2021 Speakers & panellists

Below is our line up of industry leaders, experts, and decision makers for Constructive 2021.


Hon Grant Robertson

Hon Grant Robertson was born in Palmerston North and lived in Hastings before his family settled in Dunedin.

He studied politics at Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1995. At university he was the President of the Otago University Students Association and became Co-President of the New Zealand University Students Association.

Grant joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1997 where he managed the New Zealand Overseas Aid Programme to Samoa. He was then posted to the United Nations in New York, working on global environment and development issues.

On his return to New Zealand, Grant became an advisor to former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Following this, he took a business development role with the University of Otago, working with researchers, investors and businesses to develop and commercialise the university’s world-leading research.

Grant’s belief in social justice and a desire to see every New Zealander achieve their potential led him to politics, and he has been the Member of Parliament for Wellington Central since November 2008. In Opposition, Grant held a range of portfolios, including Finance from 2014 to 2017.

Aidan Jury - Sales and Franchise Director, Jennian Homes

Aidan Jury is Sales and Franchise Director of Jennian Homes. Aidan in 2021 was elected as the Chairperson of the RMBA – Residential Working Group and represents RMBA with MBIE on the Building Sector Working Group focusing on policy and advocacy to the Construction Sector Accord.

Having held senior roles within the Building Industry in both NZ and Australia, Aidan has a pragmatic view towards ensuring the views of our industry and RMBA members are well heard by our regulators and policy makers. 

“Change is constant through our sector and we must continue to improve and build better stock – the building sector is however highly and likely over represented at present in terms of submissions and potential policy changes” which are all heading our way.

It is critical that our industry gets credit and ensures that we understand the already high quality of new builds and the likely unintended consequence for the many pending policy updates.


Andrew Crisp - CEO, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

Andrew joined Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when it was first established in October 2018.

As the lead Government agency for housing and urban development, HUD works across the system and with others to prevent and reduce homelessness, increase public and private housing supply, modernise rental laws and standards, increase access to affordable housing for people to rent and buy, and to support quality urban development and thriving communities. 

Prior to HUD, Andrew held a number of public sector leadership roles, including at Land Information New Zealand, The Treasury, the Department of Labour, the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Arthur Grimes - Senior Fellow, Motu

Arthur Grimes is Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research where he has conducted numerous research studies on New Zealand’s cities, housing and infrastructure. He is also Professor of Wellbeing and Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Government.

Arthur is a former Chairman and Chief Economist of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. In 2018, US National Public Radio’s Planet Money described him as “one of the most important economists in the world” for his pioneering work on inflation targeting.

Chris Bunny - Deputy Chief Executive, Building, Resources and Markets, MBIE

Chris leads MBIE’s Building, Resources and Markets Group. The Group supports a fair, competitive business environment and well-functioning telecommunications, building and construction, and energy and resources markets. It also serves as the New Zealand Government's Procurement and Property Functional Leader. 

Chris is MBIE’s signatory on the Construction Sector Accord and one of his teams supports the Accord’s policy work. Other priorities under Chris’ leadership to drive sector change include the Construction Skills Action Plan, the Building System Legislative Reform Programme, the Building Code Delivery Framework, and the Building System Strategy.

Chris has held various public sector policy roles in New Zealand and abroad including The Treasury (New Zealand and United Kingdom) and the Ministry of Social Development. He also spent time in the UK supporting government procurement of infrastructure.

Chelydra Percy - Chief Executive Officer, BRANZ

Chelydra Percy joined BRANZ as CEO  2013 following leadership roles within science, innovation and commercial organisations including Callaghan Innovation, Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute), the Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO) and Telecom.

Chelydra is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, a Companion of Engineering New Zealand and Vice-President of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). She is also a member of New Zealand industry organisations focused on industry transformation including the Construction Strategy Group, the Construction Industry Council and the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum.

Chris Hunter - Managing Director, NZ Strong Group

Chris has worked in the building industry for over 35 years in which he has been a professional QS and then moving onto the building side starting with Mainzeal and then taking the leadership role as CEO of Hawkins 2002-2012. Since 2014 he has owned NZ strong Group a commercial construction company in Auckland.

