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NZCTA Executive

Executive Members


Martin Thomson

Martin Thomson Martin Thomson is a partner with DLA Piper in Auckland. He has over 25 years' experience advising clients on corporate and commercial law in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Martin is a specialist in mergers & acquisitions, Overseas Investment Act & Regulations, securities law, company law, joint ventures, and commercial law & contracts. While Martin has experience advising on transactions across a broad range of sectors, he has a particular focus on advising overseas organisations including from China investing in the primary sector. This has included investments in the forestry, agriculture, dairy and meat processing and wine sectors. Martin heads DLA Piper's China practice, which focuses on providing advice to organisations undertaking investments between China and New Zealand. The firm's Chinese clients have undertaken investments in the agriculture, dairy and meat processing, property development, tourism and health product sectors. Martin is the Chairman of the New Zealand China Trade Association, New Zealand’s longest-serving and largest China-related business association. NZCTA works closely with businesses and both Governments to promote trade and investment between China and New Zealand, having done so for over 33 years. Martin has also been actively involved in establishing DLA Piper New Zealand's exclusive relationship with global law firm DLA Piper, which has offices in all major countries including in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Deputy Chairman

John Cochrane

John Cochrane John Cochrane has been active in China since 2002. What initially started out as occasional business trips to establish sales partnerships in and around Beijing became a deep immersion in 2005 when the company John was leading took the decision to set up their own direct presence in China. John was responsible for the establishment of a successful branch office employing 14 staff in diverse roles. John led the local team to negotiate sales agreements with several large Chinese SOEs in a number of heavy industries, including power generation, mining and steel production. John was resident in Beijing for several months each year between 2005 and 2011. In 2011 the company was successfully sold to General Electric and John joined NZTE as the Trade Commissioner posted in Guangzhou from December 2011 through January 2017. The Trade Commissioner role provided John the rare opportunity to work closely in an advisory capacity with over 100 New Zealand businesses who spanned the full spectrum of success. John’s team were responsible for assisting New Zealand companies achieve $145 million dollars of new sales revenue during his time in the south. Upon his return to New Zealand John joined ATEED in Auckland, the City Council’s economic development agency, where he continued to focus on China-related matters. John is currently the Head of Group Sales at Facteon Intelligent Technology Ltd, a role that requires daily interaction with China in the advanced manufacturing sector. The combination of insights gained from John’s mix of public sector service and hands-on commercial experiences are invaluable.

Honorary Executive Life Members

Stuart Ferguson

Stuart Ferguson

Stuart Ferguson has since 1991 been elected to 4 terms of 2 years each to date as Chairman of the association and during that time has hosted a number of Chinese Leading Politicians, including Zhu Rong Ji, Wu Yi.

He has visited China on more than 70 occasions and been the Leader of numerous trade delegations sponsored by NZCTA.

Formerly General Manager / Director of Cosco, the Chinese National ocean carrier for many years, he is now a Director of several companies.

Rob Jeffrey

Rob Jeffrey

Rob Jeffrey has been involved in trade in South Asia since the late 60's and first went to China in 1988. His Company Jeffco International Ltd. has had a formal presence in China since 1994 with key interests in the Agri-business sectors. He has accompanied a number of official Trade and Business development missions to China over the last 20 years.

Executive Members

Carol Cheng

Carol Cheng Carol Cheng, the founder of Hong Consulting Limited, is an experienced business advisor and China business specialist. Carol has 20 years of accounting, auditing and advisory experience in New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. She has focused on cross-border advisory work covering China strategy, market entry, business compliance and due diligence for mergers and acquisitions. Prior to founding Hong Consulting, Carol held leadership roles in New Zealand and China including the Executive Director of PwC New Zealand and the Partner at Grant Thornton in China. Carol has worked with hundreds of clients in New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. She led teams to complete many audits, outsourced accounting and tax compliance, financial due diligence and advisory projects in China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. She is also keen to assist SMEs to simplify the accounting and tax compliance work. Carol has professional experience in a wide range of industries such as retailing, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, trading and services, real estate, freight forwarding and technology etc. She helps to bridge the business and culture gaps of doing international business. She is passionate about sharing her professional experience to help businesses grow. Carol has been an Executive Member of NZCTA since 2014 and Treasurer since 2016. She also co-leads our Delegations and China business network working group. She has played an important role in managing our strategic relationships with Chinese government agencies such as China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (“CCPIT”) and business delegations from China such as The China Chamber of International Commerce (“CCOIC”). Since 2014, Carol has actively involved and made great contributions to our many key events and business forums over the years such as 1st New Zealand -China Business Assembly with CCOIC in March 2017, NZCTA China Business Awards 2015 & 2017, China Zhejiang New Zealand Trade and Investment Symposium in May 2018, CIIE Auckland Business Forum in May 2018, CCOIC China New Zealand Business Council Business Forum in July 2018 and NZCTA China Executive Workshops. Carol speaks fluent English and Mandarin. Carol is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand since 2001. She is also a member of The Institute of Directors in New Zealand ("IoD"). She was the winner of 2017 Emerging Director Award of IoD, Auckland Branch and the 1st Future Director of Financial Markets Authority New Zealand (FMA).

