Muka Tangata Council

Erin Simpson – Chair

Erin Simpson (Taranaki, Te Atiawa) has an extensive career in the Horticulture sector starting in the 1980s. His experience gives him a robust and insightful understanding of the skills needed by employers to be effective members in the workforce of tomorrow. 

He is passionate about ensuring skills and training today are agile, adaptable, and fit for purpose and that vocational education is visible and accessible for all across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Erin’s governance experience spans community, education and industry groups and he currently sits as Chair of the NZ Agricultural Education Trust (Growsafe), Co-Chair of the Hawkes Bay Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG), Chair of Hāpaitia Ltd and a director of Te Koha Organics Ltd, a family business he manages with his partner Clare. In past roles, Erin has represented the Pipfruit sector on government advisory groups around capability and skills for Ministry for Primary Industries and the Tertiary Education Commission. He is the current board of trustees Chair at Taikura Rudolf Steiner school in Hastings a role he has held for six years and is one of a group of founding members of the Kahūi Ahumahi a collective of Māori governance members across the six Workforce Development Councils. 

Kevin Ihaka - Deputy Chair

Kevin Ihaka (Ngāti Kuhungunu) is the founder and director of the FPS group of companies (FPS Forestry Ltd, FPS Forest Protection Services Ltd, FPS Geospatial Ltd). He is also holds governance positions with a number of organisations including being Chair of the Forest and Rural Fire Association, a director of the United Fire Brigades Association, a member and founding trustee for the Forest Industry Safety Council, and a director of the Forest Industry Contractors Association.

Kevin is also a member of a number of advisory and working groups focusing on the Forestry sector, health and safety and rural fire. He has also been actively involved with Competenz, NorthTec and the Fire and Rescue Services Industry Training Organisation. 

Bernadette Kelly

Bernadette Kelly is the General Manager People, Safety and Engagement for Pāmu (Landcorp Farming). She has previously held a number of senior and executive roles focusing on people, capability, safety and workforce development with organisations including MercyAscot & Mercy Radiology, Air NZ, NZ Lotteries Commission, Westpac NZ and two District Health Boards.  

Bernadette has sat on a number of advisory groups and boards including for The Breakthrough Company, ACC Large Employers Reference Group (DHB representative), and the Pay and Employment Equity Taskforce Health sub-group. Bernadette is also a member of the NZ Institute of Directors and is currently Chair of Te Rōpū hei tiaki Tangata, the Muka Tangata Board People and Safety sub-committee. 

Cathy Webb

Cathy Webb is the Seafood Standards Manager at Seafood NZ Ltd and has held a number of senior positions in the Seafood sector over the past 30 years. She is a director of the Primary Industry Training Organisation (ITO) and was a member of the interim Establishment Board for the Primary Industries WDC.  

Cathy is also on a number of sector advisory boards and reference groups. These include being Chair of the Seafood Standards Council, Chair of the Seafood Industry Partnership Group, and a member of the Stakeholder Council for Primary ITO, the Food and Fibre Capability Leaders Group and Forum, and the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) consortium. 

Chris Flatt

Chris Flatt has been the National Secretary of the NZ Dairy Workers Union – Te Runanga Wai U since 2012 and is the current Chair and Managing Director of Waikato Trade Union Centre Limited. Chris is also a director or trustee of a number of organisations including UniMed Ltd, Trust Waikato Inc, and the Workers Education Trust Inc.

Chris has a long involvement with vocational education, including being a member of the interim Establishment Board for the Primary Industries WDC, the deputy chair of Primary ITO and a director of the NZ Industry Training Organisation.

Chris is currently a Member of the Institute of Directors in NZ as well as an Associate Member of Governance NZ (formerly NZ Chartered Company Secretaries). Chris has also worked as a private practice employment lawyer in law firms in both Auckland and Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Waikato. 

Geoff Taylor

Geoff Taylor is part of the Strategy and Investment Team at DairyNZ Ltd and has been on the Reform of Vocational Education journey as part of various design groups and as a member of the interim Establishment Board for the Primary Industries WDC, leading into a council role with Muka Tangata. His primary focus is to ensure that industry needs remain top of mind for Muka Tangata and as a sector and a country we grow the talented people we need to thrive.


Geoff holds a number of other governance positions including Chair of the Primary Industry Capability Alliance, and is a board member of the Southern Dairy Hub. He has previously been the chair of the Food and Fibre CoVE establishment committee and a member of advisory groups for both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Tertiary Education Committee. Geoff also farms a grazing unit with his family in the Waikato. 

Iani Nemani

Iani Nemani brings a background in community economic development, labour market, industry training and workforce development and is an experienced engagement practitioner. He is currently the Manager, Strategic Engagement for Kainga Ora - Homes and Communities.   

