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Business roles link Massey with key regions

Monday, February 18, 2013
Business roles link Massey with key regions

Massey University has appointed new business development managers in Taranaki and Hawke's Bay in partnership with Venture Taranaki and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The jointly funded roles are focused on promoting and developing opportunities for business and research in the two regions – both of which have long associations with Massey – by harnessing the expertise of Massey and its staff and students to promote sustainable economic growth.

John Bell, a Haumoana orchardist with an academic background in accounting, economics and marketing, will be the first Hawke's Bay business development manager, based in the regional council's offices in Napier but reporting to Massey Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Operations) and University Registrar Stuart Morriss.

Eve Kawana-Brown, a New Plymouth professional education specialist with qualifications in teaching, education, business and management will be the Taranaki business development manager, working from Venture Taranaki's offices but also reporting to Mr Morriss.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says relationships the university has with Taranaki and Hawke's Bay are longstanding and reinforcing those connections through the partnerships with local organisations is a logical step.

"Hawke's Bay is a vital food production hub, both regions are leading agriculture regions and Taranaki has the added dimension of being the major source of New Zealand oil and gas. Massey University is at the leading edge of research and teaching in agriculture, food technology, product design and business innovation. Both regions are also home to many of our students and graduates and some of our staff.

Mr Bell spent 26 years teaching business skills, including marketing, branding and entrepreneurship, at the University of Otago. He also applied those skills, working as a business consultant from 1985-2010 and owning and managing his own business in Dunedin from 1993-2004. John is a highly experience business management specialist with a strong university connections. For the past five years he and wife Diana have been developing a pipfruit orchard into a niche producer of heritage apples.

He says he is looking forward to what will be an exciting challenge. "It's marrying up my two main professional interests – regional economic development and helping business entrepreneurs."

Council General Manager Operations Liz Lambert says the new position builds on the strong Massey/HBRC relationship and aligns many of the needs of the two organisations that last year signed a memorandum of understanding formalising a growing relationship.

Ms Kawana-Brown (Ngai Tahu) has broad experience in leadership roles in the tertiary sector and industry. She was raised in New Plymouth, completed two degrees and two diplomas at Massey University in Palmerston North and has worked in Auckland, Wellington and Taranaki for various professional education organisations and, for the past two years, with the oil and gas industry. "The role I will be playing is to broker relationships between the regions and Massey," she says. "Taranaki has a very can-do philosophy. It's been largely home grown but they've become world players in the technical industries based around energy, engineering and farming. It's a case of opening up the huge range of expertise Massey has to offer, and the potential is enormous."

Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle welcomes the joint venture with Massey, and says the partnership has the support of the region's business community, which values the strengthened innovation, creativity and research capability that the university will bring to the region’s businesses.

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