John Bongard: Chairman
John Bongard has served almost 36 years with New Zealand company Fisher & Paykel and most recently as CEO and Managing Director, prior to his retirement in 2009.
Since his retirement, John has continued his involvement in the New Zealand business and enterprise sector as Chairman of Netball New Zealand, Deputy Chairman Vodafone Event Centre Trust, Local Chairman BNZ Highbrook, Deputy Chairman Totara Foundation – Totara Hospice, Chairman of PSCTH Thailand, and Director of Meridian Energy, H J Asmuss & Co, NARTA Australia and WilliamsWarn Ltd.
John is also passionate about contributing his time and resource to the South Auckland community where he was raised. He is Chairman of The Rising Foundation, a programme created to assist at-risk youth in Manurewa and Papakura. The Foundation works with parents, schools and other agencies to identify and develop pathways for these teenagers, using outdoor education programmes, one-to-one mentoring and group therapy.
He is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit – ONZM, for services to business, awarded in the 2010 New Years Honours.
Peter Cullinane is founder and Chief Executive of Lewis Road Creamery Limited as well as a board director of APN News and Media, STW Communications and the charity, Kiwis for kiwi. His previous business experience includes the development of some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands, applying strategic and creative thinking both locally and internationally. He holds Masters degrees in Business Administration and Management.
Philippa (Pip) King is an Auckland native now residing in Northland who has the good fortune of having had three separate career paths.
In the tourism industry, she has held senior roles in the retail, inbound and meetings segments including several years in the USA promoting New Zealand as a tourist destination. She managed the Best of Golf New Zealand and The Best Spas of New Zealand tourism marketing networks.
Her interest in the not-for-profit sector began with voluntary positions with NZSPCA, Lifeline and Kidsline and was Manager of Manukau Victim Support. Pip was the founding Executive Director of The First Tee of New Zealand, a non-profit entity that delivers life skills education to children through the game of golf. She has an active family donor fund within the Auckland Foundation and has served as a Justice of the Peace since 2003.
In the judiciary, Pip was a bench sitting Justice for seven years and is currently a Community Magistrate with jurisdiction in the Auckland and Northland District Courts.
Pip brings governance experience as a former trustee of Auckland Foundation with special focus on effective and strategic grant making.
Richard is a Director of SKYCITY Entertainment Group, Auckland International Airport and Hobsonville Land Company and has enjoyed a distinguished career in property investment and development. Richard founded, and is currently a director of, the Kiwi Income Property Trust (KIPT), which is now the largest property vehicle listed on the NZX. He is well-known for his visionary development of Matakana Village with its well-known Farmer’s Market, and his passion for art, architecture and wine has created a major tourist attraction at Brick Bay. Richard championed the formation of the Committee for Auckland, in 2002, and is the current chairman.
Mervyn Ah Chee
Merv has a wealth of community knowledge, having worked and lived locally all his life and spent many years in various community service roles.
Merv has been a member of the Rotary Club of Otahuhu since 1972, is a Trustee of the Restaurant Association Education Trust and the Papatoetoe Sports Charitable Trust, is the current Chairman of Totara Hospice Charitable Foundation, and is an advisor to St Andrew’s Trust.
Merv’s uncle, Tom Ah Chee, opened the first Foodtown Supermarket in 1958 in Otahuhu and from 1960 Merv was involved in further Foodtown stores in Takanini and Kelston. Merv then spent 39 years in the catering industry, catering significant sporting and corporate events across Auckland. In 2004, Merv was inducted into the Restaurant Hall of Fame and in 2013 was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to hospitality and community.
Valerie has a wealth of knowledge and experience in public health and community development.
Since 2011, Valerie has served as the manager of the Papataunuku Kokiri Marae, which over this time has become a key space for the community to create significant positive social impact.
Prior to this, Valerie held roles at Manukau City Council as an Injury Prevention Manager, Tamaki Ki Raro Trust as a Youth at Risk Facilitator, and at Work and Income NZ as a work track facilitator/case manager.
Valerie is also an active member of many community groups in South Auckland, including governance experience as a member of the Maori Advisory Panel with Counties Manukau Police and as Chairperson of Koru School.