New Zealand Puponga, Tasman © DoraDalton/iStock

Stories in New Zealand

Our People

New Zealand Advisory Board

Helen Anderson

Helen is an experienced director and chair. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD), and has been a member of the National Council of the IoD and Chair of Wellington branch of the IoD. She mentors many emerging directors, especially those from diverse backgrounds.  

Helen has governance experience that includes privately held companies, industry associations, not-for-profits and state sector bodies. She chairs or is a member of government advisory boards that provide advice and challenge to public sector Chief Executives.  

Helen was Chief Executive of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) for six years and before that, she was Chief Scientific Adviser. These roles included managing a US$750m budget for government research funding and providing policy advice on all science-related matters to government. She has a PhD in seismology from Cambridge University and has contributed to many reviews of complex issues and organizations.  

Helen is a strong advocate for intellectually disabled people and has provided leadership in a family/whanau group that supports young disabled people to live their best lives.  

Helen has been honored as a Companion of The Queen’s Service Order, and she is a Companion of the Royal Society of NZ. She is a Fulbright alumna, Patron of the New Zealand International Science Festival and Patron of Wing 297 of NZ Police recruits.   


Jo Breese

Jo’s career has focused on conservation of natural and cultural heritage working both in New Zealand and Asia Pacific.

Jo is self-employed undertaking governance roles, coaching and strategic advice. Jo’s experience includes working in New Zealand, the South Pacific and with UNDP programs in Vietnam and Malaysia. Jo is a crown appointed member of the inaugural Te Urewera Board and a board member of Zealandia. 

She has served for siz years a member of the NZ Conservation Authority. Prior to this, Jo was on the board of Antarctica New Zealand (New Zealand’s Antarctic Research Institute). She was Chief Executive of WWF-NZ between 1999 and 2006. While in this role she held a variety of leadership positions within the WWF network: Chair of Oceania and the Asia Pacific region, member of WWF’s global strategy committee, and global task force charged with the redesign of WWF’s decision-making processes. From 1993-1999 she was the Chief Executive of Booksellers NZ holding industry governance positions.

She has held a number of volunteer governance roles. Currently co-Chairing the Mingma Norbu Sherpa Memorial Scholarship Fund, bringing post graduate conservation students from Nepal to study at Lincoln University.

Jo has a good understanding of mātauranga Māori.


George Burrill

George Burrill founded an international professional services consulting firm, ARD Inc., and served as Chief Executive Officer from the firm’s inception in 1977 until 2007 when it was acquired by TetraTech. ARD was one of the premiere international economic development consulting firms in the USA with clients ranging from the World Bank to the US Department of State and foreign governments. Focused mainly on the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the transitional states of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe the firm developed a project portfolio in the areas of agriculture, environment and natural resources, water supply, renewable energy, financial analysis, and building democracies and the institutions and civic societies that sustain them. 

George was also the founder and Chair (1995-2003) of the Business Alliance for International Economic Development of Washington, DC. He has served on the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, a nationwide coalition of businesses, non-governmental organizations and community leaders that advocate for a strong U.S. international affairs program. He has held a variety of advisory roles with different levels of government in the USA.

George holds a PhD in Political Science and Policy Studies and has been a university faculty member and Academic Dean. He currently serves on the boards of The Asia Pacific Council of The Nature Conservancy, the board of The Nature Conservancy in Vermont, USA, and of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, USA.  He is the Honorary Consul for New Zealand in Vermont.

George splits his time between his home in Northland and in Vermont, USA.


Donna Flavell

Donna Flavell is the Chief Executive of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato Inc, the iwi organization for Waikato-Tainui.

She holds key responsibilities for providing leadership to all employees of Waikato-Tainui and works closely with the Chair of Te Arataura and the Senior Leadership Team on a wide range of complex issues that confront Waikato-Tainui.

