travelling and living abroad returned home to Hawkes Bay. I am married and have two small boys who certainly keep me on my toes. I own an event management company called Planit Events and also run a hospitality temping agency called Planit Staff. I have a genuine love for the hospitality and event industry and have been involved in both these industries in Hawkes for about 15 years. I have a genuine passion for Hawkes Bay and love being involved in the Tourism Industry here.”
Charles Ropotini – Strategic Maori Advisor, Napier City Council
Charles is a local boy of Ngāti Kahungunu descent from Pakipaki. Charles has returned to Hawke’s Bay from Wellington to take up a role as the Strategic Māori Advisor for Napier City Council and advises across MTG Hawke’s Bay and the National Aquarium. Charles has a career in banking and for 10 years was the Māori Advisor for Kiwibank and NZ Post, and towards the end of that time lead the development of NZ Posts Heritage Brand Framework and World War One commemorations. At home, Charles represents his marae and hapū on various committees and is a member of the Ngāti Kahungunu Rūnanga Arts and Culture Board where his passion for Māori arts and heritage can come to the fore. Charles sees the tourism industry as a mechanism to uplift knowledge of our history through the telling of local Māori stories and genealogies. When spare time allows it, Charles enjoys flexing his classically trained voice and spending precious time with his wife and two children.