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Chief Executive Appointed To Auckland’s New Economic And Cultural Agency

The creation of Auckland's new economic and cultural agency has accelerated, with the appointment today of Nick Hill as Chief Executive for the entity that will result from the merger of Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). Nick Hill is the current Chief Executive of ATEED.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says Hill’s appointment is an important step in the merger of the two council-controlled organisations (CCOs), which was a key recommendation of the independent review of the CCOs carried out earlier this year. The merger is forecast to save ratepayers up to $67 million over the next decade through economies of scale and increased efficiencies.

“Nick Hill brings considerable senior management experience across the private and public sector, including most recently as Chief Executive of ATEED,” Goff said.

“I welcome Nick’s appointment to lead the new organisation that will be formed from this merger, which will play a key role in Auckland’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis as well as our ongoing project to make Auckland a premier international destination and the preferred city in which to live, work, visit and invest.

“I also want to thank Chris Brooks for his hard work and leadership as chief executive of RFA. Chris and his team have delivered world-class experiences for Auckland, substantially increasing our region’s cultural and events calendar and attracting more than 24 million visitors to Auckland since its inception. Auckland is a culturally richer and more vibrant place as a result of Chris’s and RFA’s work.”

Mark Franklin, who chairs the board of the merged entity, says: "The decision to bring RFA and ATEED together to establish a single organisation to deliver both cultural activities and economic development will paint a more compelling picture of the Auckland region in the eyes of the world."

“The Board believes Nick is the ideal person to drive the organisation’s strategic vision and help the newly merged entity address the challenges Auckland faces and pursue the opportunities to lead our region towards a strong future."

Nick Hill says he’s looking forward to delivering for Tāmaki Makaurau, particularly as the region recovers from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Auckland’s success will turn on its ability to transition from crisis-recovery mode to making meaningful decisions for cultural and economic development that are relevant to our communities, our areas of growth and the changing world around us,” he says.

"The breadth and depth of our new organisation will be a catalyst for Auckland’s recovery, while also reanimating our region as a world-class place to live, work and play. The time for this to happen is now."

“Over the next year, we will make bold decisions to develop a coordinated, region-wide programme of business investment, support and innovation, and cultural vibrancy. We will tell the Auckland region’s story to the world – maximising cultural, social and economic benefits for all.”

Nick Hill will fill the role of ‘Chief Executive Designate’ until the new organisation officially commences on 1 December, at which time his title will change to Chief Executive. A new name for the merged entity is expected to be confirmed at the end of this month.


Notes for editors


  • RFA has substantially increased Auckland’s programme of cultural events since its inception; becoming New Zealand’s largest provider in the cultural heritage, performing arts and sports event sectors, and its largest conventions business.
  • Attracting over 24.3 million visitors since its inception in 2010, RFA has grown its events portfolio by more than 300%, enlivening the city and enhancing Auckland’s reputation as a world-class destination for major international touring concerts, blockbuster musicals, sport, exhibitions and festivals. RFA’s programming has attracted more than 800,000 visitors to Auckland over the past 10 years, contributing over $237 million in visitor spend.
  • Generating over $422 million in commercial revenues since its inception, 60% of RFA‘s operating costs has been funded through its commercial activities, providing Council a 250% return in programming value.
  • Over $370 million in has been invested in cultural infrastructure such as the award-winning new Auckland Art Gallery building, refurbishing Aotea Centre, and embarking on the $150 million world-class Future Zoo investment programme.


  • As the region’s economic development agency with a focus on jobs and prosperity for the region, since 2010 ATEED has facilitated the arrival or expansion of more than 40 multi-national or New Zealand companies, bringing in hundreds of millions of new capital; and was instrumental in developing world-class Kumeu Film Studios, and played a crucial role in attracting international productions including Amazon Studios’ series based on The Lord of the Rings to the region.
  • Annually ATEED works with thousands of SMEs, providing advice and support with a particular focus on support for Māori businesses. It delivers the Government’s Regional Business Partner Network programme in Auckland, since 2010 helping companies successfully apply for tens of millions in government R&D grants and NZTE capability vouchers.
  • Working with council, ATEED has delivered GridAKL – the thriving innovation precinct at Wynyard Quarter. With partners, ATEED has developed and delivered initiatives to address industry skill shortages and plays a strong role in supporting Auckland’s international education sector.
  • ATEED helped deliver Auckland’s successful hosting of Rugby World Cup 2011, which put the region on the map as a world-class major events city and has built on this with numerous global sporting and cultural events attracted and invested in on behalf of Council including V8 Supercars, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and World Masters Games 2017 (run by an ATEED subsidiary). ATEED has grown and delivered Auckland’s annual cultural festivals: Pasifika, Lantern, Diwali and Tāmaki Herenga Waka.
  • ATEED has delivered international and domestic campaigns and released Destination AKL 2025 strategy in partnership with industry in 2018 to guide the sector’s long-term development. ATEED’s Auckland Convention Bureau works with partners on business events, attracting many international events to the region, delivering high-value visitation and flow-on economic opportunities.

About Nick Hill:

  • Nick brings into this role a wealth of experience, both from his previous role at ATEED and from his time as an Executive Director of specialist New Zealand public policy and management consulting firm MartinJenkins.
  • Nick also brings considerable senior management experience across the private and public sector.
  • This includes the Chief Executive role with the Commerce Commission and leading the formation of Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC, now known as Sport New Zealand).
  • Nick also has significant experience in the energy sector, having spent 10 years with ECNZ and Fletcher Energy in New Zealand, and with Santos in Australia. His depth of experience and skills means he is perfectly placed to lead you into a new era.
  • Nick Hill’s remuneration for his new role has not yet been set, and he will continue under the same terms until the new organisation is formed on 1 December 2020. His remuneration will be announced when it is agreed.

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