Chairwoman building a global company also plays a big part in the city’s arts and culture.

Bronwen Scott Holdsworth

Dame companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the arts

Bronwen Holdsworth is the finance director and chairwoman of the Holdsworth Group which operates a number of manufacturing, farming, forestry, property and investment companies under the flagship organisation Pultron Composites, which she set up with her husband Peter Holdsworth in 1983.

As well as her work with Pultron and as its managing director until 2007, Holdsworth has made a significant contribution to the cultural and artistic development of Gisborne where she has lived since marrying Peter.


She has served on the board of the Gisborne Opera Festival and oversaw the development of First Light Tourism, which organised the Gisborne 2000 celebrations. She is a member of the Te Ha 1769 Sestercentennial Trust's planning committee for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's arrival in New Zealand.

Holdsworth is a keen pianist and said music had always been an integral part of her life and that of her extended family. She has played an active role in setting up music, drama, language and reading programmes in Gisborne and has sponsored the Gisborne International Music Competition.

Holdsworth is fond of Gisborne, which she says has a tremendous community spirit as well as an interesting and vibrant entrepreneurial sector.

"Because we're relatively isolated and a smaller centre, there are a tremendous number of entrepreneurs here and we don't just look to Auckland or Wellington for business or culture and other things, we look to the world," she says. "I think that helps foster an entrepreneurial spirit."

She is a current director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and a Trustee of the Gisborne War Memorial Theatre, the Gisborne International Music Competition and the Sunrise Foundation.

Pultron has grown into the biggest composite materials and technology pultrusion company in Australasia and makes glass-reinforced fibreglass which is used in the construction sector. Pultron opened a Dubai marketing office in 2005, something Holdsworth said allowed the company to expand its global reach.

"We had customers [in the Middle East] and one of the reasons we were missing out on jobs was because of the long lead time it took to get product from here to there, and there was no incumbent so we decided to establish a marketing office there initially and then that turned into a manufacturing facility which was opened in 2010," Holdsworth says.

Holdsworth was a member of the Apec Women Leaders Network and Conference in 1999 and a member of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology's Technology New Zealand Advisory Committee from 2000 to 2002.