Annual Conference Programme

Pioneering future pathways

1 August 2024
Te Papa Tongarewa
55 Cable Street, Wellington


Register your attendance at the registration desk located on level 3, outside the Oceania room.


Gavin manages the Nufarm New Zealand business where he enjoys developing great teams, driving strategic innovations, solving problems, creating value-added customer solutions, and developing planned and proactive solutions for a rapidly changing industry.

Having started his career as an agronomist, he has first-hand experience of the value these solutions can provide for growers in the field. This experience has helped him to keep the end-user front of mind when developing any innovative solutions and opportunities.

Gavin is a chartered member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and has a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne.

John Ballingall

John joined Sense Partners in early 2019 after a decade of being Deputy Chief Executive at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. Prior to that, he worked for MFAT as Deputy Director in its Economic Division from 2005-2008. He recently served as an Independent Director on the Board of New Zealand Winegrowers.

He has worked on the major policy and business issues of the day for New Zealand and overseas clients for nearly 25 years; with a focus on trade policy, development, climate change, economywide modelling, the primary sector and sustainability.

John’s recent agriculture- and trade-related projects include:

John has a Master of Applied Economics from Massey University, and is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. He is a rugby referee in his spare time.

Peter established Agritech New Zealand back in 2018 to bring together a wide range of different stakeholders (industry, research and government) to help build a sustainable and effective agritech voice in New Zealand. In 2019, he co-founded the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council and has been instrumental in establishing a number of important trans-Tasman initiatives.

More recently, Peter’s focus (and that of his global agritech consultancy, Wharf42) has been on developing international market opportunities. In 2023, Wharf42 hosted the 2023 Salinas Biological Summit with partners, Western Growers. Last month, Wharf42 hosted the 2024 Salinas Biological Summit.

A key outcome of last year’s Summit was the creation of Platform10. Platform10 is an international, multi-year collaboration that will accelerate promising biopesticide companies, rigorously assess products, enhance grower confidence, and facilitate market development and adoption. Last month, Peter launched the Platform10 Global Partner Network at the 2024 Salinas Summit. An MOU with Plant & Food Research, and a collective understanding from international partners provides New Zealand with an opportunity to take a global leadership position around this initiative. It will be the focus of Peter’s work over the coming 12 months.

Dr William Rolleston CNZM

William is co-founder of biotech and vaccine manufacturing company South Pacific Sera Limited - a biotech industry pioneer which grew out of a diversification of his family’s farming business on Blue Cliffs Station.

William has advocated for science, industry and agriculture as the founding chair of New Zealand’s biotechnology industry association (now Biotech NZ) and the Life Sciences Network; as president of both New Zealand Federated Farmers and the World Farmers Organisation; and has advised local and central government on science strategy, economic development and biosecurity through the Science and Innovation Boards, Aoraki Development Trust and as external advisor to the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

William chairs Genomics Aotearoa and is Pillar Lead (Manufacturing) of the national RNA Platform.  He has a degree in medicine and sits on the government’s Science System and Gene Technology Advisory Groups.  William was awarded the Distinguished Biotechnologist of the Year for services to the biotechnology industry in 2009 and was inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2023.  In 2019 he received a Special Commendation Award at the South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards for services to local business, made a Paul Harris Fellow for services to the community in 2024 and appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 for services to farming.

Tony Wilson is the Chief Executive of the rural recycling programme Agrecovery which recycles plastic containers, drums, and IBCs for the agrichemical industry.  The company is trialling the recycling of other forms of rural plastic such as the bags used for seed, feed and fertiliser. Tony oversees the not-for-profit’s operations, projects, recycling trials and six team members. He has been leading the organisation since October 2020.

Tony's previous experience includes 12 years with the Ministry for Primary Industries, managing parts of the biosecurity system and, more recently, the food system. His greatest achievement was leading a pan-government project where he worked with customers on developing better ways to allow freight to move through the system with less government intervention.

Prior to that, Tony managed finances for the medical and surgical departments at the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and worked for a freight logistics business in Sydney.

Tony has a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in Finance and Economics, and postgraduate diplomas in Business and Administration, and Professional Accounting and Finance. He is now studying for a Master of Sustainable Development Goals.

Tony lives with his wife and a miniature schnauzer. When he is not working or studying, he can be found mountain biking or surfing.

Lunch and an opportunity to network before our Workshops at 1pm

  1. Uniting Platforms for Innovation
  2. Future Leadership 

Light refreshments, heading back to the main conference for the panel session at 15:20.

President, Gavin Kerr, will reflect on the key findings and take-aways of the day.

  • Chief Executive's report
  • Yearly financials
  • Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers - We will conduct our Annual General Meeting and elect nominees to fill any vacant positions on the board
  • Any other general business will be discussed with the membership

NB: This is a member-only session.

Location: Amokura Gallery, Level 4 (turn right out of lift), Te Papa

Connect with colleagues, industry peers, regulators and other invited guests.

Seated dinner in the Amokura Gallery at Te Papa, on Level 4 (turn right out of lift).

Ceremony: Outstanding Contribution, Emerging Leader and President's Award

Facilitator: Julia Jones

Julia thrives on exploring what's next, embracing change to guide others. Her deep understanding of global trends, especially in the Food and Fibers sector, provides leaders with crucial insights. Her diverse journey includes roles in financial markets and finance, chairing Meat the Need, keynote speaking, being a Stanford University emerging leader scholar, and global exploration. Julia believes that true growth comes from facing challenges head-on.