Our People

Our Board of Directors

Kevin Ward - Chairman

Kevin Ward is an experienced chief executive and company director with a background in aviation, compliance, risk, economic and safety regulation, and the machinery of government.

Kevin retired in late 2022 after 13 years as chief executive of the New Zealand Airports Association (NZ Airports). In that role he helped establish Slot Coordination New Zealand Ltd (a company that is jointly owned by NZ Airports and the airline association BARNZ) and was a director of SCNZL for nine years.

Prior to joining NZ Airports Kevin owned and operated his own consulting firm for six years. Before that, for nine years he held the position of Director of Civil Aviation and was the founding chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

Kevin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport NZ and a Member of the Institute of Directors NZ.

Grant Lilly

Grant Lilly works as a professional Director, mainly in the aviation and tourism sectors. He has a varied portfolio of governance appointments on a range of central Government (Statistics NZ), local Government (Chair: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, Chair: Invercargill Airport Limited, Rotorua Regional Airport Limited), corporate (New Zealand Experience/Rainbows End Theme Park Ltd), and service organisations (Search and Rescue Services Limited). 

Grant had an extensive management career in top executive roles with large aviation corporates, including Air New Zealand where he was General Manager Global Sales and Marketing and then General Manager of the International Airline, and then at Qantas Airways where he was Group General Manager Commercial Strategy in Sydney and then General Manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands.  A former Director of the Civil Aviation Authority NZ, and CEO/Senior Person on a Part 119/121 large commercial airline aviation certificate business that he established (Jetconnect), he has significant aviation experience. Having lived and worked in Singapore for 6 years, and also worked throughout many of the global regions of importance to New Zealand business and exporting, Grant has extensive experience in international business.

Grant has an MBA from the University of Auckland, and an earlier Dip BIA also from the University of Auckland.    

Danielle Auld

Following a degree in Financial Mathematics, Danielle has worked in the wealth management industry since 2004 in Edinburgh, London and Rotorua. Roles have included private client advice, management of a large division of an exclusive Private Bank in London and more recently as the Managing Director of a Rotorua based Financial Advice company.

Danielle is highly qualified in the investment space and has also completed the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation. She is a Chartered Director and holds a Certificate in Company Direction.

Mark East

Mark’s career to date has involved working with businesses both in New Zealand and internationally.  Mark has been in Managing Director roles for over 20 years and a director of companies in New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the UK.

Mark’s most recent role was the Managing Director of Rishworth Aviation, a provider of global flight crew solutions for airline start-ups, fleet expansions and airlines requiring long term manpower.  Mark travelled extensively with this role.  Prior to this Mark was involved in developing and managing third party logistics, including international freight forwarding and warehousing operations. 

Mark is excited about working with the Rotorua Airport, is a member of the Institute of Directors and has a BCom from Otago University. 

Fred Cookson

Ko whakapoungakau te Pae maunga, ko Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe te Moana nui, ko te Motutapu a Tinirau to moutere motutapu, ko Ruamata te Marae, Ko Ngati Te Kanawa te hapu, Ko Ngati Uenukukapo te Iwi, Ko Te Arawa te Waka! Ko Fred Cookson ahau!

Fred continues as a practising chartered accountant in his Opotiki based firm Cookson Forbes & Associates. Fred brings a strong whakapapa link to the Rotorua district, complimented by his extensive governance experience gained over the last 30 years. Having previously served on Iwi settlement, Public Sector and private Boards Fred currently holds two other Board positions.

 Fred is dedicated to regional development across the Bay of Plenty and relationship building amongst Business, Iwi and our community groups. Personal interests include whanau, Te Reo Māori, Mokopuna sporting & other activities.       

 “Ma Pango, Ma whero, Ka oti te Mahi” – Together the work will be done!

Marie Hosking

Marie Hosking is a highly experienced leader of communications, corporate affairs, and government and stakeholder relations across a range of sectors including aviation, financial services, and energy. She is a reputation management specialist with deep issues and crisis experience.

Marie’s executive career included nearly 10 years at Air New Zealand. As Head of Communications, and a trusted advisor to the CEO and executive team, she gained valuable domestic and international aviation business and tourism experience. Marie is very familiar with the challenges of building regional New Zealand air routes and passionate about aviation links as part of the lifeblood of regional New Zealand. 

Most recently Marie was General Manager of Corporate Affairs at ASB bank. She has a track record of professional development including completing executive education programmes at both Oxford and Stanford Universities and is a member of the Institute of Directors. Marie enjoys the challenge of developing and executing strategic communications solutions to complex business challenges.

Outside of work Marie’s family has supported Blind and Low Vision New Zealand through volunteer puppy raising.


Stuart Crosby, ONZM - Board Advisor

Stuart Crosby is experienced in both public and private sector governance. In the private sector, Stuart has been a company director in electrical contracting, residential construction, printing and publishing and, currently, in a temperature logging company.

In the public sector, Stuart has been a company director in hydro generation and public facilities and events. He is currently a director of Rotorua Airport and a consulting and professional development company for the local government sector.