Chris has also held directorships on 2 NZX companies – Argosy property and Airworks.

Chris is a fellow of RICS and has supported the industry in many advisory roles.

Darryl-Lee Wenderborn - Managing Director, Beca

Darryl-Lee Wendelborn is a collaborative and values-driven business leader who embodies the changing face of the engineering industry and was critical to Beca’s successful transformation from regionally focused to a global organisation. 

In 2019 she was named winner of the Engineering Leadership Award at the Engineering New Zealand ENVI Awards.  Darryl-Lee has engaged in many initiatives advocating for the greater involvement of women in STEM and has led Beca in early collaboratively with the South Pacific Indigenous Engineering Students (SPIES) association and the University of Auckland to promote engineering to Māori and Pasifika. Darryl-Lee also has a strong track record in contributing to and leading major, community-shaping infrastructure projects.

David Kelly - CE, Registered Master Builders 

David Kelly is Chief Executive of the Registered Master Builders Association. Prior to talking up his current role, David was a Deputy Chief Executive for the Department of Building and Housing and subsequently Director of the Canterbury Recovery Programme for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

David was extensively involved in the Government’s response to the Canterbury earthquakes from day one, including establishing the technical investigation into major building collapses, which provided key technical information to the Royal Commission. He also led the Building Act changes that were part of a package of reforms in the construction sector. Going back further, David held a number several senior roles in local government, including that of Chief Executive of South Waikato District Council.

Fran Wilde - Chair, Urban Development Institute of New Zealand

Dame Fran Wilde is a professional company director, chair or member of several boards.  She was an MP and cabinet minister (Tourism, Foreign Affairs & Trade) then, as Mayor of Wellington, revitalised the city by using the first District Plan under the RMA to facilitate residential development in the centre and encourage development of the hospitality sector. She built infrastructure (the new sewage plant and the stadium), renewed stormwater networks, bought/redeveloped the St James Theatre and along the way introduced “Absolutely Positively Wellington”.  

Fran later chaired the award-winning Wellington Waterfront Development and led several large projects as chair of the Wellington Regional Council. She drove the idea of the Transmission Gully project  until its commencement. She is still deeply involved in the resilience sector, including as chair of the Wellington Lifelines Group.

Grant Thomas - Development Manager, Russel Property Group

Grant is a Civil Engineer and has been working in the Construction Industry for 20 years. He is a Development Manager for Russell Property Group, prior to this he was Construction Director for Dominion Constructors. Both companies are part of the Russell Group of companies that provide services and products across all sectors of the construction and property industry. 

Over his career, Grant has worked on multiple award-winning projects including Britomart Station, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Art Gallery. Grant headed the establishment of Dominion Constructors into the South Island and has spent the last 5 years involved with multiple projects at the University of Canterbury including the recently completed Beatrice Tinsley multi-level timber building. 

Grant is also a Director of SiteSafe New Zealand.


Ian McCormick - General Manager Building Consents, Auckland Council

Ian McCormick is currently Auckland Council’s General Manager Building Consents. This is a position he has held since the amalgamation of the Auckland region’s territorial authorities.
Ian was previously Vice-President of the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand and a past member of MBIE’s Building Advisory Panel. He is the chair of the Metro Sector Group - a national collective of regulatory managers focused on improving consistency and efficacy of building control service delivery. He is the chair of the Building Research Advisory Council (BRAC). 

Ian holds a Masters degree in Business, a Bachelors degree in Science from University of Auckland and a Diploma in Business Administration from Massey University. Ian is in the process of completing an additional Masters degree in Management from Massey University.

Jehan Casinader - Facilitator

Jehan Casinader is one of New Zealand’s leading journalists.

He was named “Best Political Columnist” at this year’s Voyager Media Awards, and “Broadcast Reporter of the Year” in 2020.

Jehan is a familiar face to members of the building and construction sector, and is hosting Constructive for the fourth year in a row. 

Using his sharp interviewing skills and pacy style, he’ll create a framework for meaningful dialogue at Constructive, and help our speakers to shine.


