Executive Committee and Member Reference Group

The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee plays a crucial role in shaping the Pledge’s ongoing strategy and informed decision-making to help us continue to grow while delivering what members need. Reference Group members come from business and industry associations that work in partnership with Biosecurity New Zealand to oversee and deliver the programme of activity for the year as well as help engage more businesses to take a proactive approach to biosecurity.

Kimberly Crewtherc2023 Tabitha Arthur Photography 0927

Kimberly Crewther - DCANZ

Kimberly is the Executive Director of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), which represents dairy manufacturing and exporting companies on public policy matters of common interest, including trade policy, food regulation, and biosecurity. DCANZ’s members account for 98% of the milk processed in New Zealand. Kimberly has spent the last 20 years working for primary industries holding senior policy and advocacy roles for DairyNZ and Fonterra.

Kimberly also sits on the Governance Group for the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response and is a member of the International Dairy Federation standing committee on policy and economics.

Kimberly is the chair of the Pledge Executive Committee.

Mike Fenton

Mike Fenton - AsureQuality

Mike is the Group Service Manager - Specialty Services, an executive position at AsureQuality, New Zealand’s largest Food Safety and Biosecurity company. Mike’s role includes leadership of a national field team undertaking post-border biosecurity surveillance and response, pest control, and animal disease management. Mike’s team also consists of a specialised chemistry and animal health laboratory, and a manufacturer of laboratory test kits.

Mike has over 20 years of leadership experience including working in government departments, state-owned enterprises and private companies and across a range of industries including public transport, logistics, and the primary industries. Mike’s career started in biosecurity as a Quarantine Inspector at the Ministry for Primary Industries at the border.

Kylie Higgs

Kylie Higgs - AIAL

Kylie is Head of Risk and Assurance at Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL), which is approved by MPI as a Place of First Arrival (POFA) for international aircraft, passengers, and cargo to enter New Zealand. Kylie has leadership responsibility for the biosecurity portfolio for AIAL and collaborates closely with third parties operating at AIAL to build a biosecurity culture.

Kylie has 25 years of experience working in the aviation sector where she has held numerous leadership roles across operations, safety, risk, assurance, and compliance.

Sherelle Kennelly

Sherelle Kennelly - CBAFF

Sherelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand Inc (CBAFF), which represents the interests of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders nationally. CBAFF works with government, agencies and other supply chain industry associations responding to government measures affecting the industry.

Sherelle comes from a strong industry operations background in biosecurity, change management, customs brokerage, customs regulations, customer services, freight forwarding, governance, international trade/logistics, learning and development, people management, and supply chain management. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the Freight Forwarding Industry, with 18 years in Customs Management.

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan - Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool

Prior to joining the Trevelyan family business in 1990, James trained and worked as a professional engineer. James and his wife Vicki also own kiwifruit orchards in Te Puke, managed conventionally and organically.

Kiwifruit and avocado growers across the Bay of Plenty have relied on Trevelyan’s to provide world-class packing and fruit storage facilities for nearly 50 years. Trevelyan’s operates four export packhouses, one local market packhouse and 43 state-of-the-art coolstores in Te Puke. These facilities employ up to 1600 people at the height of the season.

Like many other New Zealand kiwifruit businesses, Trevelyan’s felt the pain of the devastating Psa incursion in late 2010 and continues to live with it today. The business has relied on a process of continuous improvement, transparency, and biosecurity developments to see it through those tough years.

Raewyn McPhillips

Raewyn McPhillips - IVS Group

Raewyn leads IVS Group (Independent Verification Services) as CEO, guiding a dedicated team in delivering top-tier verification, training, testing, and support services. With over seventeen years of diverse leadership experience, including roles as CEO at Quantec and International Trade Manager at Tatua Dairy Co-operative, Raewyn blends executive proficiency with strong scientific business foundations.

In her strategic role, Raewyn collaborates with New Zealand's importers, exporters, industry sectors, and regulators, ensuring adherence to the highest standards of quality, safety, and compliance. IVS's mission under Raewyn's leadership is to inspire trust through independent assurance services, fostering growth and safeguarding client interests.

Mel Burrowes

Mel Burrowes - ANZCO Foods

Mel’s dedication to safeguarding New Zealand's agricultural sector traces its roots to her upbringing on her family’s farm, fostering a strong interest that has shaped her professional journey.