Donna has worked in various roles for Waikato-Tainui since the raupatu settlement, as a graduate through to leading the team that provided technical and administrative support to the co-negotiators for the Waikato River Claim, and subsequent settlement with the Crown. To see the realisation of the Waikato River Settlement in 2008 (and subsequent review in 2009) was a personal achievement.

Donna spent some time on secondment between 2013-2016 at Te Ruunanga o Ngaai Tahu as the General Manager, Strategy and Influence where she held key responsibilities for providing regular advice on external relationships, strategy development, claims protection and engagement with central government across a range of portfolios.

Donna is also the Chair of the Freshwater Iwi Advisors Group, who collectively are currently engaging with the New Zealand Government on freshwater management policy and law reform. The key objective is addressing iwi rights and interests in freshwater, with a focus on developing a range of mechanisms for iwi to access water for economic development. Donna holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Waikato. She has attended executive education programmes at Banff University and The Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Tim MacAvoy

Tim is a Private Wealth consultant at Kensington Swan, and a former partner of that firm for 36 years. He has a wide range of experience in trust law and general commercial law. 

Tim's practice covers all aspects of trust law including the establishment of trusts for wealth and estate planning purposes, the establishment and administration of foreign trusts for high-net-worth off-shore residents, and charitable trusts. He is experienced in estate planning, wills and estate administration.

Tim is a director of various private companies. He is involved in various pro bono activities including as a trustee of the Auckland Health Foundation and as a trustee of the Kiwi Trust established to ensure kiwi survive in their natural habitat. A former Chairman and founding board member of the Auckland Theatre Company, Tim has been a supporter of its activities on a pro bono basis for over 24 years. He is now a trustee of The Theatre Foundation.

Tim’s long experience in the law, his commitment to his clients along with his ability to relate easily to people, have ensured he has become the trusted adviser to many clients, some for over 40 years.


Sir Christopher Mace

Sir Chris is an Auckland based company director with experience in the New Zealand and Australian business environments. Sir Chris is a past Chairman of the Crown Research Institutes ESR (forensic and environmental science), NIWA (climate, freshwater and ocean science) and the New Zealand Antarctic research unit, Antarctica New Zealand. He is a Commissioner for the Tertiary Education Commission. Sir Chris continues as a director and/or investor in a number of companies.

In 2014 he was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to Antarctica and the community and in 2016 was appointed as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science and education. Sir Chris was named Māori Business Leader of the Year in 2012 and was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2015.


Rob Morrison 

Mr. Morrison is currently Chairman of H.R.L. Morrison & Co., a specialist infrastructure manager. He is also Chairman of Pure Advantage, a New Zealand NGO focused on highlighting the opportunities arising from the global shift to low-carbon, more sustainable, green growth; a director of Antarctica New Zealand, a New Zealand government agency responsible for supporting New Zealand's world leading scientific and environmental protection activities in Antarctica; and a member of Asia Pacific Council, the regional advisory board of The Nature Conservancy.

He was appointed as an independent director of Kiwibank in 2009 and was Chairman until 2017. He retired as Chairman and CEO of Hong Kong based CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, a leading brokerage, investment banking and private-equity group, in 2009. Prior to joining CLSA, Mr. Morrison was an Executive Vice President and Head of Equities at Bankers Trust Australia, based in Sydney, and before that, CEO of Bankers Trust New Zealand.

He was formerly a trustee of Predator Free New Zealand and a council member of the Copenhagen Climate Council.


Lou Sanson

Lou holds a BSc (Hons) in Forestry Science from the University of Canterbury and qualifications from NZIM and the Harvard Business School. He recently retired from the role of Director-General of the Department of Conservation (DoC), a post he held since 2013. 

He previously held environmental and leadership roles with the NZ Forest Service, DSIR Antarctic Division, NZ Wildlife Service and the Southland Conservancy of DoC.

From 2002 until 2013, he was Chief Executive of Antarctica NZ, where he was responsible for NZ’s activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.