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 a retired chartered accountant, who worked in public practice where he specialised in Audit and also business advisory services to the SME sector.  Before retiring, he was chief executive of the largest accounting practice in the Nelson region (now Crowe Horwath, Nelson).

David is a member of the Institute of Directors and also a Director of Nelmac Ltd, a Nelson City Council CCO providing asset management and environmental services throughout the top of the South Island. He also provides advisory services to a local engineering business.

David has been involved in governance roles in local  community and sports organisations, including Nelson College, Nelson College Trust Foundation and the Tasman Rugby Union.

Dr Dianne McCarthy CRSNZ CNZM Director

Di has extensive experience in a number of senior management and governance roles in the tertiary education, science and health sectors.  She is a Director of Powerhouse Ventures Ltd, a Director of the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research, and a member of the governance boards of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, and is Chair of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge. She is a Trustee of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and the Hearing Research Foundation (NZ). She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Education in 2008, a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand for her services to Science in 2015, and a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to science, business and women in 2016.

Dr Matt Peacey Director

Matt began his scientific carrier creating customisable vaccines using the Rabbit calcivirus to prevent and cure tumours.  He was then a Senior Scientist at the National Influenza Centre, based at The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR).  Following a move to Nelson, Matt launched and ran Innovate Nelson and was named Nelsonian of the Year for business.

Matt is currently the Managing Director of FundTap, an innovative business in the FinTech space providing invoice finance to SMEs, and of Childcare Funders, providing cash flow solutions to New Zealand’s childcare centres.  He also owns Silvereye Labs, a small development agency that delivers mobile app solutions for businesses and government organisations.  In addition, Matt manages the research efforts at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).  Matt currently sits on a number of charitable trust boards and advisory boards for local SMEs.

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.

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 CLIM Systems Ltd and a Director and shareholder in Resin & Wax Holdings Ltd. He is an expert reviewer for the MBIE and Callaghan Innovation. A chemical engineer with corporate development and Venture Capital experience, John helps companies to commercialise technologies.

John picked up line management and corporate development experience working for Fernz Corporation Ltd for 15 years during its growth phase. Experience included licensing technologies, protecting IP and growth, through internal development and external acquisition. The company expanded in industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and animal health products to reach sales of $1bn. After Fernz, John set up Caltech Capital Partners, one of the early Venture Capital firms in NZ.

John is a fellow if IChemE, Engineering NZ and a member of IOD. He has an ME in environmental engineering and a DipBIA. He is also a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Scientist. He is a past President of IPENZ.

Lees Seymour Director

Lees 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 an 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. He is of Ngati Hikairo affiliation (Kawhia - West of Hamilton).

Meg Matthews Chair

Meg’s commercial experience includes more than 10 years in senior management positions. Meg is a qualified accountant who started her career with Deloitte. Since then she has amassed a diverse and impressive track record of experience across key business disciplines of finance, human resource management, strategic planning, and marketing. She is a former CEO of World of Wearable Art (WOW) and was Head of Marketing (Australasia) for Air New Zealand.

In recent years, Meg has concentrated on governance and her current roles include: Director of Meridian Energy and Director of Mevo, Director of the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency.

Meg grew up in the Bay of Islands and is of Ngai Tahu descent. She says that, “Cawthron is a place where we have leading scientists from around the world engaged in generating new ideas as well as near-to-application research. Research done here is making a difference to the economy, society, and environment in Nelson, New Zealand and the world.”