In 2023, Mel joined ANZCO Foods as Biosecurity Advisor – a senior position in the business that reflects her 16 years’ experience in a range of related roles.

Mel’s career started in 2010 as an AsureQuality meat inspector. She has also trained in Readiness and Response for first line responders for all biosecurity incursion in New Zealand including Foot and Mouth disease. Mel then spent five years working on the Mycoplasma Bovis response programme where she had diverse responsibilities including supporting farmers and overseeing the on-farm cleaning and disinfecting process.

In her current role, Mel provides operational biosecurity guidance, contributes to strategic planning, ensures NAIT compliance across ANZCO-managed farms, manages the company's biosecurity obligations and actively engages in educating others. Mel’s goal is to apply sound business practices that safeguard the industry and contribute protecting New Zealand's agricultural landscape.

Growing up on her family’s farm in Mid-Canterbury, where their manage a mixed arable, sheep, pig, and beef operation, raised her awareness of the potential impact of a significant incursion on the industry.

Mel is ANZCO Foods' representative on the Pledge and joined the Executive Committee in late 2023, further solidifying her commitment to advancing biosecurity initiatives in the country.

Member Reference Group

Later in 2024 we will be inviting expressions of interest in joining our members reference group. We will communicate this through one of our newsletters or email updates.

Debbie Teale

Debbie Teale - part-time Pledge Executive Director

Debbie has a long career working as a consultant working with senior leaders in the public and private sectors providing strategic guidance and advice.

In the past couple of years she led an independent review for the Ministry of Defence, Predator Free New Zealand and Biosecurity New Zealand. It was in working with Biosecurity New Zealand that she was tasked to look at what actions members are taking on their commitments and identify any gaps in practice or what was needed to be addressed to deliver greater impact. She found that despite the challenges delivered by Covid-19, the Pledge is delivering on its intent, demonstrating value to members and strengthening practice. Among her recommendations she proposed resource be committed to ensure momentum was held as the programme continues to grow. She didn’t know at the time that she would later be asked to take on the Executive Director role.

Debbie has a long association with environmental causes to help protect NZ’s unique biodiversity having launched The Aotearoa Circle, a private-public environmental partnership, following a period running the Office of the Chief Executive for the Ministry for the Environment. She also headed the nationally recognisable non-profit, Project Crimson Trust for five years.

Leanne Steward

Leanne Stewart - Kiwifruit Vine Health

Leanne is the Chief Executive at Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH). Biosecurity within the management of New Zealand’s phytosanitary system and at the international level has been both Leanne’s passion and employment. She has worked for Horticulture New Zealand, MPI and the International Plant Protection Convention to reduce the spread of plant pests and diseases around the world.

Leanne sits on a number of governance and working groups as well as the Better Border Biosecurity (B3) Collaboration Council which coordinates biosecurity research across New Zealand’s crown research institutes.

Jo Darby

Jo Darby – Biosecurity New Zealand

Jo is the Team Manager, Engagement Programmes in Biosecurity New Zealand’s Readiness & Response Directorate. She is responsible for a range of collaborative biosecurity programmes including the regional biosecurity collaborations, Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital andBiosecurity Taranaki, and the Biosecurity Business Pledge. She also leads a team of behaviour change, communication and marketing specialists supporting long-term pest management programmes.  

Prior to this role Jo was MPIs senior engagement advisor for the Biosecurity Ko Tātou This Is Us programme. Prior to joining MPI, Jo was the Director of Conventions and Events at Wellington Venues. Prior to this Jo worked at the communications consultancy agency Acumen as the Group Account Director responsible for leading their national events team.

Sirma Karapeeva

Sirma Karapeeva - Meat Industry Association of New Zealand

Sirma is the Chief Executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA) which represents red meat processors, marketers and exporters. The MIA provides a collective voice for the red meat industry interfacing between industry and government across a range of issues including policy formation on economic, trade, market access, biosecurity, industrial relations, compliance costs, environmental and animal welfare matters.

Sirma has an extensive knowledge of government processes and trade policy along with significant trade negotiations experience. She has represented New Zealand at international organisations including the World Trade Organisation and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Terry Copeland

Terry Copeland - Federated Farmers

Terry is the Chief Executive of Federated Farmers responsible for 60 staff, across 10 offices who provide the delivery of advocacy and policy development on behalf of farmers. He and the team are also responsible for continuing the development of the benefits of membership for 13,000 Federated Farmers members, and for influencing rural leadership and community resilience.

