Tourism Infrastructure Fund panel

A panel of independent advisers, tourism sector and government representatives reviews Tourism Infrastructure Fund applications and makes recommendations to the Minister of Tourism.

Panel members

The Tourism Infrastructure Panel is made up of:

  • an independent Chair with commercial and public policy expertise
  • 2 independent members with commercial and infrastructure investment experience to test out proposals against commercial criteria
  • an industry representative to test the impact of, or need for, proposed projects from a tourism business perspective
  • a local government representative to provide input on the practicality and relative levels of priority of proposals
  • 2 central government representatives to provide a public policy perspective, and co-ordinate wider government investments. Together with the Department of Conservation, we each provide a representative.

Current members

The current members of the Tourism Infrastructure Panel are:

Judy Kirk, Chair

Judy Kirk is an experienced director who owns a consultancy that provides strategic advice to different organisations.

Judy is a Justice of the Peace and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 for services to the community.

She was Chair of the Lotteries Commission from 2009 to 2017, and is:

  • the Chair of Airways New Zealand
  • Deputy Chair for the Board of MetService, and
  • a member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Norm Thompson, Deputy Chair

Norm Thompson had a long career at Air New Zealand and held the role of deputy CEO before his retirement in 2013. He is:

  • Deputy Chair of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development
  • Director of Queenstown Airport
  • Director of Preno Ltd
  • Director of Dot Kiwi
  • a committee member of New Zealand Golf Open, and
  • a Trustee on the Young Enterprise Trust Board.

Norm spent 3 years on the New Zealand Tourism Board. He has been Chairman of both the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand, and the Air New Zealand Environment Trust.

Kauahi Ngapora

Kauahi Ngapora is the General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikoura. Whale Watch is owned and operated by the Ngāti Kuri people of Kaikoura.

Kauahi has experience in commercial tourism, regional tourism development, retail trade and food services. He is a member of Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura, and the Kaikoura Marine Guardians (a Ministerial Advisory Committee).

He was the first Chairman of Destination Kaikoura and has been:

  • Chairman of Kaikoura Information and Tourism Incorporated, and
  • a member of the Kaikoura District Council Tourism and Development Committee.

Chris Roberts

Chris began his career as a broadcast journalist before working at Parliament, including 3 years with the Minister of Tourism. He worked in management roles in the energy sector before joining Tourism New Zealand in 2012 as General Manager Corporate Affairs.

In 2014, Chris became Chief Executive of the Tourism Industry Association (now called Tourism Industry Aotearoa), the peak member-based association for the New Zealand tourism industry.

Sarah Hannan

Sarah Hannan is the Program Director for the Southland Regional Development Strategy. She was formerly the Chief Executive of the Southland Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah has 20 years’ experience in marketing and general management in the tourism, retail, manufacturing and education sectors.

Iain Cossar

Iain Cossar is General Manager of our Tourism and Economic Development Branch. Before this, Iain held a number of senior management positions across our Ministry including:

  • General Manager Communications
  • General Manager Commerce and Consumer Environment
  • Acting Chief Financial Officer.

Bruce Parkes

Bruce Parkes is Deputy Director-General Policy and Visitors at the Department of Conservation. He was previously General Manager of Resources, Energy and Communications at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The role of the panel

Before each round of the fund opens, the Minister of Tourism releases a Priorities Statement setting out the objectives for that round.

We review applications in consultation with other agencies where appropriate.

The panel considers our feedback, and recommends funding for projects it believes will help meet the objectives in the Priority Statement. The Minister of Tourism has final approval over which applications are funded.

Tourism Infrastructure Fund — Application and assessment process