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Here at Te Waka we are a passionate team of business professionals, we love Waikato and thrive on our role in driving the Waikato economy forward.


  • Te Waka Team

    • Fiona Carrick

      Chief Executive

      Fiona Carrick

      Chief Executive

      Fiona is a senior strategic leader and brings broad and deep commercial and governance skills and experience to her role at Te Waka. Most recently she held senior commercial, partnership and risk management roles in the primary sector.

      Fiona’s broad commercial experience spans local and global businesses. Her emphasis on continual and genuine stakeholder engagement shapes the effective partnerships she forges and leads within organisations and across industry.

      Collaborative and energetic, Fiona, with her team, is focused on the transformation and growth that will advance economic development in the Waikato region. Based in Cambridge with her family, Fiona is connected with her community and well-placed to identify and take hold of the opportunities that will see the region thrive.

      Fiona holds a Master of Science (MSc) from the University of Otago and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Victoria University of Wellington. She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand and a Member of Te Nehenehenui Trust Group Investment Committee. She also serves on the boards of Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc, Stihl Shop, JerseyNZ, Maungaharuru Tangiutū Ltd, Kaiwaka JV, and the Home of Cycling Charitable Trust (Grassroots Velodrome).

    • Rosie Spragg

      General Manager Economic Development

      Rosie Spragg

      General Manager Economic Development

      Nō Hōrana, nō Ingarangi, nō Aotearoa hoki ahau

      He uri nō Ngāpuhi, heoi anō ko Ngāruawāhia tōku papa kāinga

      E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o Waikato-Tainui e noho nei ahau

      Ko Rosie Spragg tōku ingoa

      Mauri ora

      In her role as General Manager Economic Development at Te Waka, Rosie is responsible for the strategy, planning and implementation of initiatives to develop the Waikato economy with a focus on the region's wealth and employment creating sectors.

      Rosie has diverse experience spanning the private and public sector, working in analytical, strategic, commercial and operational leadership roles. Having founded her career in the telecommunications industry, Rosie joined Te Waka from Callaghan Innovation where she was responsible for leading key strategic change initiatives.

      Rosie brings energy and focus, with a growth mindset, action orientation and collaborative working style. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato, majoring in Economics (Te Reo Māori supporting).

    • Sophie Walton

      Marketing and Communications Manager

      Sophie Walton

      Marketing and Communications Manager

      Sophie is the Marketing and Communications Manager, bringing years of agency experience with her.

      She has a passion for compelling storytelling and has years of experience doing so with a wide range of businesses and organisations. Prior to her current role, Sophie owned a successful social media marketing business, showcasing her expertise in driving digital engagement and brand growth.

      Based in Cambridge, Sophie is dedicated not only to her professional endeavors but also to spending time with her dog.

    • Kirti Karishma

      Commercial Analyst

      Kirti Karishma

      Commercial Analyst

      Kirti is the Commercial Analyst at Te Waka, bringing almost 6 years of statistical analysis experience into her role.

      She has a passion for evaluating business operations and providing insights to guide business strategies. Prior to her current role, Kirti worked in a distribution center looking after the logistical and freight movement across NZ. She is also a certified MPI accredited officer. 

    • Julie Dillon

      Executive Assistant

      Julie Dillon

      Executive Assistant

      Julie has more than 20 years as an experienced Executive Assistant and Board Secretary and has worked in many sectors including Local Government, High Performance Sport, Tertiary Education, Mental Health and Construction. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the roles and is efficient and professional in all she accomplishes.

      Originally from the UK, Julie is based in Cambridge with her extended family and enjoys being involved in the community activities.

  • Te Waka Board

    • Hamish Bell

      Independent Chair

      Hamish Bell

      Independent Chair

      Hamish is an experienced independent director and chair with a wide range of governance experience across a range of industries. 

      Over the last 30 plus years he has worked in New Zealand and across Asia in banking, corporate finance, private equity, investor relations, public relations and stockbroking.  A former Partner at PwC and executive at ANZ National Bank, Hamish currently serves on the boards of a range of companies including Ritchies Transport, Te Waka, Livingstone Building, Boffa Miskell, Eastland Group, and Millennium Corporation. 

      He has previously served as Chair on the boards of GJ Gardner Franklin, Greenstone Group and Pedersen Group, and as a Director on the Boards of EastCare, Southern Hospitality, Sutherland Produce, Martin Aircraft and Te Arawa Group Holdings. 

      With a passion for privately owned businesses and for the Waikato region, Hamish was appointed as Chair in March 2020.

