Scion welcomes three new directors to its Board

For immediate release
10 July 2023

Crown Research Institute Scion welcomes the appointment of three new directors to its Board.

Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall has appointed Nicole Anderson, Phil Taylor and Kiriwaitingi Rei-Russell to the Board for a three-year term, starting 10 July. They will join existing Board members for their first official meeting together in Rotorua on 27 July.

Board chair Dr Helen Anderson says she’s delighted by the calibre of the individuals appointed.

“I’d like to extend my warmest welcome to Nicole, Phil and Kiriwaitingi. Their passion for sustainability, economic development and good governance aligns perfectly with Scion’s mission, and I am confident that their contributions will be instrumental in shaping our organisation’s future success.

“Our board firmly believes that effective governance is the cornerstone of achieving long-term stability and excellence. Their collective experience and expertise will ensure that as a board, we are well-positioned to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead of us in the forestry and biobased sectors.”

As a chartered professional director, Nicole Anderson (Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa, Te Aupōuri) has a proven track record in governance across a range of sectors, bringing experience in strategic analysis, business planning and commercial development to Scion’s Board. She is currently a director at Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Far North Holdings, Top Energy and is the chair at Northland Inc, Northland’s Regional Economic Development Agency. After three years’ service she has also recently become Board chair at International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), the national authority for the accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories, inspection bodies and radiology services.

Phil Taylor brings more than four decades of experience in commercial forestry to his new director role at Scion. He has served on numerous boards and directorships, primarily focusing on research and development and community service organisations. He has gained international experience in forestry and governance and has held chief executive roles in forestry since 1999. Currently, Phil is the managing director at Port Blakely in Canterbury. In this role, he oversees all of NZ Forestry’s holdings. He also serves on the board of both the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

Kiriwaitingi Rei-Russell (Te Arawa - Ngati Whakaue, Tūhourangi Ngati Wāhiao, and Ngati Awa - Te Pahipoto) was born and raised in Rotorua. She has a legal and governance background with a strong focus on primary industries. An advocate for Māori economic and commercial development, she was the chief executive at Māori Investments for 10 years and is now the Head of Māori Alliances at Zespri based in Mount Maunganui. While being heavily involved in the kiwifruit industry, Ms Rei-Russell currently holds directorships on Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Ltd, Waiu Dairy LP and Putauaki Trust. She is also the deputy chair of the Māori Kiwifruit Growers Inc and was the first woman appointed to the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union. She was also a Future Director to the Board of Auckland lnternational Airport from 2016 to 2018.

The trio join existing Scion directors Greg Mann, Stana Pezic, Dr Jon Ryder, Steve Wilson and Brendon Green (Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāpuhi). The board meeting on July 27 will also be the first for newly appointed Future Director Zara Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūwharetoa). Ms Morrison was nominated for this 12-month role by the trustees of Ngā Hapū e Toru – Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu and Ngāti Te Kahu.

Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says he’s looking forward to working with the new directors as Scion works to advance its strategy to 2030: Right tree, right place, right purpose.

“Having this strategy to drive our work is enabling Scion to make a difference to our economy, wellbeing and environment by helping transition New Zealand to a circular bioeconomy.

“There are challenges ahead but we are confident that Scion’s research has never been more relevant, especially as New Zealand looks to build a modern, future-focused research system through the Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways programme.

“Amidst this evolving research landscape, we know that collaboration and diverse thinking are critically important. Together, we will continue to enhance New Zealand’s prosperity through trees, foster industry partnerships and contribute to the growth of regional economies.”


Kiriwaitingi Rei-Russell

Phil Taylor

Nicole Anderson