About Us


Whanganui and Partners was established in 2014 as a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to act as the economic development agency for the district. 

With growth of Whanganui’s social and economic well-being at the forefront of activity, Whanganui and Partners has been developed to engage in public-private partnerships and to work with business, community and iwi.

Our aim is a more prosperous community for all.

A Statement of Intent has been accepted in principle by the Whanganui District Council in accordance of budgets adopted for the Whanganui District Council 2018-19 Annual Plan. The Statement of Intent is able to be downloaded here.


Governed by a Board selected for experience and expertise across sectors contributing to economic development, our aim is a more prosperous community for all.

Our Whanganui & Partners Board members:

Myles Fothergill, Chair
Myles is the Managing Director of Q-West Boat Builders Ltd, a multi-million dollar business established in Whanganui.  He has also held or holds governance positions on the Brunswick School Board of Trustees, Whanganui District Employment Training Trust, New Zealand Marine Industry Association, NZ Marine & Composites Industry Training Organisation, Auckland On Water Boat Show,  NZ Marine Commercial Vessel Group, and Heads Road Business Group.

Susanne Clay, Deputy Chair
Susanne is a commercial advisor for innovation, growth and strategy consulting and Director of Gecko Advisory Limited.  Susanne has held or holds positions in entrepreneurial management, commercialisation or governance with Wool Industry Research Ltd, NZ Wool Innovation Ltd, Croplogic Ltd, Kahne Limited, Living Cell Technologies Ltd, and internationally Minnesota Biosciences Council, Algos Therapeutics, Inc., and Cargill Inc.

Jonathan Russell

Jonathan Russell
Jonathan is a Director of Prospace Design and the Principal for JR Consulting currently based in Xiamen, China.  Prior to that, Jonathan was the General Manager for Saatchi and Saatchi Wellington, NZ and was engaged last year to develop the Whanganui – All you need (and then some) brand before becoming a board member.  Jonathan has held both management and governance roles in a cross section of industry including NZ Dairy Foods (now Fonterra), Lion Nathan, Prospace Asia & Prospace Global, NZ Advertising Standards Authority, NZ Centre for Photography, New Zealand Supply Chain Board, and the Wellington Council (RWC Advisory Group).

Pahia Turia
Pahia Turia is well known to many in Whanganui and brings a wealth of experience in governance and business management.  Currently a consultant to Taipak Development Limited, Pahia continues to work with Appliance Repair Care Ltd, Parliamentary Services, Ngati Rangiwhakaturia, Taumata Haora Trust, and Nga Wairiki-Ngati Apa.

Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee is currently General Manager of Manuka Farming NZ Ltd. Prior to this he held positions in foreign affairs, trade and marketing. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Marketing from the University of Canterbury. In his current role he reports to the Board of Directors of Manuka Farming. He has also held the position of Chair of the Shepherd’s Arms Foundation, a charitable trust which runs a children’s home in the Philippines.

Phillip Bedford

Phillip Bedford is currently employed as the CEO of the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy. Prior to this he was Commanding Officer at the base headquarters at Ohakea. He has an MBA (with distinction) from Massey University and was involved in the initial working groups relating to the Regional Growth Study, which was then formalised as Accelerate 25, the Manawatu-Whanganui Economic Action Plan. He has held executive level management positions and served in governance roles including as a Trustee of the RNZAF Welfare Fund, Chair Base Leadership Group Ohakea and as a Trustee of the Carncot Independent School.


Mark Ward - CE

Mark Ward – CE

Mark Ward holds an MSc in cellular biology and molecular genetics from Auckland University and an MBA from Deakin University in Melbourne. His experience includes Chief Executive roles with the Wellington-based New Zealand Veterinary Association and Crop and Food Research.

His career achievements encompass research and development, high level partnerships and financial and business performance improvement.

Whanganui and Partners is led by Chief Executive Mark Ward and his team as they develop and implement the initiatives, projects and plans for their sector briefs.

A Statement of Intent sets out the strategic direction for the organisation incorporating and reflecting the expectations of both ratepayers and industry.  It describes the context within the entity operates, explains how the organisation will achieve the selected outcomes and priorities of work focus and also how those outcomes progress and are measured.

The Whanganui and Partners team is available to meet and speak with all businesses and individuals on appointment and welcomes support and involvement in all projects where relevant.  If you’d like more information or to be included on our database for e-newsletters please email us at info@whanganuiandpartners.nz.

We’d be delighted if you’d like us on our Facebook page to regularly see what the team is working on and to join our Whanganui and Partners LinkedIn group for current news and information.

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn 

Our Whanganui & Partners management team:

Mark Ward 

Chief Executive
E: info@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3119

Nilesh Prasad   

Project Administrator/Accelerate25
E: Nilesh.Prasad@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3119

Rhonda Morris 

Strategic Lead – Business
E: Rhonda.Morris@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3102

Hannah Kelly 

Strategic Lead – Education
E: Hannah.Kelly@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3081

Paul Chaplow 

Strategic Lead – Destination
E: paul.chaplow@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3216

Rene Olmos  

Strategic Lead – Innovation
E: Rene.Olmos@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 027 563 7662

Paul Kjoss  

Digital & Online Lead
E: Paul.Kjoss@whanganuiandpartners.nz
T: 06 349 3052

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