The Board comprises six members, elected for three-year terms. The Board is elected by the members and may include up to two additional co-opted members selected by the Board. The Board meets at least six times per annum.

Board Members

Dukessa Blackburn-Huettner

Dukessa Blackburn-Huettner

Dukessa is currently the Operations and Planning Manager for Healthy Waters, Infrastructure and Environmental Services, Auckland Council, responsible for managing and maintaining the Auckland Stormwater network, estimated at $4 billion and serving a third of New Zealand's population. Being a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), Dukessa brings over 15 years water industry experience. She has extensive experience in leading planning, development, operation and management of mainly three waters infrastructure, initially through consulting both in New Zealand and Europe, and then local government. She brings a unique mixture of management and technical expertise, across consulting and local government, from the perspectives of both a small and large Council. Dukessa has served on the Water New Zealand Technical Committee for seven years, three years as its Chair. Dukessa is keen to drive continuous improvement, technical excellence and delivering efficiencies in managing water assets. This is her second term on the Board.

Kelvin Hill
President Elect

Kelvin is currently the Utilities Manager for Western Bay of Plenty District Council a position he has held for over nine years. He is responsible for the successful delivery of the three waters and solid waste services to its 46,500 strong community. Kelvin has 36 years of experience encompassing a wide range of professional roles, including; engineering consultancy, infrastructure project management and general management of contracting business both within New Zealand and overseas. Kelvin has served on the Water New Zealand Technical committee for the last nine years and has been an active member of the Water Services Managers Group since 2006, currently serving on the committee.

Kelvin has recently completed an MBA at Waikato University and is keen to contribute as part of the Water New Zealand Governance Team in advocating and promoting the benefits of the organisation. This is his second term on the Board.

Helen Atkins

Helen Aitkins Photo

Helen Atkins is one of the founding partners of the boutique environment and public law firm, Atkins Holm Majurey. Helen has worked for a number of years for a variety of private and public sector clients on a range of environmental, local government and public law matters. Helen has served on the both the New Zealand Planning Institute local branch Committee (Wellington) and on the Resource Management Law Assn National Committee (including as president from 2009 to 2011). Helen recently finished an 11 year term as a member of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Committee of the Environmental Protection Authority (ERMA) having previously served as a Board member of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) before it became the EPA. Helen is in her first term on the Board after being a co-opted member for the past two years.

Vijesh Chandra

Vijesh is a charted professional civil engineer with 25 years of experience in NZ local government infrastructure management. He currently works for GHD in a number of roles including Liveable Cities and Communities Advisor, Business Leader for Stormwater, Project Director and as a CRM in the transport industry. Vijesh has played a key part in winning the International Water Association project innovation honour award 2012, IPENZ Arthur Mead award for the environment and sustainability 2001 and the New Zealand Engineering Excellence award for Environmental Practice 2012. He is also a Trustee of the National Wetland Trust and has been a Practice Area Assessor for IPENZ for more than 10 years. As a Board member, Vijesh is keen on making a real difference to the profile of the Stormwater industry in NZ, to Water New Zealand’s profile nationally and internationally and to NZ’s economy and environment. This is his first term on the Board.

John Mackie

John Mackie is the Head of 3 Waters and Waste at Christchurch City Council.

He first became involved with Water New Zealand in the early 1980s, where he began his work in the water sector while employed at the Te Awamutu Borough Council as assistant and then Borough Engineer. He has spent a number of years working as a consultant and contractor in areas which include sewer flow monitoring and water and wastewater maintenance in both Auckland and Wellington.

John has also worked in Dunedin where he was employed as council Water and Wastes Manager. In 2013 he joined the Christchurch City Council to assist with the rebuild of the city. He spent more than three years serving on the SCIRT Board, which has just completed the rebuild of $2.2 billion of horizontal infrastructure. Currently he is working on the development of a new capital delivery team to replace SCIRT, which completed its scope of work in June 2017.

This is his first term on the Board.

David Simpson

David is the General Manager – Civil and Maintenance Construction at HEB Construction. David previously worked for Downer NZ, after running his own business in Dunedin for a number of years, and prior to that worked for MWH, Metrowater, and Watercare in a range of senior business development, operational and commercial roles. David is keen to ensure that Water New Zealand is working on the strategic issues that are relevant to its membership, and that we ensure that best practice is identified and promoted across the industry.

This is David’s second ter m on the Board.

Garth Dibley, co-opted

Garth has extensive experience in the generation, retail, transmission, and distribution sectors of New Zealand’s electricity industry. He took up the position of Chief Executive at WEL Networks in September 2014.

Garth has previously held leadership roles at both Transpower and Meridian Energy. Appointed as General Manager Grid Performance at Transpower in 2010, he led operations and asset maintenance functions of the national grid.

Prior to this, Garth was based at Meridian Energy, working as General Manager Markets and Production and then General Manager External Relations.

Garth has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Canterbury and an MBA from Waikato University. He has completed executive training programmes at Kellogg and INSEAD business schools of management.

Garth was awarded CEO of the Year 2016 at the Westpac Waikato Business Awards.