Who we are

Tourism New Zealand is a crown entity governed by Board members who are appointed by the Minister of Tourism. Tourism New Zealand's leadership team is responsible for the organisation's business operations.

For contact details, please visit the Contact Us page.

Tourism New Zealand Board

Jamie Tuuta - Chair

Award winning Māori business leader, Jamie Tuuta chairs Te Ohu Kaimoana, the body set up to oversee Māori fisheries assets throughout New Zealand, conservation project Taranaki Mounga and Māori Television.

Jamie was the Māori Trustee and Chief Executive of Te Tumu Paeroa, an organisation responsible for managing nearly 100,000 hectares of land and more than $100m worth of assets and investments.

Jamie has held a range of governance positions in iwi development, agribusiness, fishing, investment, health, Māori development, tourism and education. He is currently a director of Moana New Zealand an export fishing company and Taranaki Whānui Ltd an iwi investment entity.

In 2015 Jamie received the Young Māori Business Leader Award at the Aotearoa NZ Māori Business Leaders Awards, and was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leadership Award in 2010.

Jamie was first appointed to the New Zealand Tourism Board on 7 March 2013 and was appointed Board Chair commencing 1 May 2019 for a term ending on 30 April 2022.

Roger Sharp - Deputy Chair

Roger has over 30 years’ experience in travel, technology and capital markets, and chairs global digital travel business, Webjet. 


Roger built and sold his first tech company in the 80’s. He became an aviation banker in the 90's, advising on flagship transactions including the privatisations of Air New Zealand and Qantas.


After working for one of the world’s largest financial institutions, he founded a technology investment banking firm in 2003. Since then he has invested in and chaired several stock exchange listed companies including ASX-listed online travel agent travel.com.au Limited, which was sold to Wotif.com in 2008. 


Roger was officially appointed to the board on 1 December 2018 and was appointed Deputy Chair on 1 May 2019 for a term ending 30 April 2022.

Colleen Neville

Colleen is currently the CEO of Te Arawa Group Holdings Limited, the commercial arm of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa Trust. Colleen has held this position for approximately four years and, prior to this appointment, was the CFO for four years.

Colleen (Ngati Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui) has 16 years experience as a Chartered Accountant in diverse sectors including tourism, forestry, agribusiness and health services. She also has extensive expertise in Māori post-settlement governance entities (PSGEs), Māori incorporations and Māori land trusts.

Colleen’s previous roles have included Finance Manager for NZMACI (Te Puia) and Business Advisory Services for professional accountancy and management firms.

Colleen has governance experience as a director of Scion (NZ Forest Research Institute Limited), Poutama Trust (business development services to Māori), Te Ohu Kaimoana (independent Audit and Risk member and Director of Portfolio Management Services), Te Kakano Whakatipu Ltd (Forestry), Te Arawa Agribusiness Ltd and Te Matai Pacific Iwi Collective (Kiwifruti).
Kauahi Ngapora

Kauahi is General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd and has 25 years of experience in the Māori tourism sector.

His governance experience includes directorships at Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Whale Watch Australia.

Mr Ngapora has also been Chair of Destination Kaikoura and is a member of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund panel.

Kauahi was awarded the Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award at the 2018 University of Auckland’s Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards.

Mike O'Donnell 

Mike "MOD" O'Donnell is Chief Commercial Officer of Work. He is also a director of Radio NZ, online global music company Serato, software company Raygun, online booking company Timely and IP Marketing Agency G2G Knowhow. He is also advisor to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited.

MOD is a weekly business columnist for Fairfax Media. He was previously the chairman of Positively Wellington Tourism and has managed several online travel businesses.

MOD was re-appointed to the New Zealand Tourism Board on 16 December 2016 for another three-year term ending 30 September 2021.


Jan Hunt

Jan is a director at Skyline Enterprises and Jumping New Zealand.

Previously she was a Board member of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and worked as a General Manager at Millbrook Resort, Sky City Hotel & Convention Centre, and Millennium Queenstown.

Jan was appointed to the New Zealand Tourism Board in June 2017 until June 2021.


John Thorburn

John is Chief Executive of InterCity Group and was previously the Chief Executive of Ngai Tahu Tourism. John is also Director of Intercity Group Australia Pty Limited.

He has held senior positions in a range of industries, including manufacturing, marketing and telecommunications.

John has also held previous board positions with the New Zealand Tourism Industry Aotearoa and the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

John was appointed to the New Zealand Tourism Board on August 2015 for a three-year term which has been extended until 30 September 2021.


Leah McDonald

Leah McDonald is Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Board Secretary.

Email Leah in the first instance to get in touch with any of Tourism New Zealand's Board members.




Executive Team

René de Monchy, Chief Executive

René de Monchy joined Tourism New Zealand in August 2015 bringing 20 years' global experience in consumer-led businesses including local and international marketing roles for Fonterra and Heineken and Asia Pacific Breweries in Singapore.

René was appointed Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand in April 2021, prior to this he was Tourism New Zealand's Interim Chief Executive for four months. Before this, René was Tourism New Zealand's Director Commercial. In this role René led a team across 15 offices in 14 countries responsible for identifying key markets and audiences to target for travel to New Zealand. René also led the development of Tourism New Zealand's Aviation Strategy to guide partnerships with international airlines including establishing Memorandum of Understandings with major airlines including Air New Zealand.

René is passionate about the tourism sector and active in tourism industry engagement, undertaking regular speaking engagements and panel discussions.

