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.

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.

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 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 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.”