Stuart has had over 30 years’ experience in the local government sector including 12 years as mayor of Tauranga and is currently the Vice President of Local Government New Zealand. He has held many chairmanship and leadership roles over that period. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and holds a Certificate in Company Direction.

Michelle Hingston - Board Observer 

Ko Ngongotaha te maunga

Ko Rotorua nui a Kahumatamomoe te moana

Ko Tunohopu, Ko Rangiiwaho, ko Pukaki, Ko Te Roro o te Rangi, ko Te Ririu, Ko Uenukukopako ki Hurungaterangi nga Hapu

Ko Ngati Whakaue te Iwi

He uri tenei no Pango Ngawene no Te Miri o Raukawa

Currently serving as the Strategic Maori Partnerships Manager at Whakatane District Council, Michelle has held a number of management and advisory roles in local and central government. Michelle has a Bachelor of Law from the University of Waikato, and is admitted as a Barrister/Solicitor of the High Court.

Bringing a wealth of expertise to the Rotorua Airport Board Observer role, with a strong background in strategic advisory, iwi/hapu engagement, legal, and policy domains, Michelle is driven by a passion for learning about diverse decision-making structures and how that could contribute to her own whanau, hapu, and Iwi. Committed to contributing valuable insights and fostering positive relationships, she aims to leverage her unique skill set to support the airport's strategic goals and, in the future, her own iwi and hapu.

Our Management Team

Nicole Brewer - Chief Executive

Nicole Brewer returned to Rotorua Airport in January 2022, having previously held the Chief Executive role in 2015-2016. Nicole has more than 25 years’ experience in the aviation and tourism industries, both in New Zealand and overseas, including eight years’ with Air New Zealand where she worked in Network Planning and then Alliances.

Nicole is passionate about tourism and aviation and is excited to return to Rotorua Airport team and continue the great work that has been achieved at the airport over the last five years. She has strong leadership and communication skills and excellent business acumen which will ensure the airport continues to improve and grow.

Born and raised in Auckland, Nicole spent most of her childhood holidays at Lake Rotoiti and is pleased to be at the helm of such an important asset for the Rotorua community. 

Contact Nicole for any queries 

Ben Alton - Fire & Operations Manager

Ben joined the Rotorua Airport team in June 2022 as the Fire and Operations Manager. Ben’s background is in urban firefighting, with a 19-year career with Fire and Emergency New Zealand that saw him reach the rank of assistant commander. Ben leads a team of 8 Fire and Operations staff who work together to ensure the airport operations run smoothly while providing expert aviation firefighting cover. Ben’s hobbies include trail running and mountain biking, so if he’s not at the airport, he’s probably in the forest somewhere.

Contact Ben for any queries relating to Fire and Airport Operations.

Julie Southall - Commercial and Projects Manager

Julie was welcomed to the Airport team in August 2022, bringing with her 20 years of experience in Marketing, Strategy, Innovation and Commercialisation. Combine this with her appetite to put the customer at the fore, Julie is well suited to bring a different perspective to the Commercial and Project Management role. 

Julie is looking forward to starting out in a new industry, and delivering on the vision for the Rotorua Airport, contributing to the wider community.  

Outdoors enthusiasts, Julie and her family enjoy everything Rotorua has to offer, with a passion for both the lakes and forest.  

Contact Julie for any queries relating to commercial property and future development. 


Julie Rowe - Terminal Services and Finance Manager

Combining a career in accounts and office administration, with a love of watching planes and people, saw Julie Rowe land her dream job at Rotorua Airport.

Julie has been at Rotorua Airport since 2006, after emigrating from England a year earlier and loves the airport atmosphere and the people she works with.

Contact Julie for any queries relating to terminal services carparking, or accounts.

Jayne Marsh - SMS and Aeronautical Manager

Jayne joined the Rotorua Airport team in March 2020 as SMS Manager. Her background is in aviation and she's a qualified Mechanical Engineer. She holds a Commercial Pilot Licence (Aeroplane), a paraglider PG2 rating and is a CAR Part 102 Certified RPAS pilot. She has also worked in the Engineering sector of aviation both for Air NZ and a general aviation maintenance company that also restored vintage aircraft. While traveling she designed composite processing equipment for the Aviation industry. Other non-aviation experience includes Project Manager at Red Stag Timber and Reliability Engineer at Mercury.

Jayne has lived in Rotorua since 2010 with her husband and two boys. Her hobbies are mountain biking, playing the drums and gardening. Jayne is a vastly experienced aviation practitioner and a welcome member of our team.

Contact Jayne for any queries relating to SMS and airport safety.

Jess Wilson - Business and Projects Co-Ordinator  

Jess joined the Rotorua Airport team in August 2020 as an Executive Assistant and has since evolved into the Business and Projects Co-Ordinator. 

Jess was born and raised in Rotorua and continues to do the same with her young family. Jess is passionate about seeing the Airport grow and ensuring all passengers/customers have a welcomed experience. 

For all queries relating to Airport Events, privacy/CCTV requests please contact jess.wilson@rotorua-airport.co.nz


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