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Venture Taranaki Chief Executive To Depart Once Replacement Found

The Chief Executive of Venture Taranaki, Justine Gilliland, has announced she is to depart the organisation in 2022 once a successor for the role is found.

Justine who has successfully led the organisation since March 2019, originally started with the agency as the GM Transitional Economy in September 2018 where she conceptualised and initiated the creation of the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap; establishing what is regarded nationally and internationally as a leading co-designed roadmap to a low-emissions future.

During her tenure, the agency stood up the National New Energy Development Centre - now known as Ara Ake; delivered the Taranaki Story, a major resource for Taranaki enterprises that tells the positive story of the region and its exciting future; developed and defined alongside the community the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap and pathway plans to a low emissions future; conceptualised and initiated PowerUp to support and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; successfully secured funding for Branching Out, an innovative food and fibre diversification programme; and designed and stood up the regional covid-19 response fund, along with countless other regional initiatives.

Board chair Joanna Breare said Justine should be immensely proud of what she has accomplished and praised her for her leadership and vision during an unprecedented period of uncertainty and challenge.

"Justine’s vision for a thriving Taranaki started with building a thriving Venture Taranaki and I would like to thank her on behalf of the board and her colleagues for her work and dedication over the last few years as she steered the organisation, as well as the region in many ways, through some challenging waters," says Joanna.

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Justine’s resignation comes as she focuses on her governance career, adding to her existing director roles at Manaaki Whenua, AGMARDT (The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust), and EDNZ.

Justine left Wellington in 2018, returning home to Taranaki with her young family, and she is looking forward to having more time with them.

"With this new direction, comes the opportunity for another to pick up the reigns at Te Puna Umanga and take the organisation through its next phase, as I look to focus on my governance career and spend more time with my family," said Justine.

Justine leaves the agency in good stead and future-ready, with a clear impact strategy developed in 2019, the region’s vision and direction developed and implementation in full swing, and with increased revenue for the trust, largely due to additional central government funding secured for strategic initiatives.

A highly talented team remains, committed to advancing the region in concert with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, having now settled into their modern, open-plan premises on the corner of King and Dawson.

"It has been a privilege to serve in this role, and to serve this community during what can only be described as an unprecedented time."

"I would like to thank and acknowledge the VT board, and our chair Joanna Breare along with our immediate past chair Jamie Tuuta, and former Chair Robin Brockie, for their support and guidance, as well as my team at Venture Taranaki who have done an outstanding job at rising to some huge challenges in recent times. We have come together to achieve some amazing impacts over the past few years, and I know this momentum and passion will continue into the future," said Justine.

Justine will remain with Venture Taranaki/Te Puna Umanga until a new Chief Executive starts, expected to occur in the first part of 2022.

Supporting Information:

Justine Gilliland

Justine Gilliland joined Venture Taranaki in 2018 in the role of General Manager, Transitional Economy, before moving into the Chief Executive position in March 2019.

Prior to joining Venture Taranaki, Justine held the position of Deputy Director-General Sector Partnerships and Programmes at the Ministry for Primary Industries, where she led multi-million-dollar investment programmes spanning sustainable growth, Māori partnerships, and regional development, and the establishment of Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand) and the 1 billion trees programme.

Justine also previously led MPI’s research and development and other external grants and funds programmes, and ran the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission of Inquiry. She has held numerous other public sector leadership roles across strategy, communications, policy, operations, and innovation investment functions, and has been admitted as barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

In September 2018, Justine initiated the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap process, the first stage in the region’s response to the transition to a low-emissions economy. The Roadmap was developed through an innovative co-creation process that engaged more than 2,000 Taranaki individuals and enterprises and has set the vision for the region to aspire to.

Justine grew up in Taranaki, attending Sacred Heart Girls’ College before completing arts and law degrees at the University of Otago.

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