Cawthron Institute Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors' role is to supervise the management of Cawthron Institute, establish its strategic objectives, set the overall policy framework within which research and business is conducted, and appoint its chief executive.


Tanya White Personal Assistant

+64 3 539 3270


David Kenning Director

David is recently retired from a career in the accounting profession; his role prior to his retirement was as Chief Executive of WHK Nelson, a member of the publicly listed Australasian accounting group. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and a director or advisor to a number of small Nelson entities. David has been involved with local community and sports organisations and chairs the Nelson College Trust Foundation.

Di McCarthy CNZM Director

Di was Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a national academy for the sciences, technology and the humanities, from 2007 – 2014. She has extensive experience with science policy development, science education and promotion, and research funding mechanisms. Di is a former Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and Associate Dean of the Faculties of Science and Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. She has had a long career as an academic and has wide management and governance experience, including six years as a Director of AgResearch. Di was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to science, business and women as part of the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Elaine McCaw Director

Elaine splits her time between her human resources consulting practice and governance roles. She was a principal of executive search firm Bell McCaw Bampfylde for nearly 10 years, leaving the firm in 2009. Earlier in her career she worked for Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand Ltd and the Works and Development Corporation. Elaine has extensive governance experience including as Chair of Hobson Leavy, Chair of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation, Advisory Board Member of Ocean Design, Director of the Central Region's Technical Advisory Services and Board Member of Hockey New Zealand. She is a member of the Nominating Committee of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation. Elaine has been a member of the Institute of Directors since 2004.

Ian Kearney ONZM Chair

Ian is an experienced company director with over 35 years’ experience as a director in New Zealand and Australia. His recent directorships include Network Tasman Limited, Nelson Airport Limited, Housing Corporation of New Zealand, Hobsonville Land Company, and the Marlborough Cheese Co-operative, as well as a number of private companies. He is also a trustee of several community organisations supporting the arts, youth, education and business assistance. Ian is a Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors and was previously a senior executive with companies involved in property development, tourism, construction and business finance in Australia and New Zealand. Ian was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014 for his contribution to the community, business and corporate governance.

John Cunningham Director

John is the Executive Director of Ignition Partner Ltd, which negotiates strategic alliance deals internationally and raises capital for New Zealand's high growth companies. He is Chairman of Motim Technologies Ltd and CLIMsystems Ltd, chairs the Industrial Advisory Board for the University of Auckland's Bioengineering Institute, and is an expert reviewer for the Ministry of Science and Innovation. A chemical engineer with corporate development experience, John helps companies to commercialise technologies.

Lees Seymour Director

Lees is of Ngati Hikairo affiliation (Kawhia - West of Hamilton) and is the managing Director of Nelson Management Limited, the management company for Nelson Forests Limited. Nelson Forests Limited employs over 500 staff and contractors in the Nelson region and supplies international markets in the USA, China, India, Spain, Japan, Australia and other countries. Lees is a qualified forester, has a MBA from Massey University and has further business qualifications from the Insead Business School in France. He has Chaired the NZ Forest Industries Council and has been a Board member of a number of forest industry organisations. He is an independent director of the property committee of Wakatu Incorporation, President of the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and a Trustee/Board member of a number of community organisations.

Meg Matthews Director

Meg is a former World of WearableArt (WOW) CEO and head of Australasia marketing for Air New Zealand. She started her career at the national airline as an accountant in 1996 after beginning her trade with Deloitte. She is a qualified accountant with a diverse and impressive track record of experience across key business disciplines of finance, human resource management, strategic planning and marketing. Meg, who grew up in Kerikeri and has Ngai Tahu affiliation, is also a Director of the Wellington-based Footnote Dance company, Associate Director of Ngai Tahu Property, Trustee of Appleby School and member of the Board of Nelson Basketball.