    • Les Roa

      Independent Director

      Les Roa

      Independent Director

      Ko Pirongia te maunga. Ko Waipa te awa. Ko Tainui te waka. Ko Ngaati Maniapoto te iwi. Ko Ngaati Apakura te hapuu. Ko Puurekireki te marae. Ko Les Roa ahau. 

      Les is a co-founder and director of Longveld, specialising in stainless steel fabrication for the F&B sector. Born and bred in the Waikato, Les is committed to using his experience in growing a successful business to help the Waikato rohe grow its already powerful engine.

      His passion is to help the Waikato community prosper financially as well as spiritually - and through this assist young people to succeed.

      Les sees now as the Waikato’s time to become an economic powerhouse in New Zealand, and wants to be a part of that.  He has served on the board of Te Waka from its inception

    • Craig Barrett

      Independent Director

      Craig Barrett

      Independent Director

      Craig is the Tainui Waka nominee to the Te Waka Board, and is a Partner at Bakertilly Staples Rodway Chartered Accountants in Hamilton.

      He works with commercial entities and Māori organisatons and provides strategic and commercial advice on all aspects of their business. He is passionate about innovation and value add to improve economic performance. 

      Craig has a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and is a chartered accountant.

      He is also a member of the Institute of Directors. Craig also holds a number of trustee and directorships.

    • Leesah Murray

      Independent Director

      Leesah Murray

      Independent Director

      Leesah Murray is the Chief Executive of the Independent Māori Statutory Board in Auckland. Leesah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, having held various senior leadership and governance roles.

      Her expertise includes a comprehensive understanding of Te Ao Māori principles, which underpins her decision-making. She also spent many years working in the public tertiary sector and time at an iwi commercial entity. 

      Leesah holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) with Distinction, a Bachelor of Environmental Management and is a member of the Institute of Directors. She also has several trustee roles and private directorships.

    • Cameron Bagrie

      Independent Director

      Cameron Bagrie

      Independent Director

      Cameron is the former Chief Economist of ANZ, and now runs his own boutique economic consultancy alongside other business activities.  He wants to see all of New Zealand and his own children prosper both socially and economically. 

      He sees the golden triangle and the Waikato as a critical part of New Zealand’s future and notes that well-being needs a strong economic base – the focus of Te Waka – and wishes to see awareness of this raised.
    • Dr Andrew West

      Independent Director

      Dr Andrew West

      Independent Director

      Andrew lives in Cambridge and is a scientist specialised in the commercialisation of New Zealand technology. Previously CEO of both GNS Science and AgResearch, and Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, he co-founded high-tech venture capital fund Matū and is co-founder of Synthase Biotech as well as Chairman of Ligar.  

      He is Chair of WINTEC’s founder incubator, SODA, and was previously a director of Waikato Innovation Park.  Andy is Chair of Māori high-tech investment fund, Te Whāi Ao Group Ltd and Chief Technology Officer of the largest Māori orcharding collective, Te Awanui Huka Pak.

      He is passionate to see the Waikato elevate its economy to one that is higher value, higher-waged and more productive, yet with a considerably smaller ecological impression. 

    • Blair Bowcott

      Local Government Advisor

      Blair Bowcott

      Local Government Advisor

      Blair lives, works and plays in the  Waikato!  A  senior executive with over 22 years’ experience at Hamilton City Council, including the last 15 years in General Manager, Acting Chief Executive and Executive Director roles.  I’ve been an advisor to the Te Waka Board on behalf of the Waikato Mayoral Forum since 2018.  

      Accustomed to rapidly changing environments, the demands of a high-growth region and a Council focused on delivering tangible outcomes, Blair has experience across all parts of Council.

      He has practical experience in the application of spatial planning, including the critical alignment of funding, infrastructure and land use considerations as well as alignment of local and central government initiatives to improve the well-being of our community (including economic development).  

      He is a strong proponent of “boundaryless planning and thinking” which underpins and spatial planning, especially where multiple jurisdictions and delivery entities are involved in influencing and delivering outcomes.  

    • Kaumātua Tame Pokaia

      Advisory Board Member

      Kaumātua Tame Pokaia

      Advisory Board Member

      Tame Pokaia offers his wisdom and advice to Te Waka and the Board as our Kaumatua.  He is from Waikato’s Ngati Mahuta and Ngati Hikairo hapu from Kawhia.

      He grew up on Turangawaewae marae. He credits the marae as one of his special places of learning and has developed a deep understanding of culture, te reo Māori, and King movement. The experiences and memories gained have been invaluable in his life.