Callaghan Innovation has picked the Bay of Plenty as its first call in what will become a regular programme of taking its monthly board meetings out to the regions.

This week the Newnham Park Innovation Centre in Tauranga is hosting the government agency's chief executive, executive leadership team and full board for two days of meetings, which included a dinner with regional business leaders.

"We've had a number of meetings in different areas, but the Bay of Plenty is our key first region that we are visiting in this way," said Callaghan Innovation chairwoman Sue Suckling.

"We have some other regional visits planned for later around New Zealand. But we are coming to the Bay of Plenty first in recognition of the outstanding innovation that is going on. It's a really interesting area with a lot of very positive innovation going on."


Ms Suckling noted that Callaghan perceived the region as a place where business innovators shared their experience. Newnham Park is a key innovation hub in the region, housing a cluster of companies including Plus Group, Locus Research, Kiwifruitz, Heilala Vanilla and Southern Produce.

Callaghan's programme included a meeting of its executive leadership team at the park yesterday, and a dinner with regional business leaders last evening, followed by the monthly board meeting today.

Ms Suckling said Callaghan Innovation saw the region as playing a leadership role in many areas. "We also work closely with the Maori economy and a number of industry players."

Hemi Rolleston, Callaghan Innovation's general manager Maori economy, said the meetings allowed board members to have practical exposure. "It's a really positive initiative to have the meeting hosted in the region."

Callaghan Innovation Board:

* Sue Suckling: (Chairwoman) Also chairs ECL Group, Barker Fruit Processors, Jacobsen Holdings and NZQA.
* Al Monro: Principal/director, Broadfield Advisory.
* Alison Barrass: CEO, Griffins Foods; director, Methven.
* Frances Valintine: Founder/chair, The Mind Lab by Unitec.
* Kate McGrath: Vice-Provost of Research, Victoria University.
* Dr Richard Janes: Director ships include Centreport, Gallagher Group, & Real Institute of NZ.
* Robin Hapi: NZTE board member; Chairman/Te Amokapua of the Council of Te Wananga o Raukawa.
* Simon Botherway: Has served in a number of chief executive and governance roles.