DWC staff

Development West Coast is supported by a team of professional, experienced and friendly staff.

Our team can give you information and advice on the range and type of services DWC provides, or put you in touch with the right organisation for more matters that DWC does not directly deal with. All matters will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. Contact our team on 0800 768 0140 or info@dwc.org.nz

Chief Executive

Heath Milne

HEATH MILNE

Chief Executive Officer

Prior to joining DWC in January 2020, Heath was the General Manager of ANZCO Foods UK Ltd, based in London.

Heath was born on the West Coast. His career with food giant ANZCO also started here until he relocated to London in 2007 to head up its subsidiary business in the United Kingdom and Europe.

While having extensive knowledge and experience in the primary industry, Heath also brings a strong business acumen and proven leadership, coupled with a deep enthusiasm and a deep-rooted passion for the West Coast region.

Operations

Belinda Lunn

Belinda Lunn

Executive Manager

Belinda has been with Development West Coast since May 2002. A significant part of Belinda’s position is managing the governance support and policy functions for the Trust and supporting the CEO. In addition to these roles, Belinda also oversees various IT, administration and marketing functions, and works across the organisation to promote collaboration and consistency in the day to day operations of the Trust.

Rachel Doolan

Rachel Doolan

Office Manager

Rachel provides administration support across the DWC team which includes office management, executive support as well as board/committee support across DWC and DWC-led groups.

Helen Wilson

Helen Wilson

Project Coordinator

Helen has 17 year’s experience in a variety of roles within DWC and has earned accreditation as an economic development practitioner (AcED) and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). These days she is enjoying a little bit of retirement time while continuing to manage some projects within the organisation. In 2024, Helen’s main focus will be managing the Leading Light Business Excellence Awards process.

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Katie Baxter

Events Coordinator

Katie joined the team at Development West Coast in June 2021. Katie is your first point of contact for all customers and brings 10 years of customer service experience. She also co-ordinates DWC's business events across the region.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Aaron Rees

AARON REES

Marketing & Communications Manager

Aaron joined the team at Development West Coast in October 2017. He has experience running a successful business overseas, along with a Masters Degree in Development Studies.
Having grown up on the Coast, Aaron has a passion for promoting the region as a great place to work, live and play.

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Noora Tuikkanen

Digital Marketing and Communications Officer

Noora joined the team at DWC in November 2022. Her role involves developing and implementing effective social media strategies, ensuring high-quality content creation and marketing, and optimising communication channels to be both effective and engaging. Originally from Finland, she has traveled and worked around the world, gaining valuable experience in various industries including tourism, and fitness. She is committed to driving results and making a positive impact both for the organisation and for the wider West Coast community.

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Neve Martin

Marketing and Promotions Intern

Neve works alongside Aaron and Noora in the Marketing and Communications team. Neve grew up on the West Coast and after returning from territory study, she enjoys showcasing all the West Coast has to offer for locals and visitors alike.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Jo Birnie

JO BIRNIE

Economic Development Manager

Prior to joining DWC, Jo spent the last 11 years as the owner and Principal Consultant for a Business and HR consultancy working with both SMEs and the public sector.

Jo has undertaken project/programme and change management positions across many agencies in the public sector and has worked with a wide range of SMEs, including many businesses on the West Coast as part of the Regional Business Partner Network.

Born and educated in the UK, Jo moved to New Zealand in 2002, living between the South Island and Wellington, spending a lot of time on the West Coast.

Fiona Hill

FIONA HILL

Capability & Growth Manager

A former owner of a successful local business, with extensive customer service and administration skills, Fiona manages DWC;s capability and growth team. Fiona assists businesses that are keen to grow and innovate by connecting them to people, opportunities and resources including access to the support available through the Regional Business Partner Programme.

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Carolyn Johansen

Capability and Growth Advisor

Carolyn joins the DWC team with over 24 years’ experience in business administration, management, sales, marketing and health and safety across a range of industries and different size businesses.

Carolyn and her husband, Andrew, own a small local business in the agricultural industry. Like most New Zealand businesses they had to adapt and evolve in the current ever-changing environment while trying to support staff and clients as much as possible.

Carolyn is looking forward to establishing solid working relationships with West Coast business owners and their teams and to support them wherever possible within the abilities of DWC. She is a strong believer that no-one knows a business as well as the people who are in it, it’s just a case that sometimes you need an extra set of eyes, or better yet ears, to come up with a plan and get through the hurdles.

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Sam Henry

Māori Business Capability Advisor

Sam joined Te Ohu Whakawhanake o Te Tai Poutini in September 2022. Sam has a wealth of experience in business development and business management. He has significant knowledge and experience in large scale project management and community development. He has held senior roles within the Ministry of Māori Development and Inland Revenue. He has previously run his own property portfolio in Auckland and has lectured and taught small business management for Te Waananga O Aotearoa.

