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Board of Directors

Hon. Steve Maharey (Chair)

Steve is a Director with a wide range of organisations including Pharmac, Education New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and WellingtonNZ.

He was the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University based in Palmerston North, Wellington, and Albany, Auckland between 2008-2016. From 1990 until 2008 he was the Member of Parliament for Palmerston North and was a Senior Cabinet Minister holding a wide range of portfolios including Education, Employment and Research, Science and Technology, between 1999 and 2008.

Earlier in his career he was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and a Junior Lecturer in Business Studies. He served as a Palmerston North City Councillor between 1986 and 1989. He was awarded the Companion of New Zealand Medal (CNZM) in 2008.


Verne Atmore

Verne has over 20 years of senior executive management experience in private sector companies and is currently VP Livestock Management Solutions for Datamars SA. Prior to joining Datamars, Verne held roles as General Manager NZ for Tru-Test Group, Group Marketing Manager-Gallagher Group, General Manager Sales AsiaPac-Gallagher Security Management and CEO Farmworks Precision Farming Systems.

Verne has been a former UCOL Council member and Chair of Audit and Risk and also served as a Director for Datamars Subsidiary company, AgTrac Services Ltd. She is married with 3 children, is a graduate of Lincoln University and resides in rural Manawatu.


Mark Cleaver

Mark has lived in the Manawatū region for the past 23 years. He spent nine years with Massey University as Director of the Research Office and head of Business Development and Commercialisation and is currently CEO of Massey Ventures Ltd, a commercialisation and venture investment business.

Mark has a particular interest in research and innovation and has helped establish many new technology-based companies including co-founding his own business, Aero Sports Protection Ltd. Mark is a director for a range of commercial companies, sporting organisations and charitable trusts with 20+ years of experience in Governance.


Katarina Hina

Katarina (Ngā Wairiki, Ngāti Apa, Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Porou) has worked in tertiary education and Iwi education development for over 20 years and has lived in Whanganui since 1996. She was recently appointed Strategic Lead of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki – Ngāti Apa, taking responsibility for growing and maintaining the social sector services in Marton.

Katarina has represented her Iwi on various tertiary institution boards and committees and has extensive experience in tertiary infrastructure development, quality assurance and curriculum development, ascertaining strategic and operational priorities and cultural competencies.


Lorraine Stephenson (Atihaunui a Paparangi Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu)

Born and bred in Dannevirke, Lorraine has devoted her life to dairy farming, governance, resource management consulting and being an advocate for her Tararua community. She’s worked on the family farm for more than 40 years, while also being involved in numerous board and governance roles. Her experience includes four National Ministerial Board appointments, where she demonstrated her skills in strategic thinking, decision-making and managing the political environment. She was also an Independent Hearing Commissioner, presiding over many Hearings in the Horizons Regional Council catchment.

Lorraine is an active community leader and is involved with many community and business groups.


Linda Stewart

As Chief Executive of the Central Economic Development Agency, Linda leads a team focused on delivering economic prosperity for the Manawatu through investment attraction, business expansion and retention, building and growing a sustainable talent and skills pool, and profiling the region to attract people, business and investment.

With a background in business development, project management and recruitment for organisations such as Mars Inc., Virgin Australia, Massey University, Lincoln University and Primary ITO, Linda has strong commercial and specific education sector experience and knowledge.

Linda currently serves on the Board of Economic Development New Zealand and is passionate about the development of New Zealand for the benefit and prosperity of all.


Lyal French-Wright

Lyal was CE of a large regional law firm (Govett Quilliam), from 2012 to 2018 where his focus was on strategic vision, meeting the demands of a quickly changing legal landscape, growth and development. Prior to this Lyal has been dedicated to education, activities and organisations that support the concept of vibrant, sustainable and active communities. Lyal has been a senior school administrator, was Headmaster of New Plymouth Boys’ High School and an Executive Principal of Al Khor International School, one of the largest private schools in the Middle East based in Qatar. Lyal has been a Ministerial appointment to the WITT Council since 2016. Lyal also gets great pleasure from his association with sporting bodies, presently Chairman of NPOB Rugby Club and Vice President of the Taranaki RFU.

Barry Jordan

Barry is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and practices as a commercial mediator. With a background as a forensic accountant, insolvency practitioner, and commercial negotiator, he has the hands-on experience to help reach effective solutions to seemingly intractable positions. 

During Barry's career, he has led numerous high-profile, yet sensitive, probity and fraud investigations as a partner at Deloitte (2008 to 2018) and McCallum Petterson (2001 to 2008). Barry also led governance and senior management roles within these respective professional services firms. In August 2019, he was appointed Chair of the NZIST Establishment Board.