John Coop – Managing Director and Principal, Warren and Mahoney

John Coop is the Managing Director and Principal of Warren and Mahoney’s Auckland studio.

During his tenure as a Principal and shareholder since 2001, John has spearheaded major design projects, overseen significant growth for the Auckland studio, and has been a pivotal player in developing thought leadership in the wider New Zealand architecture industry. With close to 20 years’ experience, John is an Architect Member of the Auckland Council Civil Defence Recovery Advisory Group – Built Environment and a member of the Executive of the Auckland Branch of the NZ Property Council, an NZPC Member of the Building Research Advisory Council (BRAC), an NZIA Nominated Member of the Auckland Council City Centre Advisory Board, a past president of Auckland Architecture Association, a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), and has been a significant contributor to the NZIA Graduate Development Programme.

Prior to Warren and Mahoney, John spent three years working in London with Wilkinson Eyre Architects. John is consistently active in the New Zealand architecture profession and remains committed to educating and building the knowledge of young architects, both through graduate programmes and by developing a strong internal culture within the team at Warren and Mahoney.

Johnny Calley - Managing Director, Calley Homes

Johnny founded industry leading Calley Homes in 2008, which specialises in designing and building architecturally designed homes. Johnny's breadth of experience covers almost the entire residential spectrum as he is also a director, founder/co-founder of two other development companies that deliver house and land packages and land only options to the market. As well as extensive local industry knowledge and experience, he has worked in the UK for several years, giving him an international perspective. 

Johnny is currently a director of Registered Master Builders and is Chairs of the Residential Working Group, which provides strategic residential building and development information back to Master Builders. 

John Sneyd - General Manager, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

John leads the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employments (MBIE) Building System Performance branch, which is the government’s lead advisor on the building regulatory system, including the New Zealand building code. He comes from a government legal and regulatory background, and spent five years as the chief legal advisor at the former Department of Building and Housing before moving to a senior management position in another government agency.

John will be joining a panel on Friday afternoon at Constructive to discuss the regulation changes impacting the building sector along, along with issues currently facing the consenting system. 


Judi Keith-Brown - President, Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects

Judi Keith-Brown is the founder and director of boutique Wellington architectural practice JKBA, which specialises in housing alterations and additions. A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, she spent several years in Glasgow, where she worked on large public housing projects.

On her return to Wellington, Judi practised as an architect and taught at Victoria University for 10 years. For the past decade, she has run her own practice, served as an assessor and convenor for the New Zealand Registered Architects Board, and has continued to review the projects of architecture students at Victoria University.

Lara Bennett - Executive Director, PwC New Zealand

Lara has over 20 years of business experience, working in the construction sector for 4 years prior to joining PwC, where she is currently an Executive Director in the Deals practice. 

Following on from her time in construction, Lara has maintained a strong interest in the property sector, where she has been involved in a number of high profile insolvencies, including as lead Director for the Bridgecorp and Mainzeal Receiverships and receiver of Ebert Construction.
She undertakes advisory assignments and assists with firm wide PwC proposals and engagements in the sector, and has also led a number of presentations and workshops with industry stakeholders regarding challenges being faced and improving outcomes.

Maretha Smit - CE, Diversity Works

Maretha Smit is the Chief Executive of Diversity Works New Zealand. 

She has a passion for issues of social justice and sustainability – and has held a number of transformational leadership roles, including executive roles in her native South Africa that required significant transformation as the country moved from apartheid to democracy. 

With a degree in psychology, an MBA and a trustee role at a migrant support organisation called Belong Aotearoa, she has a strong appreciation of challenges in diversity and inclusion. She believes in the power of connecting widely, and listening deeply, to build bridges across cultural and social differences.

Mark Holland - Partner, Hazelton Law

Mark Holland is a Partner at Hazelton Law. The Association has partnered with Hazelton Law for over five years with Hazelton Law providing advice and services to Members, including the free referral service.

Mark advises client’s on contract negotiations and carries out contract reviews in relation to the commonly used standard form contracts and bespoke contracts.  

