Vern Dark reckons it takes a good team in order for the captain to stand out.
And he reckons it's being the captain to some very good teams that have seen him made a member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's New Years Honours List.

Mr Dark and his wife, Annette, emigrated to New Zealand from their native UK in 1974, lured by work on the "Think Big" projects of the day and he's been ''chuffed to be here'' ever since.

Mr Dark was the chairman of the NorthTec Council and has contributed his experiences to many commercial enterprises in Northland.

He was the managing director of Fletcher Challenge Petrochemicals, CEO of the Northland Dairy Co-operative and Northland Port Corporation. He is currently a board member of several commercial enterprises, including Counties Power and Invivo Wines.


As NorthTec chairman he was instrumental in maintaining the institution's profitability through a period of funding cuts, and worked to ensure that tertiary education is available across Northland.

But he said credit for his honour must also go to all the teams he had led and also to his wife — the couple celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year.

''I was surprised (when told he had been awarded the honour) and it was completely unexpected,'' Mr Dark, an engineer who has also worked in the aerospace industry, said.

''We came here (to New Zealand) for two years and we're still here. We have no regrets whatsoever. New Zealand is one of those places where there is no class system - unlike in the UK - and if you are prepared to work hard there's nothing to stop you achieving.''

He said part of his success was being able to gather together great teams.

''That is essential. I've managed to get great leadership teams at all the businesses I've been involved with. It started in Taranaki (working on the gas turbine Stratford power station from 1976) where I built a really good team right through Fletcher Challenge to Port Corp and NorthTec.

''So the teams really should take the credit, I've just been the captain and it's about motivating staff so that they come to work to do a great job. It's important that they trust you and you trust them, and I'm very fortunate to have built very good teams around me. Annette has very much been a big part of my team all along.''