Northlanders are showing they are hungry to learn how to govern their organisations better and the chairman of a major New Zealand company is coming north to give them a few pointers.

Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-Operative boss Bill McLeod, who will speak at a lunch event at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei on August 23 at noon, says governance is a key factor in the success or otherwise of any organisation no matter what size, including his own transtasman multi-million-dollar operation.

His topics will be the company and governance, focusing particularly on the farming sector, while Professor Brad Jackson, co-director of the New Zealand Leadership Institute at the University of Auckland Business School, will discuss promoting good leadership through good governance when he comes north a few weeks later.

He says the two are often addressed and developed in isolation "when in fact they are highly inter-connected".


The events are organised by the Northland committee of the New Zealand Institute Of Directors, underscoring its campaign to help improve the level of governance right across Northland organisations.

Northlanders have already shown their enthusiasm for upskilling in these areas by oversubscribing the committee's inaugural one-day Governance Training workshops run in Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Whangarei last month, which were attended by about 125.

Attendance was limited to 25 in each workshop. An extra workshop was scheduled in Whangarei to meet demand and there is already a waiting list for future workshops.

Costs were kept as low as possible ($199 plus GST) with the help of a grant from the ASB Community Trust and the institute providing the training at a bulk discounted rate.

Well-known businessman Mike Simm, a Northland NZID committee member and a trustee of the R Tucker Thompson Trust (which operates the youth training sailing ship, teaching teamwork, leadership and new skills), said the institute believed improving understanding of governance would make Northland organisations much more effective. The flow-on effect would be that the organisations would be much more likely to attract funding.

He said workshop participants had listed nearly 350 organisations they were actively involved with at a governance or senior management level. These included health and sports organisations, marae, Maori trusts, and education, youth and community facilities. Some participants had come away from the workshops saying all future trustees or board members should undertake the one-day course as a pre-requisite to being on boards.

Mr Simm said a key aim of the committee was to encourage the appointment of Northlanders to boards.

"Currently there's a strong tendency to appoint from elsewhere," he said.


The Northland committee runs regular networking events and hopes to run more workshops over the next few months, with finance essentials and strategy essentials at the top of the list.

Registrations are open for both speaking events. Cost: $35 for members; $40 non-members, GST incl for Bill McLeod; $32/$37 for Brad Jackson. Information/queries: the Institute of Directors website under Branches & Events.


Northland firm Employer Services is celebrating 10 years in business with a "10-themed" workshop covering 10 common causes of concern among employers, 10 things you don't want to get wrong and 10 tips for avoiding expensive consequences.

Processes covered will include performance, bullying and harassment, extended absence, absenteeism, 90-day trials, suspension, misappropriation, excessive sick leave and restructuring/redundancy. Venue: Spire Pavilion Lounge, Northland Cricket Association, 79 Okara Dr, Whangarei. Time: 9.30am-1pm, with registration, 9am. Bring business cards. Cost: $150 plus GST. Information/queries: email with procedural fairness 10th birthday in subject line.


Northland-based Venture Group (trainers, facilitators, researchers and about to celebrate its fifth anniversary) is offering a one-day workshop in Essential Facilitation Skills with Jennifer Ross. The workshop is suitable for anyone who runs meetings or facilitates group discussions. Topics include understanding the facilitator role and group dynamics; learning to engage participants, work towards group agreement and ensure objectives have been met; learning strategies to deal with difficult behaviour, issues and conflict;

Venue: Bounty Room, Forum North, Whangarei. Time: 9am-4.30pm. Cost: $250 plus GST. Information/queries:

Also (see story above), Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-Operative chairman Bill McLeod.


Increasing Your Profit Margin, seminar three in the On Track For Success series run by Sudburys Accountants & Business Performance Specialists through winter (Sudburys says the trick for increasing profit margins is understanding the business life cycle and improving your business model). The final seminar is Your Most Important Investments on October 9; a guide for business owners on the most productive areas for investment, such as retaining good staff, effective training and marketing techniques.

The seminars are run at the conference facility at the Sudburys premises at 20 Commerce St. The seminars begin at 5.30pm, with pre-drinks and nibbles from 5pm. Bookings to (09) 430 4888 or


The BNZ Partners Growth Programme presents one-day, 9am-3pm workshop "future-proofing through exit and succession planning" with facilitator Deane Purdue.

A member of both the Australian Society of Accountants and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, he is an authority on trusts, estates and business structures, specialising in protection, exiting and succession and has written many books on his specialist subjects. Venue: Whangarei Partners Centre. Cost: gst incl, single, $460; double, $828.