Mark’s litigation practice encompasses adjudication, arbitration and court proceedings. He also has experience in alternative dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, and judicial settlement conferences.  He also advises clients on claim preparation for variations and extensions of time.

Mark Todd - Founder, Ockham Residential

Mark Todd has been a residential property developer for nearly two decades. Starting out on the tools, Mark worked as a builder with his brother and father, before co-founding Ockham Residential with Benjamin Preston in 2009. 

It might seem a bold-bordering-on-bonkers move to start building apartments in the middle of the GFC, but Mark (and Ockham) have always believed in Auckland — and had a definite vision of what a medium-density Tāmaki Makarau can be. “We call ourselves ‘urban regenerators,’” he says. “We want to play our part in making the new Auckland work, without losing the charm of the old.” Ockham’s mission: "To make beautiful buildings that people love to live in, homes that honour this dynamic Pacific city, stand the test of time, inspire others – and bring an awesome Auckland lifestyle to as many people and communities as we can."

In June, Housing Minister Megan Woods opened Ockham’s 13th development, Kokihi in Waterview. So far the company has delivered 720 apartments, with another 706 scheduled for completion over the next three years.


Oliver Hartwich - Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative

Dr Oliver Hartwich is the Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative. Before joining the Initiative, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, the Chief Economist at Policy Exchange in London, and an advisor in the UK House of Lords.

Dr Hartwich holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration and a Ph.D. in Law from Bochum University in Germany. His articles have been published by major newspapers in Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.

Paul Southey - Director, A1 Homes

Paul Southey born and raised in the Wairarapa. His journey from a young truck driver, secondary school teacher, Award winning builder and Mentor is inspiring. 

Leaving school with little education, spinal injuries to a world of learning and building successful relationships.

Having built over 700 Homes, invested in rental properties, renovations, spec homes, subdivisions and built in internationally. With leading roles in Maori in Business, Sports, Master Builder and Iwi. organizations. Champion of Woman, Maori and Pacifica in construction.

Paul's passion and commitment to building connections and supporting diversity is influential. 


Patrick Dougherty - General Manager Construction and Innovation, Kāinga Ora

Patrick Dougherty leads the Kāinga Ora Construction and Innovation Group, which is charged with delivering the Crown Entity’s new public housing across New Zealand and now delivers more than 2,400 new homes per annum and rising. It also reconfigures and renews part of the existing Kāinga Ora housing portfolio of more than 63,500 homes.

The group Patrick leads, of more than 250 property professionals, is also actively pursuing innovations, such as the use of offsite manufacturing, as well as undertaking research and development to enable Kāinga Ora to build better homes through the use of technology, undertake faster, safer and more predictable procurement, and save on the time and cost of delivering new homes.

Peter Cody - Partner, PwC New Zealand

Peter has over 20 years of experience in providing commercial advisory services and is passionate about helping to create a thriving and sustainable construction sector in New Zealand through the delivery of challenging and constructive commercial insight.

Peter works with a variety of construction businesses from larger commercial construction businesses through to residential builders with growth aspirations.

Peter’s background has focused on combining strong commercial and financial insight with a knowledge of operational models.  Peter is regularly supports organisations to set long term goals and determine the steps required to achieve these goals.

Phil Eaton - Managing Director, Greenstone Group 

Phil has 25 years’ experience in the property industry. Currently Managing Director of Greenstone Group, he has previously worked for BNZ, St Lukes Group, Westfield, SkyCity and Multiplex.

During the last 15 years he has used his wealth of corporate business, project governance and property development experience for Greenstone and its clients.

The business has grown into a 55 person strong company advising and managing projects for some of New Zealand’s biggest vertical build projects. He is a hands on leader with diverse commercial and project management skills, assisting clients establish design strategies, feasibilities and delivery strategies.

Ross Copland - CEO, The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission

Ross Copland has a background in the design, procurement, financing, and delivery of infrastructure as an engineer, an asset manager and a Chief Executive.

He has worked in commercial construction and property on both sides of the Tasman, finishing up as National Operations Manager for Westfield in 2013. 

