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About Council
~ Te kaunihera


Executive Team

The Executive team consists of:

  • James Palmer - Chief Executive of HBRC

    Born and raised in Hawke’s Bay, James has been Chief Executive since June 2017, having previously served as the Council’s Group Manager Strategic Development. Prior to working at the Council, James was Deputy Secretary Sector Strategy at the Ministry for the Environment and Director Strategy at both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry before that. Between 2005 and 2008 James served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, and was an advisor in the Labour-led government between 1999 and 2003.
    James is a former Chairperson and Trustee of the Eastern and Central Community Trust, has previously served two terms as a trustee of the Hawkes Bay Power Consumers’ Trust, and is a former director of Esk Hydro Power Ltd. James was educated at Victoria and Otago Universities and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • Liz Lambert - External Relations Group Manager
  • Jessica Ellerm - Corporate Services Group Manager
  • Iain Maxwell - Resource Management Group Manager
  • Tom Skerman - Strategic Development Group Manager

    Prior to his appointment as Group Manager, Tom was HBRC’s economic development manager.
    Until 2004 he was involved in a sheep, beef and horticulture business in New Zealand and Australia.  A Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 gave him the opportunity to spend 5 months travelling internationally, observing first-hand the global challenges and opportunities associated with the primary sector’s use and management of natural resources.
    Tom has practiced law locally in Hawke’s Bay and worked in Wellington as a commercial development manager for the Maori Trustee, Te Tumu Paeroa, where he identified, analysed and executed commercial opportunities for owners of Māori freehold land.

  • Graeme Hansen - Asset Management Group Manager

    Born and raised in Hawke’s Bay, Graeme has been Council’s Group Manager Asset Management since January 2017, having previously served as the Council’s Group Manager Water Initiatives, with a specific focus on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project. Graeme has had a long history with the Council and its predecessor organisation with a background in flood control and drainage and managing a range of civil engineering projects.
    Graeme’s current responsibilities include asset management, engineering, biosecurity, coastal processes, open spaces/forests, and Councils service delivery functions. Graeme hold a New Zealand Certificate in Engineering (Civil) qualification.

  • Viv Moule - Human Resources Manager
  • Ian Macdonald - HB CDEM Group Manager
  • Diane Wisely - Executive Assistant









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