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Director and Authority profiles

MNZ is made up of a Board of five members appointed by the Minister of Transport. The Board appoints the Director of Maritime New Zealand, who has independent statutory powers under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

Keith Manch

Keith Manch – Director

Keith took over the role of Chief Executive and Director of MNZ on 5 December 2011. He has worked in the public sector since 1977 and brings extensive leadership experience in a number of policy and operational senior leadership positions in regulation, compliance and enforcement.

After starting his working life in the NZ Police, Keith has worked at the Commerce Commission, as the General Manager of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, as the General Manager of Gambling and Censorship Compliance and Enforcement at the Department of Internal Affairs, as the General Manager Integrity Services at the Ministry of Social Development and as Deputy Secretary, Regulation and Compliance at the Department of Internal Affairs. Immediately prior to joining MNZ Keith was, for a short period of time, the Chief Executive of the Real Estate Agents Authority – the Crown Agent responsible for regulating real estate agents.

He has a Master of Communications degree from Victoria University and is an alumni of the Government Advanced Leadership Programme. He currently also leads the whole of government Compliance Common Capability Programme.


David Ledson

David Ledson – Chairman

David was born in Reefton. In April 2009 he retired from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 42 years service – spending the last 5 years as Chief of Navy. He had a variety of appointments at sea, ashore, in New Zealand and overseas. With his wife Barbara, he divides his time between Wellington and Otaki.

David was appointed Chairman in February 2010.


Peter Cowper

Peter Cowper

Peter is COO at Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), Owner/Director at Quorum Group Ltd and The BDH Group Ltd. Peter has extensive management experience, including CEO at Digital Porirua Trust, General Manager, Science and Engineering Services at BRANZ and General Manager, Network Delivery at Telecom.

Prior to these roles Peter held a variety of management, technical and leadership roles within Telecom. Peter specialises in management consultancy and mentoring senior managers and executives. He became a member of the Authority in May 2011.


Belinda Vernon

Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai

Maxine has a background in financial and management accounting in the public and private sectors, and operations management in the education industry.  She has held management and accounting roles for Tainui Group Holdings, Environment Waikato and Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and was previously on the executive board of Waikato Tainui.

Maxine currently chairs the Northern Region Health School and the Proprietors of the Taharoa C Block.  She is also a member of the board of Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu, the New Zealand Upper Central Rugby League and the Waitakaruru Arboretum Sculpture Trust. She has strong iwi links with the Waikato and King Country regions.


Belinda Vernon

Belinda Vernon

Belinda is an Auckland-based consultant with a background in accounting, shipping and conservation. She has worked in senior accounting and management roles in the shipping industry in New Zealand for Tasman Express Line Ltd and McKay Shipping Ltd. Her initial shipping experience was gained with Ellerman City Liners in London.

Belinda was a Member of Parliament from 1996-2002 and is a director of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS Science) and a trustee of the Auckland Philharmonia Foundation. She recently completed a 10-year term as a trustee of the Motutapu Restoration Trust.


Russell Watson

Russell Watson

After more than 37 years working in the New Zealand. shipping industry, Russell retired as General Manager of NYKCool New Zealand in 2012, though continues to represent the company in this country on a part-time basis.

Russell was also a member of the Executive of Shipping New Zealand for more than 20 years, including time as Chairman. His leisure interests are also predominantly focused on pleasure boating and fishing.