Economic development specialist Michael Bassett-Foss has been appointed chief executive of the fledgling Waikato economic development agency, Te Waka.

Bassett-Foss was raised in Hamilton and is a former chairman of the Economic Development Associations of New Zealand, and a former manager of economic development at Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

He has spent the past 17 years in Napier, most recently as project director of the multi-million dollar Water Wairarapa project.

The new agency also named one of its co-architects, Waikato born and raised economic developer adviser Harvey Brookes as its chief operating officer.


Brookes, who has an economic development consultancy, oversaw the establishment of Te Waka and since 2015 has been the programme manager for its forerunner Waikato Means Business.

He has an extensive background in economic development and public policy at regional and national levels.

Te Waka interim board chairman Dallas Fisher acknowledged the contribution of the agency's interim chief executive, Stuart Gordon, who will continue to run Waikato Innovation Park and the Food Innovation (Waikato) spray drier complex.

Bassett-Foss and Brookes will start in their new roles this month and work alongside Te Waka's board and stakeholders to take the results of last week's Waikato economic development summit to build an economic development action programme for the region. This will be presented to the region and Minister for Regional Economic Development later in the year.

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