He returned to New Zealand to pursue a career developing tourism infrastructure. Ross holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with First Class Honours, a Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA.  

Sandra Hazlehurst - Mayor, Hastings District Council

Sandra Hazlehurst is Hastings’ first female mayor, and was elected in 2017.  Housing for the community is one of her top priorities.

She worked tirelessly to get The Hastings Place-Based Plan developed and implemented.  By working collaboratively with iwi and government, this has been the blue-print for her council’s development of its successful housing strategy. The Hastings Place-Based Plan earned Hastings District Council an excellence award from Local Government New Zealand.

Shane Brealey - Director, NZ Living

Shane trained as a Civil Engineer and then moved into project management, construction and development.  He spent 15 years with Australian corporates holding senior positions in Lend Lease, Mirvac and Multiplex.  Then founded and ran NZ Strong Construction for 10 years before going on to found NZ Living.

NZ Living has completing 300 apartments to date, a further 250 are in construction and another 250 are in design.  These homes are built for 100 years, cost $2,200/m2+gst and are sold significantly under valuation to assist first home buyers. Design, construction, funding and ownership learnings from this will be shared openly. 


Stacey Mendonça - President, National Association of Women in Construction

Raised in Christchurch, Stacey is a Quantity Surveyor with around 30 years’ experience of New Zealand construction, mostly in Wellington.

While working for Fletcher Construction in 1996, Stacey identified that the few women in the construction sector at that time sometimes encountered challenges in the predominantly male environment.  With two others, Stacey established the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in New Zealand to encourage women to pursue, establish and sustain successful careers in the construction industry. She is the current National President of NAWIC, and has continued to be involved since day one. 

Stacey is the Chief Estimator at Pacific Doors Systems Limited, a specialist manufacturing business located in Seaview.  

Steve Killeen - CEO, Downer

Steve was appointed CEO of the New Zealand business in January 2017.  He is a senior executive and director with over 25 years’ experience in the delivery of social infrastructure including transportation, water, energy and communications.

Steve joined Downer in 2004 and he has held a number of senior operational roles including Executive General Manager, Northern Region and Executive General Manager, Infrastructure.  He was a member of the New Zealand leadership team for eight years.  Prior to his appointment as New Zealand’s CEO, he was Downer Group’s Executive Manager, Strategy and Development.  Before joining Downer, Steve held senior positions in both consulting and contracting businesses in the UK.

Steve holds qualifications in business, management and engineering including a Master’s Degree in Engineering Studies from Auckland University.


Stephen Middleton - Principal, Jasmax

Architect Stephen Middleton has over 25 years of experience in the construction sector, and is a Principal at Jasmax, a multi-disciplinary design practice in New Zealand. Jasmax work across a wide range of sectors including commercial, education, health, community and civic, transport, master planning, and residential.
Stephen specialises in the tertiary education sector, with health and science research and campus master planning being particular areas of focus. Over the last decade, Stephen has led multiple major projects including the concept design for Scott Base for Antarctica New Zealand; the Faculty of Medical Health and Sciences Grafton Campus Redevelopment for the University of Auckland; and the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre, for the University of Canterbury. His completed projects have resulted in world-class, future-proof facilities that provide NZ’s tertiary and science research sectors with the high quality amenities needed to compete internationally. 

Sunil Surujpal - General Manager Digital & Technology, BRANZ

Sunil is the General Manager – Digital and Technology at BRANZ and has been in the role for over one year. Previously he held senior roles at FairWay Resolution, PwC and Accenture where he was involved in a numerous business transformation programmes. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with first class honours) and Bachelor of Science from Auckland University

Victoria McArthur - Chief Executive, MATES in Construction

For the past seven years Victoria has been part of the construction industry and her passion for and commitment to people within the industry is hard to beat.

This passion for people was piqued by the mission of MATES in Construction to reduce suicide in the industry, something Victoria is definitely determined to see happen as the Chief Executive of Mates.

Her vision is to break down the stigma and create a positive cross-industry culture toward mental health and suicide prevention. “We need to work hard, inject passion and be consistent about what we do as an industry to look after our people.”