10 April 2019

Southland Chamber of Commerce Board Announced for 2019/20

The Chamber is delighted to announce that Neil McAra, Findex and Rod Sinclair, Focus Technology Group will continue on as President and Vice President of the Chamber, having been re-elected unopposed.

Southland Chamber of Commerce was established by likeminded local business leaders 156 years ago. Today, the Chamber is more relevant than ever. The Chamber is led by an enthusiastic board of 12 directors, each with a proven track record in business across a range of sectors and a hands-on understanding of the regional business environment.

President Neil McAra said “Reflecting over a busy year, I am proud of what the Chamber has achieved. Our continued drive to add value to members and advocate hard for our business community, has resulted in some key projects being executed, the development of new projects, and a strong membership base.

We operate in a changing world and need to be adaptive into the future. With the construction of a new ILT Hotel and CBD development for Invercargill – two major projects for Southland, issues and strategies evolve from this, a housing shortage is one of them and we now look to see what part the Chamber can play in assisting moving this forward and working though the challenges.

Another key role for the Chamber is making sure Southland is visible and remains part of the discussion at a central Government level. We have continued to be active in providing a voice for local business working proactively with local councils, local MPs and continuously strengthening our relationship with central and local government. An example of why this is important are the concerning changes facing SIT, we all need to ensure we’re playing a role to maintain our successful community organisation.”

Two vacant board positions were contested by four candidates. Luke Macpherson who has been a board member since 2016 was re-elected along with new-comer Carla Harper.

Born and raised in Southland, Carla has been in the banking industry for over 16 years, seven of those being in management roles and is currently the Westpac Acting Regional Manager for Southland.

“I’m passionate about the region and want to ensure the long-term sustainability of Southland’s business community. Every company is diverse and the opportunity to represent 400 businesses through the Chamber is exciting. Business success is not a ‘one size fits all’ environment; and I believe that an essential aspect of success is considering the risks and opportunities prior to executing decisions” Harper said.

The board will be formally inducted by at the Chamber AGM on Thursday 11th April.

2019/2020 Elected Board Members

Neil McAra, Findex

Luke Macpherson, BNZ

Shaun Drylie, SBS Bank

Garth Butson, ACC

Rod Sinclair, Focus Technology Group

Carla Harper, Westpac

Laura Todd, Invercargill Top 10 Holiday Park


Luke Macpherson, BNZ (re-elected)

Kirsty McNeill, BNZ

Carla Forbes, Market South (to become appointed)

2019/2020 Appointed Board Members

Nigel Gear, South Port

Richard Gray, Fonterra

Carla Forbes, Market South

Paul Adams, Stabicraft Ltd

Stewart Hamilton, New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter


Mark O’Connor, Business Improvement Consultant

Ewen Whitefield, Eastern Southland Representative

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