Sam is passionate about Māori business development and people and is looking forward to utilising his skills and knowledge to assist Maori business growth in Te Tai Poutini.

Amanda Hopkins

Amanda Hopkins

Business Support Facilitator

Amanda joined the team at Development West Coast in January 2018. Amanda has experience in running a successful local business, which has given her the skills for the varied tasks encompassed in the Business Support Officer position.

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Zak Shaw

Project Lead - Nature Economy.

Zak joins the DWC team with 20 years’ experience in adventure guiding, outdoor education and experiential leadership facilitation.

His role at DWC is to assist in enabling the West Coast region to realise the value of its natural resources. Zak works with a broad range of stakeholders to identify and strengthen capability related to conservation and biodiversity restoration.

Raised in Matawai; a rural community inland of Gisborne Zak moved to the West Coast to live in 2012.

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Patrick Dault

Destination and Tourism Manager

Patrick’s role is to develop and implement the regional destination management plan; formulating what will be the region’s roadmap for economic, cultural, and environmental development. Bringing together communities, Iwi, government, and local businesses to build the region’s reputation and mitigate the risks to our communities and our environment whilst attracting new residents, businesses, and visitors.

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Lara Thomas

Tourism and Events Executive

Lara joined the team at DWC in May 2023. She is a “true coaster” having spent her entire life on the West Coast. While Lara has the desire to travel, she has also visited many countries overseas but is convinced the West Coast is the best place to live. Lara has a strong passion for tourism and events which fits her role perfectly. Her role includes attending tradeshows, arranging and hosting media and trade familiarisation tours across the region as well as promoting the West Coast as the destination for business events.

Prior to joining DWC, she spent eight years in the travel and tourism industry, studying tourism and working at a local i-SITE Information Centre and the past four years as the Community & Events Facilitator at the Grey District Council.

Taylor Tian

Tourism - China Market

Taylor is originally from mainland China and moved to New Zealand in 2015. His tenure in the tourism industry began with establishing and spearheading the Chinese department for a prominent tourism operator based in Marlborough.

Over the years, he has been involved with remarkable transformations in regional awareness and visitor influx.

In recent years, Taylor has become an independent advisor specialising in the Chinese tourism market, extending his expertise to various regions across the South Island. Taylor is dedicated to promoting the allure of the Untamed West Coast in the Chinese market by collaborating with neighboring regions.

Taylor is committed to assisting the West Coast in navigating the dynamic landscape of the Chinese tourism industry, fostering awareness among visitors, promoting regional dispersal, and facilitating partnerships with key industry stakeholders.

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Jade Mahuika

Vocational Coordinator

Prior to joining the DWC team, Jade was the Tertiary/Education Liaison at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth and managed the Young Enterprise Scheme Trust on the West Coast. Jade has a great understanding of the Secondary and Tertiary education sector.

Being born and raised on the West Coast, Jade is passionate about supporting and developing opportunities for all rangatahi to achieve success on the West Coast.

FINANCE

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Mike Washington

Chief Financial Officer

Mike joined the team at Development West Coast in August 2022. Mike is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a broad range of experience across multiple sectors.

Having worked for EY in their assurance team, Mike has then spent time with CDC Pharmaceuticals, NZ Police, St Bede’s College and most recently, DairyWorks Limited.

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DAYLE MCMILLAN

Commercial Lending Manager

Dayle joined the team at Development West Coast in May 2018 and manages DWC's commercial lending function. Dayle has significant finance industry experience in business and management positions and brings with him local knowledge as a born and bred Coaster.

Robyn McArthur

Robyn McArthur

Commercial Lending Manager - Glacier Country

Robyn joined DWC in 2023 and is based in Franz Josef. She brings a diverse range of skills to her role, including Key Account and National Sales management with ANZCO Foods (NZ and UK), Human Resource management (NZ and Australia) with Glassons Ltd and various roles in the Tourism sector. Robyn has also operated her own business. She looks forward to working with businesses in the Glacier Country.

Tony Gibson

TONY GIBSON

Accountant

Tony joined the team at Development West Coast in June 2018. He has had a wide range of tax and accounting experience in roles with Government Agencies, Chartered Accountancy firms and privately-owned business over many years. Tony is employed as accountant which incorporates finance and management accounting for both DWC and its subsidiaries.

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Debbie Wilson

Accounts Assistant

Debbie joined Development West Coast in December 2021. Debbie has worked in administration and finance roles for a number of years resulting in a wide range of knowledge and experience which she is looking forward to bringing to DWC.