Leon Fung

Leon Fung Leon is a successful team leader served multi-national companies in the dairy and food segment for more than 25 years, gained solid experience in different areas including commercial operation, process technology and engineering, large CAPEX project management etc, he has in depth understanding of the dairy industry both in China and New Zealand. Being a Chinese Kiwi, Leon is passionate in building stronger business ties between the two countries, advising in capital investment, assisting trade and market assessment, he successfully helped the establishment of Yashili New Zealand Ltd. Leon is currently the General Manager of Winston Nutritional Ltd., a business focus on dairy based nutritional food products. He previously held senior management roles in Yashili New Zealand, Anhyro China (now part of SPX Flow Technology), Tetra Pak China; worked for New Zealand Dairy Board, Kiwi Northland Dairy, Nestle China in his career path. Leon holds master’s degree in dairy technology from Massey University and EMBA from Fudan University, he is also an active member of New Zealand Asian Leaders

Richard Fyers

Richard Fyers

Richard Fyers is a partner of the law firm, Fyers Joyce, having previously been with Buddle Findlay and worked in Beijing with the Chinese law firm, King & Wood. He has advised on a large number of projects in China and been involved in the sale and purchase by private equity of a number of businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Vallen Han

Vallen Han Vallen Han is an experienced and passionate marketer with China focus. Vallen came to New Zealand in 1999. She has obtained a BA in International Economic Cooperation from Northeast University of Finance and Economics in China(1995), a first class Honours Degree in Marketing(2000) and a Master degree with distinction in Information Systems (2001) from Victoria University of Wellington. She worked on various marketing roles for the Nielsen Company, Axa New Zealand and New Zealand Post before she established her own business New Zealand Information and Communication Technology Ltd (NZICT), focusing on Daigou resource integration and content management. i.e. helping clients to expand sales and brand awareness through Daigou Channel via mobile app Wechat.

Chao Ian

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Michelle MacWilliam

Michelle MacWilliam Michelle MacWilliam is a versatile and capable woman. A specialist in the areas of developing business relationships, particularly in the local domestic market and between New Zealand and China, she is experienced in strategic planning, executing events, and project management and in building long-term relationships across cultures. Michelle has multiple business entities such as Michelle Mac-business strategist and Retail Selling Ltd that support businesses to develop and Omni-channel relationship with clients. She is the director of Duo Communication Ltd, a company committed to facilitating long-term business relationships between China/Asia and New Zealand as well as being part of the Hampton Venture Partners Asia engagement team. Michelle is respected both within New Zealand and Chinese business communities for her contributions in this area. Michelle aside from being on the executive committee of the New Zealand, China Trade Association, she is the appointed secretary for the Christchurch Business Club, vice chair for the Christchurch -China Sister Cities Committee and vice chair for Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society. She also sits on the board of governance for West Christchurch Woman’s Refuge. In 2014 she was an acknowledged finalist in the North Canterbury Business Awards Professional Service Award and a finalist in Women Of Influence Finalist 2014 in the local and regional category. Michelle is committed to raising the awareness of both the opportunities and challenges for small to medium-sized businesses in the advancement of the Sino - New Zealand relationship based in a broader understanding of the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Angela Meng-Yee