Previously he was Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers and he spent more than two decades in the wine industry working on wine quality improvement and developing key export markets.

Eve Pleydell

Dr Eve Pleydell - Horticulture New Zealand

Eve leads the biosecurity function for Horticulture New Zealand, where her role is to proactively influence policy to ensure that New Zealand's biosecurity system is both robust and workable. Commercial fruit and vegetable growers consistently list biosecurity as one of their top concerns. Horticulture New Zealand works to make sure that the biosecurity system provides the protection growers require from exotic pests and diseases, and that the growers are aware of the biosecurity regulations, requirements and best practices applicable to their crops.

Eve's a trained veterinarian specialising in infectious disease research and control. She's been applying those skills across the biosecurity system for the last decade having previously led work in MPI's biosecurity response, surveillance and incursion investigation, and intelligence teams. She enjoys pulling together science and policy to find collective solutions to complex problems and then translating those solutions to the people who need to know from growers to government decision makers.

Sue Fowler Fonterra

Sue Fowler - Fonterra

Sue is the Program Lead – Animals, On Farm Excellence, responsible for providing direction and advice on Fonterra biosecurity policy and standards. Sue oversees the identification of risks to the business strategy that originates from the on-farm space, from food safety to animal wellbeing, and biosecurity.

She supports the Fonterra Incident Management Team (IMT) and framework as a process lead, ensuring that disruptions to the business are managed at the most appropriate level of response and facilitating a return to regular operations as quickly as possible.

Sue has worked with the wider production animal sector and government supporting readiness and response planning for foot and mouth disease over the last 9 years.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams - Silver Fern Farms

Gary is General Manager Food Quality, Environment and Assurance at Silver Fern Farms. He leads a team of specialists responsible for food safety and quality, technical compliance, market access, policy and regulation, quality systems and environmental management.

Gary has a Bachelor of Technology (biotechnology) and a Master in Business Administration from Massey University. He has held a number of leadership roles within the industry including technical, industrial relations, health and safety and general management. Gary has also been also a trustee for the Meat Industry Superannuation scheme since 2006.

Stephen Pipes

Stephen Pipes - Oceanbridge Shipping Ltd

Steve is Customs Manager for Oceanbridge Shipping Limited, a privately-owned New Zealand business specialising in international movement of cargo by air and sea, to and from New Zealand and Australia. Oceanbridge is based in nine sites in both countries plus has agency relationships in most other countries around the world.

Steve has been with Oceanbridge Shipping for more than 25 years, with over 40 years in the industry. His experience spans international logistics, customs practices and regulations and supply chain management. Steve and his team of 15 are at the forefront of all regulatory information relating to free trade agreements, tariff changes and concessions. He sees his role as an educator and advisor, keeping clients up to date and informed while also acting in an advocacy capacity.

Lucy Aukett

Lucy Aukett - SPS Biota

Lucy is a Biosecurity Advisor with SPS Biota. SPS Biota undertakes work in two different areas, as a Biosecurity Partner with the Ministry for Primary Industries providing Accredited Person and Transitional Facility Operator training and helping Transitional Facilities understand their role in the biosecurity system, and as surveillance experts, designing, managing, and implementing pest management programmes. Lucy joined SPS in 2021 and works across both of these programs, which has helped her gain an appreciation and understanding of the New Zealand Biosecurity system.

Prior to working for SPS, Lucy worked for many years in biosecurity in Australia, both for government and not-for-profit. She brings with her a varied background, an enthusiasm for getting involved and spreading biosecurity information, and passion for keeping exotic pests and diseases out of New Zealand.

Janti Gunawan

Janti Gunawan - Xcelerate International

Janti is the director of Xcelerate International, an importing and exporting company. The company imports food products from Southeast Asia and the Pacific to supply restaurants and supermarkets in New Zealand. She works closely with foreign exporters, manufacturers and freight forwarders to ensure that New Zealand biosecurity requirements are met.

Prior to importing food products, Janti worked for several years on sustainable development projects in Asia and the Pacific. She has a passion for sharing knowledge about biosecurity along the supply chain, for a better environment, business, and society. She expects that her bilingual skills, and understanding of foreign countries’ operations and regulation can promote New Zealand biosecurity standards and closer economic linkage between countries, through importing and exporting.