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New directors welcomed to Eastland Group board

Two new directors have been appointed to the Eastland Group board.

Company shareholder Trust Tairawhiti appointed Hamish Bell and Debbie Birch to the board of the Gisborne-based infrastructure, logistics and energy company.

“On behalf of the trustees, I'm pleased to welcome Debbie and Hamish to the Eastland Board group,” Trust Tairawhiti chair John Clarke said.

“I would also like to thank John Rae, who has retired by rotation after more than 10 years, for his invaluable expertise and contributions to the growth and success of Eastland Group.”

Mr Bell is an independent director and chair with extensive governance experience across a range of industries.

“Over the last 30 years he has worked in New Zealand and across Asia in banking, corporate finance, private equity, investor relations and stockbroking.

A former partner at PwC and executive at ANZ National Bank, he serves on a range of company boards including Ritchies Transport, Te Waka regional economic development agency, Livingstone Building, Boffa Miskell architects and Millennium Corp.

He has previously served on the boards of G.J. Gardner Homes Franklin, Greenstone Group, Pedersen Group, East Care, Southern Hospitality, Sutherland Produce, Martin Aircraft and Te Arawa Group Holdings.

Mr Bell has a strong passion for regional business.

“I'm looking forward to drawing on my industry, corporate finance and stakeholder engagement experience to contribute to the Eastland Group board, and getting to know community and business stakeholders in Tairawhiti.”

Ms Birch is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand, with a particular focus on financial markets and investment and Maori economic development.

She was one of the founders of a private equity fund model for Maori/iwi which co-invests alongside institutional investors over a 15-year timeframe, and has raised $115 million from 26 individual Maori/iwi investor entities.

She is the chair of Raukawa ki te Tonga AHC and Taupo Moana Investments Ltd, and is a non-executive director of Tourism Holdings, Ngati Awa Group Holdings Ltd, Te Puia Tapapa GP and Tuwharetoa Hau Rau GP.

She is a trustee of Wellington Free Ambulance trust and Manu Rere Charitable Trust, and is a member of the Treasury's Capital Markets Advisory Committee and the Ministry for Primary Industries' Te Puna Whakaaronui Thought Leaders Group.

Ms Birch said she was looking forward to working with a high-quality board and management team.

“They not only manage significant infrastructure assets for the Tairawhiti region but also contribute to sustainable asset management in a changing and challenging environment, reinforced by the need to adapt to a low-carbon future.”

Eastland Group chair Matanuku Mahuika welcomed the appointments.

“Debbie and Hamish bring extensive and complementary experience to the board of Eastland Group. Their commercial, financial and strategic acumen, as well as their community- and sustainability-minded approach, will be invaluable as we strive for further growth and innovation.”

Eastland Group board director Hamish Bell. Picture supplied
Eastland Group board director Debbie Birch. Picture supplied