Angela Meng-Yee Angela Meng-Yee is a Mergers and Acquisitions Advisor. She has advised, and helped many small, medium, and large companies maximise new business and investment opportunities across a host of industries. One highlight was leading an initiative to build out long-term cross-border investment deals with an international real estate company. Angela also provides deal origination support and counsel in Asia Pacific, for a New York-based investment and advisory firm. This experience, including stints in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand, has enabled her to build a wide network of investor contacts (HNWIs and Institutional). Combining entrepreneurial flair and a passion for business, Angela has a proven track record of delivering positive results for clients, within budget and time deadlines. Another major interest area is the promotion of increased trade and investment ties between New Zealand and Asia (in particular, China). Angela is a current executive board member of the New Zealand China Trade Association. She believes “the skies the limit” when it comes to new Sino-Kiwi business opportunities, and was chairperson, and a member of the awards team, for the NZCTA 2011 Trade Awards. In 2012, she helped secure a major new sponsor for the NZCTA, and played a key role in establishing closer ties with the Shanghai Entrepreneur Association in 2013. This relationship quickly grew from strength to strength and led to the signing of a historic MOU between the two associations in 2014. Angela also helped develop and launch the NZCTA Young Associates in late 2013. The goal of the NZCTA Young Associates group is to build closer business, academic and cultural ties between young people in both countries.

Jim Poppelwell

Jim Poppelwell Jim Poppelwell is a China specialist based in Hawke's Bay who advises on communications, research, market entry, sales, branding and marketing to companies in New Zealand and China. His career began in Taipei after studying at Taipei Normal University, before continuing in Shanghai and featuring research in cities across China. He has a strong focus on developing China-related opportunities for provincial New Zealand companies, and to this aim works with economic development agencies and councils to upskill local businesses. Jim speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese and has presented on Chinese consumer culture and branding in Asia and New Zealand.

 Luke Qin is an international trade banker with one of New Zealand's leading banks, looking after established exporters and importers in the Central Region. Originally from Sichuan, the "Land of Abundance", home to world famous spicy cuisine and pandas, Luke first arrived in Christchurch as an international student and was selected to play 1st XV rugby for Linwood College in his first year in New Zealand despite not knowing the rules of the game previously. Aside from occasionally tackling his opponents a tad early and pretending he did not speak English while playing rugby, he was a school prefect and received many academic & contribution awards. After graduating from the University of Canterbury, he worked as a journalist for a local bilingual community newspaper and in B2B sales before relocating to Wellington to join the banking industry and completing his Masters in Applied Finance at Victoria University of Wellington. Luke currently serves as President of the Wellington Chinese Association, National Executive member of the New Zealand Chinese Association, Honorary Advisor & Life Member of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, Board Advisor for Sister Cities New Zealand, Honorary Treasurer & Standing Committee member of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Wellington City Ambassador and "stand-in" lead singer of the OrientXpress Jazz Band. He also sits on the board of Transparency International New Zealand, leading its Affiliations & Anti-Money Laundering programmes. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors, Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, Friends of Waiwhetu Stream, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand by the Governor-General at the age of 27. Luke was awarded a long service medal by the New Zealand Fire Service as a volunteer firefighter and successfully completed the Sky Tower Stair Challenge in 2018. He has been the NZCTA Newsletter Editor and Executive Committee member with responsibility for Wellington since 2010.

Dr David Robb

Dr David Robb David is Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management in the Graduate School of Management at the University of Auckland Business School and Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. He has MBA and PhD degrees in Operations Management from The University of Calgary. He directs the China Studies Centre at the University of Auckland, co-directs the Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing – Greater China, and is a Beachheads Advisor for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. His research interests include operations and supply chain management in China, with some of that work funded by Foxconn Technology Group. He has been extensively involved with Tsinghua’s International MBA (a collaboration with MIT Sloan) and the Tsinghua-INSEAD Executive MBA (ranked 1st globally by The Financial Times), and has taught short courses for firms including Fletcher Building, Sanofi Aventis, Sinopec, and Whitcoulls. David is keen to see more and deeper engagement and understanding between New Zealand and China. He is husband to Val, and father to four daughters and two sons.

Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson Tony Robinson brings 27 years of experience successfully building brands and businesses internationally. He is the International Director at Endeavour Consumer Health (ECH), the consumer division of EBOS Group, the owner of well-known New Zealand brands such as Red Seal, Gran’s Remedy & Antiflamme. China is a key strategic market and navigating through China’s Online & Offline channels is the opportunity Tony & his team explore daily. Tony brings a strong background in growing brands in an international environment through senior commercial roles that were based in South East Asia, North Asia and the Middle East. Helping companies, as well as brands, grow internationally was the focus of Tony’s time at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. This culminated in his last role as New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Singapore helping New Zealand companies expand into Asia. Tony understands first-hand the journey of New Zealand’s entrepreneurs having created, grown and sold his own healthcare start-up. This included developing and manufacturing products internationally, such as in China, for the New Zealand market. Having imported from and exported to China, Tony understands the role of organisations such as the NZCTA to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and building of connections for business success.

