Meet the team
Birchwood Grower Nominees
Birchwood Grower Nominees (BGN) Commmittee, are a Limited Liability Company that growers contract with to supply their fruit to Zespri. BGN then negotiates with Birchwood Packhouse for the provision of packing, cooling, inventory management, financial management and other services. The main role of BGN is to ensure the fair distribution of pool funds to growers in a transparent manner.
BGN Committee: Grant Luscombe – Chairman, Mary Coles, Jim Cooper, Robert McLeod, Hugh Morison, Judy Rapson, Hugh Topp, Steve Shirley, Robert Knyvett, Sonu Singh & Roanne Crone
Board of Directors
Birchwood has a board of 7 directors who provide an impressive combined knowledge of the kiwifruit industry. The board is required to be made up of one independent director, two directors from our investor shareholder DMS and four directors elected from grower shareholders. Mark Tingey is the independent Chairman. Working alongside him are growers, Robert Knyvett, Grant Luscombe, Hugh Morison and Ian West, and from DMS Klyta Inman and Derek Masters
Below are the members that make up our wonderful team
Karen has an amazing eye for detail, and she needs it to deal with the work load that passes across her desk. She has a huge amount of industry knowledge and is super organized. Her greatest loves are her, and husband Andy’s grandchildren and a good round of golf.
Grower Services Rep
Katrina is a self- confessed kiwifruit nerd. She is very passionate about her job and has a wealth of knowledge that she is always willing to pass on. Katrina is often seen scurrying out the door, trading high heels for gumboots on her way to help a grower that needs some expert advice.
Orchard Techincal Advisor
Aaron sets a high standard with everything he does. He is extremely organised and manages to make doing ten things at once look easy. Aaron is always looking to learn more, and takes every opportunity to expand his kiwifruit knowledge and skills. With a young family Aaron doesn't get much spare time but he always manges to to get in some gardening, fishing, underwater hockey .....
We love Natalie because she is always so happy. She is super organised and keeps us on track with all our food safety compliances and red tape. Nat always has a very practical way of looking at any problem and floats calmly through her day at work.
Linda is the glue that keeps the Packhouse together, without her things would not run as smooth as they do. She is our go to person when we need to “down load”, our helpdesk for all things health and safety along with anything else we can think of. She loves truck racing, has cats but is an undercover dog lover. We’re all nice to Linda – she pays the wages.
Carmel makes one of the most difficult jobs in the packhouse look easy. She’s our data queen and is a spreadsheet wizz. She is often called upon to fix those tricky formulas’ that don’t want to work. Carmels beautiful girls and hubby are her world, and they all actively support their iwi.
Clayton is ex-Navy, so the packhouse is always in ship shape and run like clockwork. He’s cool and calm under pressure and always has a ready smile. One of his hobbies is beekeeping, which could account for his sweet tooth.
Michael rules the coolstore and takes care of our inventory. He has dedicated a great chunk of his life to Birchwood and is our longest serving staff member. He knows every nook and cranny, and is always there when anyone needs a helping hand. Just listen for the beep of his forklift and you’ll find him.
Ana is our own Aretha Franklin. When she’s not busting out the gospel songs she's in our EDI office working alongside Carmel. She is always eager to learn and happy to take on a challange, whether it is at work or helping her community.
Palei has been a welcomed team member to Birchwood and the "Coolstore Crew". He's Michaels right hand man. Don't let his quiet ways fool you. Palei is a man of action, give him a job and it's done before you know it. Being a gym junkie gives Palei more than enough energy to speed through the day.
Rakesh works with and alongside our crews out in the orchard. He's not just brains he is also very skilled in practical work in the orchard. He doesn't spend much time at the Packhouse but he always comes in with a happy smile and hello. Rakesh is fluent in many languages and is always happy to teach us new words and phrases. He also plays a mean game of cricket.