Our Board

MARK BOWATER (BOARD CHAIR)


Elected Member : AGM 2014 - AGM 2017

Mark Bowater is currently the Head of Parks Services for the Auckland Council, with a portfolio network of over 4,000 parks, and a unit of over 160 dedicated parks professionals. With over 20 years’ experience in parks and recreation management and senior leadership roles, he offers a strategic outlook combined with a proven track record of achievements that make a difference.

He is passionate about the role parks and open spaces play in urban liveability, and the significant contribution the wider recreation industry makes to the quality of our lifestyles in New Zealand. He is actively engaged in helping to raise industry standards, is a champion for green and sustainability outcomes, and promotes a collaborative and future-focused approach.

Mark has been a member of the New Zealand Recreation Association for over 17 years, and is an Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro).


MICHELE FREY (DEPUTY CHAIR)


Elected Member : AGM 2015 - AGM 2018

Michele’s career in the recreation industry began 15 years ago when she was at Lincoln University and working as a park ranger’s assistant while studying.

For eight years, she has been at Opus International Consultants, where she wears two hats: Senior Consultant (Natural Environment & Recreation) and Work Group Manager (Environmental Services). She has played a leading role in building links between young recreation professionals and the broader recreation industry through her involvement with the Generate Network, which she chaired from 2011-2014.

An active member of NZRA, she is a passionate advocate of intergenerational dialogue and closer collaboration between the parks, recreation, conservation, sport and leisure industries.


ALISON LAW


Elected Member : AGM 2014 - AGM 2017

Alison Law has made many contributions to NZRA, having acted as a board member previously in 2010-2011. She is a former NZRA Aquatics Project Manager, and has been part of the PoolSafe Advisory Committee. She has also made a large contribution to the Wellington Regional Advisory board, serving as Wellington Chair from 2008-2011.

She has a long list of awards and achievements in the recreation industry, including running the Just Add Water Seminar, receiving the Paul Stewart Memorial Award at the 2008 NZRA National Conference, and H2O Xtream receiving the NZRA Outstanding Pool Award 2007 while under her management.

She is currently Parks and Recreation Manager for Kāpiti Coast District Council where she is responsible for swimming pools, parks and open spaces.


JOHN BRIMBLE


Appointed Member: March 2015 – March 2018

John Brimble has had a long association with NZRA, from local government roles to continued personal membership of the organisation through Sport Otago. He has a multitude of qualifications including degrees from universities in Auckland, Otago, and Australia, and a long-term involvement in recreation and sport as a competitor, an administrator and a senior manager.

John has served on numerous boards including the Otago Museum Trust, Otago Early Settlers, Basketball Otago and NZ Universities Rugby League. He has also served on the board for Presbyterian Support for 14 years (12 as Chair of the Finance Committee) Water Safety New Zealand during a major time of change, and Sport Otago, where he is the current Chief Executive.

John brings a wealth of governance experience and knowledge, as well as networks formed during his work in the health, education, and local government sectors. He is currently a board member of the New Zealand Masters Games Company, Sportnet NZ (representing the 17 sports trusts across New Zealand), and Chairman of the Board for Southern Zone NZ Rugby League.


SARAH BEAMAN


Appointed Member : February 2016 - February 2019

Sarah Beaman has been a recreation professional for 20 years. She first worked in the community recreation space with Harbour Sport, a regional sports trust. She then managed UniSports Centre for Sport Performance, which provided sport science services for high performance athletes.

Since 1997, Sarah has been self-employed at Strategic Reality Ltd. She provides consulting services to a range of industries, including the sport and recreation sector – mostly around strategic planning, business improvement, project management and reviews. She is also a Director of the NZ Business Excellence Foundation. Previously an avid cricketer, coach and administrator, Sarah has had her fair share of sporting experience.

These days the focus is on family where Sarah, her husband and four young sons enjoy running and cycling events together. And not a week goes by without parental taxi-driver commitments to rugby, soccer, judo, swimming, tennis, cricket, touch rugby...


ANNIE DIGNAN


Appointed Member : February 2016 - February 2019

Annie Dignan is passionate about outdoor recreation. She has studied Outdoor Education at La Trobe University (Australia), and has held a variety of interesting paid and volunteer roles centred on the outdoors, sport, and recreation.

These have been in the field as an instructor and programme leader, in offices, around board tables and back to university to complete a Masters in Physical Education. Annie has lectured at University of Otago, leading the Applied Learning and Practice programme for the School of Physical Education. She has also been Programme Manager for Research and Evaluation at Mountain Safety Council.

Annie currently works as an educator at AUT University in the School of Sport and Recreation with responsibility for the relationships between AUT and many organisations in the sport and recreation industry. She considers tramping, mountain biking, skiing and camping as important parts of her life, and is looking forward to being a part of the sub-committee that helps shape the future of outdoor recreation leadership in New Zealand.


PETER FERGUSSON


Elected Member : AGM 2016 - AGM 2019

Peter Fergusson has been involved in Governance roles spanning, in excess, of 14 years – that experience, combined with over 20 years’ in CEO roles provides a sound depth of knowledge.

Peter brings a mix of Commercial and Profit-for-Purpose experience to NZRA. His current role as CEO of YMCA Auckland has extended his sporting and recreation experience to the broader challenges of community recreation, facilities management, fitness and aquatics industries, early learning centres, children’s services, outdoor education and youth (future young leaders).

His commercial background is founded primarily in Franchising – within franchised businesses and as NCEO for the Franchise Association of New Zealand – giving a unique insight into a range of successful businesses, proven business models and infrastructures.

In addition – he has a personal passion for the disability sector – driven by the challenges faced by one of his children. Something that has had a profound impact on his views, drive for seamless inclusiveness and the contribution he strives to make.

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