Jonathan Watt

Jonathan Watt Jonathan is a Director of Globalink Consulting Ltd, a company that assists New Zealand companies do business in North Asia and Greater China in particular. More recently he has also become joint owner of Globalink Internships Ltd, a company connecting students and professionals with quality work-based experience in Asia. Jonathan has spent more than 25 years advising NZ companies on doing business in North Asia including time working in China, South Korea and Hong Kong while with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Jonathan has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Canterbury and is currently on an International Languages Industry Advisory Board at AUT.

Ex Officio - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

 Ben Steele is Lead Adviser in the North Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working on the trade and economic relationship between New Zealand and China. Ben’s previous roles in the Ministry two stints at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (most recently while New Zealand was on the UN Security Council), Deputy Head of Mission in Tehran and Wellington-based roles focused on the New Zealand-Pacific and New Zealand-United States relationships. He has also worked at the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Ex Officio - New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Mike Arand

Mike Arand After over three years based in Shanghai as Trade Commissioner and leading the Greater China Food & Beverage sector team for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) Mike returned to Auckland late 2014 to head up the Greater China team for NZTE in New Zealand. Prior to joining NZTE, Mike has held senior positions in New Zealand companies developing & implementing global strategies; introducing new business models; and leading the entry into new markets around the world. Mike has travelled and worked extensively around the world and has spent considerable time in Asia. He first travelled to China in 1989 and since then he has been a regular visitor so has been able to observe first-hand the dramatic growth and development of the Greater China region while gaining a diverse first-hand experience covering various sales and distribution channels, supply chain & logistics, product sourcing, and Government in China, Hong Kong, Macau, & Taiwan. Mike also sits ex officio on the Executive Committee of the New Zealand Hong Kong Business association and on the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre.

Ex Officio - New Zealand China Council

 Stephen is Managing Director of Jacobi Consulting Ltd which specialises in international trade, government relations and economic development. Stephen is currently the Executive Director for the New Zealand China Council. The New Zealand China Council forms part of the NZ Inc China Strategy, launched by the Prime Minister in February 2012. The NZ China Council is intended to support a key goal of the Strategy - to retain and build a strong and resilient relationship with China. Stephen also serves as Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum and as an Alternate Member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Previously, Stephen served as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council, a national pan-industry body representing the forestry and wood processing sectors, the country’s third largest exporter. Earlier, he established and led the New Zealand Trade Liberalisation Network – a business organisation aimed at building broad public understanding and support for trade. Stephen also ran the NZ US Council as Executive Director 2005-2014. In all these roles he has been a frequent media commentator on industry and trade issues. Stephen had extensive diplomatic, trade and government experience including posts as Deputy High Commissioner in Ottawa, Assistant Trade Commissioner in Paris and adviser on trade and diplomatic issues with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ex Officio - ATEED

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang Yan Zhang is Investment Specialist at ATEED – Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development, an Auckland City Council Controlled Organization. She was Partner, New Zealand and Australia with Crowe Horwath, and Director with KPMG NZ, helping Asian businesses in their cross border investments. With over 20 years’ experience in international business, Yan worked with both New Zealand and Australian government agencies (NZTE and AUSTRADE) and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. Through international bidding projects Yan has the project management and delivery experience in industries such as heavy machinery and hi-tech products, ship fabrication, complete plant and technology transfer. She has helped businesses across both Australia and New Zealand win success in doing business with overseas countries including China, and consumer products sector including food and beverage and apparel was also her focus of advisory services particularly in optimizing market structure and revenue/profit. Having been a member of the senior management team of a major Chinese multi - national company, Yan has the practical experience in cross border investment strategic planning and management, and international trading project management with South East Asian countries, South Africa, Nigeria, the USA, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. She was accredited by the Chinese government the prestigious life time senior professional title in international commerce as based on the practical and academic achievements. Yan was also one of the major negotiators in the discussion of a joint venture with a major German company.

Executive Director