Learner-Focused, Industry-Led, Government-Enabled


Food and Fibre CoVE has a highly experienced team with the ability to leverage stakeholder relationships across Aotearoa New Zealand, supported by a Board with extensive food and fibre sector experience.


The Board

The inaugural Board was appointed in December 2020. At the 2023 AGM Natalie Bowie was appointed and William Beetham replaced Mark Paine as Chair.

William Beetham, Chair

William Beetham is Managing Director of Beetham Pastural. He operates a large sheep and beef farm near Masterton and is committed to building thriving rural communities. With extensive governance experience, he is currently a director of Silver Fern Farms Co-Operative and Silver Fern Farms Limited, and has served as a national board member, the Meat & Wool Chair and provincial President of Federated Farmers, and as a member of the OSPRI Stakeholder Council.

Ben Allomes

Ben Allomes is Managing Director of Hopelands Dairies/Allomes Farming in Woodville. Ben was a farmer-elected Director of Dairy NZ from 2011 to 2019. He represented the dairy industry on several groups, including human capability reviews with TEC and MPI, Primary ITO IPG – Dairy, OSPRI Stakeholder Council, and as Chair of the National Mastitis Council. Over the last fifteen years, Ben has also been involved in the Agricultural Health and Safety Council, Dairy NZ Retention and Recruitment Group, M + W Skills and Education Mentoring Group, Rural Leadership Development Steering Committee, NZ Ag Safety Forum, and as an AgITO tutor. In 2019, his farm won the MPI Best Employer Awards.

Chrissie Hape MNZM (Ngāti Kahungunu/Kai Tahu me Moriori)

Chrissie Hape has government and community sectors’ experience spanning more than 35 years, and nine years with Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi. With a focus on improving health, education, social and wellbeing outcomes for whanau, Chrissie has extensive senior leadership and governance experience including: previous Health HB Director and Chair, co-Chair Māori Economic Development Advisory Board, various advisory positions to government agencies. Chrissie was appointed as Chief Executive of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc in 2017. In 2023 Chrissie was awarded a New Years Honour being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Governance.

Glen Harkness

Glen Harkness is Executive Director, Strategic Projects and Partnerships at EIT I Te Pūkenga in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti. He oversees a range of significant projects – several connected to the primary sector – as well EIT’s marketing, communications and secondary/tertiary partnerships. Glen started in sport science before moving into academic management and leadership roles. Glen brings a deep understanding of the tertiary education model, including the changes associated with the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE). He has strong networks across Te Pūkenga. His focus lies in innovation and technology in education.

Natalie Bowie

Natalie Bowie has spent 15 years working within food and fibre sector education. Born and raised on a sheep and beef farm in Wairarapa, with family still actively farming around the motu, she is passionate about the sector. Natalie has held board roles at Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, Dress for Success Wellington and as an Associate Trustee for the Rural Leaders Trust. Natalie is a Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme Alumni and recipient of an AGMART leadership scholarship. Her time in China saw her gain a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia which was spent studying Mandarin, while working in the vocational agricultural education space. She recently completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Studies, with a focus on Māori outcomes in an education setting. She is currently a member of the senior leadership team at Primary ITO (business division of Te Pūkenga), during at a time of tremendous change and complexity.

Prue Younger

Prue Younger is CEO of FICA (Forest Industry Contractors Association) and the owner/director of Public Impressions, a Hawke’s Bay based marketing and communications agency. A former CEO of Eastland Wood Council, Prue has also been a trustee for the Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Trust and served on several boards including NZCT Regional Advisory Group (Chair), Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti (Chair), and Connext Trust (Chair) and the Fencing Contractors Association. Prue brings seasoned experience in starting, growing, and developing a business, as well as governance and relationship building capability.

Sandy Scarrow

Sandy Scarrow is Horticultural Consultant/Managing Director of Fruition Horticulture in Tauranga. Sandy’s areas of expertise include horticultural consultancy, orchard management, and strategic advice, primary sector education, quality management, and environmental management. Sandy is a member of the NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science and the Certified Practicing Agriculturalist. She is a founding member and trustee of the Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust, a member of the Bay of Plenty Institute of Directors, the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network, and a trustee of the Sydenham Botanic Gardens.

Turi Ngatai, MNZM (Ngai Te Rangi/Ngāti Ranginui, Tauranga-Moana)

Turi Ngatai is Director Māori for the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, a member of the Kahui Kaumatua of Toi Ohomai and Māori Relationship Manager for Seeka. He is also a member of the WDCieb for Primary Industries. Turi is a Director of the Māori-owned and operated Te Awanui Huka Pak and Chair of its investment company, Te Whāi Limited. He is Deputy Chair of the Ngai Te Rangi iwi post-settlement governance entity and Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi and representative for Ngai Te Rangi at the Iwi Chairs Forum. He is a kaumatua, a grower and a member of several Māori trusts. He was instrumental in establishing the Māori Kiwifruit Growers Association and has been the joint CEO of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Turi priorities are to achieve excellence in vocational education and workforce opportunities for Māori.

Dr Wiremu McMillan (Ngāti Porou)

Dr Wiremu McMillan runs Wiremu McMillan Consultancy, an agribusiness consultancy specialised in providing service to commercial, industry, Māori-owned, and research and development businesses. Wiremu is Massey University’s first Māori PhD graduate. He is the Chair of Atareta Puaninga McMillan Whanau Trust. A member of several primary industry advisory groups, he has been involved in various research and development initiatives. Wiremu maintains extensive networks in NZ’s primary industries, Māori land entities, and Māori agribusiness. His focus is on supporting more Māori succeeding in all roles in all primary industries, as Māori.

The Team

With wide-ranging experience across vocational education and training, and primary industries the team thrives on collaborating, enabling and sharing innovative ideas and solutions.

Nicola Yuile, Ops and Admin Manager

Craig Ogborn, Senior Communications Advisor

Jackie Lynch, Portfolio Manager

Lilla du Toit, Portfolio Manager

Fiona Windle, Portfolio Manager

Doug Neilson, Portfolio Manager


Viv Bruin, Portfolio Manager


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