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

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 King

Philippa (Pip) King is an Auckland native who has had the good fortune of having 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 networks. 

Her interest in the not-for-profit sector began with voluntary positions with NZSPCA, Lifeline, Kidsline and Manager of Manukau Victim Support.  Pip was the founding Executive Director of The First Tee of New Zealand, a non-profit entity based in East Tamaki that delivers lifeskills education to children through the game of golf and she has served as a Justice of the Peace since 2003.  

In the judiciary, Pip has been a bench sitting Justice in the four Auckland District Courts for seven years and is currently a Community Magistrate.

Pip brings governance experience as a trustee of Auckland Communities Foundation since 2008 with special focus on effective and strategic granting.


Richard Didsbury

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.