René is a member of the following boards and panels:

  • Tourism Industry Aotearoa
  • New Zealand Screen Production Grant Significant Economic Benefits Verification Panel
  • New Zealand Story Board
  • New Zealand China Council
  • Qualmark New Zealand Limited

Bjoern Spreitzer, General Manager Domestic and Business Events

Bjoern Spreitzer has been with Tourism New Zealand for the past 14 years, most recently as General Manager Domestic. Prior to this he was Global Manager Planning and Partnerships and General Manager Americas & Western Europe.

The General Manager Domestic and Business Events leads the Domestic team to coordinate the delivery of the organisation strategy through consumer and trade activities for New Zealand. This involves overseeing the insights-led development and implementation of targeted campaigns for the New Zealand domestic market and leveraging stakeholder relationships to ensure effective delivery of the organisation strategy to the New Zealand domestic market. They also lead the development and implementation of the organisation approach to Business Events to support the organisation’s strategic direction. 

Gregg Wafelbakker, General Manager International

Gregg Wafelbakker joined Tourism New Zealand in July 2017 as General Manager Asia.  Gregg brings 20 years’ of international experience in Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) from the food and beverage sector, with roles based in New Zealand, USA, Singapore, Thailand, Germany and China.  Prior to joining Tourism New Zealand, Gregg was General Manager China for Westland Milk Products.

The General Manager International leads Tourism New Zealand’s offshore in-market teams to coordinate the delivery of the organisation strategy through consumer and trade activities. This involves overseeing the insights-led development and implementation of targeted campaigns and leveraging global and local stakeholder relationships to ensure effective delivery of the organisation strategy in-market.


Sue Parcell, Chief Financial Officer

Sue Parcell is responsible for managing and leading the financial and accounting functions of Tourism New Zealand, while also managing our IT infrastructure. She also oversees the performance reporting function.

Sue has had considerable experience in the tourism industry and this includes senior finance and general management roles.  Prior to this she worked in finance roles in business services in New Zealand and overseas.

Rebecca (Bex) Ingram, General Manager NZ Government Relations

As the General Manager NZ and Government Relations Bex oversees Tourism New Zealand’s relationships with key New Zealand stakeholders, including industry and government agencies; and internal and external communications.

Previously, Rebecca was responsible for Tourism New Zealand's global PR activity, including the international media programme, and work to leverage major events. She led Tourism New Zealand’s film tourism work, building on the highly successful Middle-earth legacy and positioning New Zealand as the best place in the world for visitors to experience a living film set.Rebecca has more than fifteen years of experience in marketing and communications.

Brendan Downey-Parish, General Manager CX, Technology & Data

Brendan joined Tourism New Zealand in January 2016 and in 2018 was appointed to the role of General Manager Customer Experience (CX), Technology, & Data.

Brendan leads a multi-disciplinary team to deliver a world class digital experience platform, drive impact by harnessing data for improved insight and ensure that customers have a seamless experience. The team provides enterprise-wide support to help deliver Tourism New Zealand’s mission of enriching New Zealand by growing the contribution of international visitors.

Brendan has more than 15 years marketing & innovation expertise gained across the beverage, food, and consumer goods sectors in New Zealand and internationally, including 7 years with Fonterra in the Middle East.

Tony Rogers, Director Marketing

As Director Marketing Tony leads the evolution of Tourism New Zealand’s marketing through our core creative narrative including the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, and takes a strategic approach to how we plan and optimise our global marketing, media partnerships and channels to maximise the effect of that narrative with our target consumer audiences.  This includes taking responsibility for leading the global development of our marketing strategy, including our creative approach and philosophy as well as the standard of creative output and consumer insight for the organisation.


Tony has extensive senior marketing experience across multiple industries including tourism, leisure, automotive and financial services and has had previous roles with Tourism New Zealand and running key strategic projects.

Natalie Haines, General Manager, People and Culture

Natalie is responsible for leading Tourism New Zealand’s people, organisational culture, safety and wellness work streams.

Natalie brings more than 16 years of people and culture experience, and joins Tourism New Zealand from senior HR roles at Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children and Contact Energy. She brings a strong background in organisational change and capability and culture development.

Hemi Sundgren, Pou Ārahi - Māori

Hemi joins Tourism New Zealand as Pou Arahi - Maori, after more than 10 years' experience working with iwi in the post settlement development space, including 6-years as CEO for Te Atiawa in Taranaki. 

Hemi's role is primarily to support the Chief Executive in raising the cultural confidence across the organisation in respect to kaupapa Māori. The position is accountable for incorporating Te Ao Māori into Tourism New Zealand’s strategy, establishing and maintaining effective and enduring partnerships and meaningful networks with Iwi, government agencies, corporations, industry and the tourism sector, so that Tourism New Zealand’s position and endeavours are well understood and recognised. 

Leah McDonald, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive

Leah joined Tourism New Zealand in 2008 and in 2012 was appointed to the role of Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Board Secretariat.

Before joining Tourism New Zealand, Leah lived offshore from 1995 to 2008 (Florida, London and Sydney) supporting Senior Executives across various sectors, including Australia’s leading medical defence organisation and medical indemnity insurance provider and the largest housing association in the United Kingdom.



New Zealand media team

If you are a New Zealand based journalist and have a media query please contact one of the communications team below. 

Candice Johanson, Communications Manager 021 220 8031 or email candice.johanson@tnz.govt.nz

Jess Harkins, Senior Communications Advisor 021 631 845 or email jess.harkins@tnz.govt.nz

If you have an OIA request please email: oia@tnz.govt.nz