Our Board members

Our Board members are John Auld (Chairperson), Denese Bates QC, Aaron Bhatnagar, Marion Cowden, Elizabeth Nidd and Anthony Stack.

​​John Auld (Chairperson)

John is a barrister who was previously in private practice in New Plymouth for forty years as a commercial, resource management, and property solicitor.  He was partner in a national law firm for twenty two years before becoming the senior partner in Auld Brewer Mazengarb and McEwen.  He is a past President of the Taranaki District Law Society and a past Council member of the New Zealand Law Society.  John has considerable corporate governance experience across a wide range of Crown and privately owned businesses and is currently Chairman of Port Taranaki Ltd.  

John is a Charter Member of the IOD, a member of AMINZ and was a Disputes Tribunal Referee from 2009-2012.  John is a director or trustee of a number of companies and trusts.  He was appointed to the REAA in 2009 and as Chairman in August 2013.  John lives in Auckland.

Denese Bates, QC

Denese practised law as a barrister and later as a Queen’s Counsel, with a wide- ranging civil practice.  She has held governance roles in a diverse number of private and professional organisations.  She has been involved with various professional disciplinary regimes both as legal counsel and as a council member of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society.  She has served on Law Society Complaints Committees and has represented the Law Society in disciplinary hearings.  She has also been the chair of the New Zealand Law Society Ethics Committee.  ​
From 2001 to 2009 Denese was a member of the Commerce Commission with a particular responsibility for litigation.  She is presently a trustee of the Melanesian Mission Trust Board which is responsible for a considerable portfolio of assets for the benefit of the Church of Melanesia.  She is an executive director of a family owned manufacturing business.  In 2013, she was appointed as a member of the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Commission which operates a disputes resolution service for disputes between insurance companies and financial advisors and their customers. Denese lives in Auckland.​


Aaron Bhatnagar

Aaron is a professional investor and venture capitalist based in Auckland.  He is focused on value investing in New Zealand and global equities markets, and growth investing in the healthcare and technology sectors.  He also participated in private equity projects and has a number of commercial property interests around New Zealand.  He is a committee member of the New Zealand Shareholders Association Auckland Branch, and a member of the Institute of Directors.  He served as an Auckland City Councillor during 2007-2010, where he held the Deputy Chairmanship of Finance, and was then Chairman of the City Development Committee (economic development, town planning, and infrastructure).  Aaron was also an accredited RMA Hearings Commissioner between 2009 and 2013.​

Marion Cowden

Marion is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand. She holds a BSc and BCom from Auckland University and an MBA (with Distinction) from Massey University. She has held senior roles in finance and corporate services in the New Zealand and Australian public services and with the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London. 

Her current governance roles include Deputy Chair of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, Deputy Chair and Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Director of the Co-operative Bank, Member of the St John of God Hauora Trust, and Member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Ministry for the Environment.

Elizabeth Nidd

Elizabeth is a licensee and director of Nidd Realty, an independent real estate company. She has 27 years’ experience in the real estate industry. 

Elizabeth was President of the Otago Branch of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) for six years and has been a Regional Director on the Board of REINZ for the past six years.  She is also a Fellow of REINZ.


Anthony Stack

Anthony is a member of REINZ and has been involved in sales and people management for the past 30 years, including 14 years’ experience in the real estate industry in Tauranga and Rotorua. He has broad management and governance experience. 

Anthony has also managed a business franchise for elderly care and spent a number of years working in the grocery sector.

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