Iani is Tongan ('Ovaka, Fasi moe Afi) with Fijian origins (Vulaga). In addition to bringing Pasifika governance expertise to Muka Tangata, Iani is currently a Board member for the Centre for Pacific Languages (formerly Pasifika Education Centre) and is Co-Chair of Leadership New Zealand. He also serves on the Consumer Experience Council and the Clinical Quality and Safety Committee for the Auckland District Health Board. He is also a Ministerial appointment to the Human Rights Review Tribunal Panel and the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.   

Iani's previous governance experience includes serving as a Board member for Family Life Education Pasifika and the Pacific Community Advisory Board for Manukau Institute of Technology. He holds qualifications in social work, economic development, social policy and theology and is an alumni of the Leadership New Zealand Mana Moana programme. 

Paul Crick

Paul Crick holds a range of governance and advisory roles across the Agricultural sector. He is Chair of Beef + Lamb NZ’s National Farmer Council, chair of Beef + Lamb NZ’s Farmer Research Advisory Group, a founding member of the Wairarapa People Capability Group and a member of the Primary ITO Industry Partnership Group,

Paul has been involved in sheep and beef farming since the late 1980s. He has run a number of successful farms and held leadership roles at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre including Director of Farms and General Manager Farm Business and Training (Sheep and Beef).

Turi Ngatai MNZM

Turi Ngatai MNZM (Ngāi te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui) is Co-Chair of the Bay of Plenty RSLG, a Director on the Food and Fibre CoVE and sits on the Board of the Catholic Leadership Institute, Te Kupenga. He is Interim-Chair Industry Stakeholder Group for Hanga-Aro-Rau WDC.

He was a member of the interim Establishment Board for the Primary Industries WDC, former executive director Māori at Open Polytechnic NZ, previously a senior executive at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and a school principal.

Turi is a director of Te Awanui Huka Pak and is Deputy Chair of the Ngai Te Rangi iwi post-settlement governance entity and Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi. He is a representative for Ngai Te Rangi at the Iwi Chairs Forum, is their spokesman for the WDCs and represents the iwi chairs forum on the Worksafe Partners Advisory Council.

Warwick Tauwhare-George

Warwick Tauwhare-George (Waikato Tainui - Ngati Hikairo, Ngāi Tahu - Ngāti Waewae, Ngāti Wheke) is the Chief Executive of Parininihi ki Waitotara, a Taranaki-based Māori Incorporation with interests across various sectors including Dairy, dairy support, Sheep Dairy, renewable energy (wind/hydrogen), commercial property, lobster, Forestry, Apiculture, Horticulture, Arable crops as well as private and public investment funds. 

Warwick is a Director of a CentrePort Ltd, Ngāi Tahu Farming, Koura Inc (Port Nicholson Fisheries Ltd), Hamilton Riverview Hotels, is the Chair of Ngāmotu Hotels Ltd and is a member of Fonterra’s Cooperative Relations Committee. He has previously been a Director of a Engie Investments and Ngāi Tahu Seafood. 

Warwick is a qualified quantity surveyor, has a BCA (Accounting & Commercial Law) from Victoria University and an MBA from the University of Wollongong (Finance & Marketing). 

Winifred (Wini) Geddes

Winifred (Wini) Geddes (Ngāti Awa, Ngaitai ki Tōrere, Ngāpuhi) is a director of Tāne Mahuta Aotearoa NZ Ltd, a whānau-owned company envisioned to train, qualify and employ rangatahi to work on their own whenua. She is also director of Tū Ora (NZ) Ltd, which operates whare-māire providing bi-cultural clinical health services, psycho-social advocacy.

Wini holds a number of governance positions including two WDCs, a Mataatua District Māori Council delegate to the NZ Māori Council, Chair of the Whakatāne Māori Committee, President of Pūtauaki Māori Women’s Welfare League and Trustee to Iritana Hoāni Nuku Ahu Whenua Trust. She has recently been appointed Manukura, MPI Animal Welfare Subfunction Committee. 

In an advisory and support role, Wini has recently accepted firstly, the Resilience to Nature’s Challenge – a rural research programme that supports outreach to policy and practice leadership that enables resilient outcomes for rural Aotearoa. Secondly, not only as a Massey University Master of Science student, but also supporter of Te Toi Whakaruruhau o Aotearoa, an EQC funded centre for Mātauranga Māori Research Excellence encouraging innovative research across science and social disciplines and building Māori research workforce capability in the fields of earth science, hazards, emergency management, disaster risk reduction governance, recovery and resilience.

Nō reira, he hōnore ahau ki te āta ara pai mō ngā mokopuna a meāke nei.