Stuart Gordon, Chief Executive Officer: Stuart was appointed CEO of Waikato Innovation Park in 2012. He has a commerce degree from  Victoria University and is an experienced commercial chartered accountant. During a term as Financial Controller at New Zealand Dairy Group  he managed the acquisition and integration of the fresh industry in the upper North Island which ultimately became Fonterra brands New  Zealand. Stuart later became CEO of Livestock Improvement Corporation for eight years during which the organisation changed from a not- for-profit trust to a highly innovative, high returning commercial organisation. Under Stuart’s leadership, LIC: introduced an innovation model; entered the Deer Industry; invested over $1million per annum in Genomic research; completely revamped its information service to farmers; established a highly profitable DNA testing service; and grew its export business exponentially. After a period as an agriculture business consultant, Stuart joined Waikato Innovation Park as global business development director before being appointed CEO. His goals at WIPL are to lift the capability to increase exports in the region through the community of tenants and wider cluster, focused on Innovation, technology and added value spray dried food.


Nicki Thorne, Operations Manager: Nicki joined the team in 2008. Nicki draws on a range of previous experience to manage the day day to day running of the park. She is responsible for managing most aspects of the property side of the company including managing leases, park and building maintenance, accounts, park and building development, administering the Board of Directors and looking after the Operations team.

Business Growth

Craig Purcell, Business Growth Manager: Craig has a history of taking ideas and helping people turn them into activity, his experience with both small and large businesses has translated into a pragmatic approach to getting things done. He joined LIC as the HR training manager and then moved into the business information arena becoming involved in market research, business analysis and many significant IT projects. He was then involved in a start-up business and managed all the areas from software development to sales. Craig’s last 7 years have been as a consultant providing business improvement activity with a focus on High Performance Work Systems and Strategy. This experience and the collective resources of the Regional Business Partner programme ensure he will maximise the growth and innovation in his role at Waikato Innovation Park.


Novell Gopal, Business Growth Advisor: Novell has an MBA from University of Waikato and a M.Sc in Physics from University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Upon completing his M.Sc, he joined Phillips Medical Systems as a Service Engineer installing and maintaining medical diagnostic systems used in hospitals. He continued in the medical diagnostic industry for another 2 years as a Physicist and Product Manager before joining a multi-national company, Sapura, as a Consultant in their Technology Transfer Management unit. After almost 10 years of working in Malaysia, Novell decided it was time for a change and moved to New Zealand. In New Zealand, Novell has helped SMEs as a business mentor, manager or strategist to grow their business. In his current role, he is able to utilise his knowledge and skills to further assist SMEs to innovate and grow; and to develop their export potential.

Peter Davey, Business Growth Advisor: Peter has a diverse range of senior management experience in manufacturing and process initially in Zimbabwe and more recently in New Zealand. An initial qualification in Forest Management in 1975 led to a range of Senior Management roles in Forestry, Tea Industry, Wood Processing, Food manufacture and Analytical Laboratory management. Peter’s current role of facilitating and developing successful businesses with the Food Innovation Network and Business Growth team at Waikato Innovation Park draws on that experience.

Kahurangi Taylor, Business Growth Advisor: 

He uri no Ngati Te Ata Waiohua me Te Rarawa. 

Kahurangi holds a Bachelor of Science from Massey University and Postgraduate diploma in Business from The University of Waikato. She’s been involved in the management and growth of 3 successful start-ups, commercial and social. Kahurangi is a recipient of the Vodafone World of Difference Award 2016, Kiwibank Local Hero Award 2017 and nominee for Young New Zealander of the year for her work in this space. Kahurangi is fluent in Te Reo Maori, has been heavily involved in Iwi development and is passionate about Maori economic development. She's a progressive starter and brings a fresh perspective to the team. 

Hayley Smith, Busineess Growth Advisor: Hayley has an extremely diverse skillset with over 10 years of management experience in New Zealand and Australia. She brings a practical approach to business advising and has particular expertise in the retail, hospitality and equine sectors. She has an outstanding reputation within the hospitality and event industry having been involved in the operations and growth of over 20 eateries/bars as well as managing hundreds of regional and nationally significant events. She is a former business owner and Director who knows the Waikato business terrain well, being born and raised in Tamahere. Hayley embraces the opportunity to help other business owners and is passionate about growing Waikato businesses. 


Tony Kane, Waikato Mentor Manager: Tony works with Business Mentors across the Waikato region. He has 23 years’ experience as an independent business advisor following a 23 year career in system development and food safety. This includes; capability assessments for Business Development Boards, assessments for the NZTE training voucher scheme and preparing and evaluating R&D grant applications. He is also involved in advising private companies on business strategy, planning, capital raising, system design and implementation. He has had a number of governance roles on private sector and trust boards. Tony has had over fifteen years’ experience in facilitating the development of economic development strategies in the Waikato. He has assisted district councils, CRI’s, community groups and industry bodies with preparing independent advisory documents covering; economic development strategies, situation analyses, strategy implementation plans, business cases/feasibility studies, marketing, facilitation, capital raising, funding systems and operational analyses.



Dave Shute, Operations Manager: Dave Shute joined the business in October 2011 during the construction phase of FoodWaikato spray dryer. Dave now has a staff of 8 who manage and run the plant. Prior to joining FoodWaikato, Dave spent 25 years in the dairy industry, mostly for Fonterra and it’s predecessors', in plant management roles. The last 8 years were as Production Manager for Ardagh, a global metal packaging company, at their Hamilton plant on the Fonterra Canpac site. Dave has a Diploma in Dairy Technology (Massey) and a Post Graduate Masters in Technology Management (Waikato).


Craig Hoare, Business Development Manager: Craig holds a Diploma in Dairy Technology from Massey, and an MBA from Waikato University. He has worked in manufacture, management, and technical areas for 24 years. With supporting experience in project management, product development, quality, and customer support, Craig is passionate about helping with developing businesses 


Contact a Representative >

Nicki Thorne
07 857 0500