OUR PEOPLE –

KO WAI MĀTOU

We’re experts in bringing our unique New Zealand stories to life to enhance our global reputation.

Team Profiles

Team photos 600px 0012 David Downs v2
David Downs CEO
Team photos 600px 0012 David Downs v2

David Downs

CEO

David has held a portfolio of interests across international trade, technology, economic development, and charitable causes. He has held a number of General Management roles in New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, most recently working with the technology sector to help fast growing tech companies grow internationally and New Zealand companies adopt digital commerce channels to market. He has also held leadership roles at NZTE in products and services, customer and corporate services. Prior to this David had an extensive career in leadership roles with Microsoft in New Zealand and Asia Pacific. 

David is a passionate New Zealander and storyteller by nature. He has successfully started businesses, been a comedian, TV and Radio actor, a talented author and semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year. 

Team photos 600px 0020 Jonathan Alver
Jonathan Alver Director, Major Events
Team photos 600px 0020 Jonathan Alver

Jonathan Alver

Director, Major Events

Jonathan has spent 25 years telling stories that matter in the major events, theatre, and screen industries. Projects include: Executive Director – APEC CEO Summit 2021, Creative Director – New Zealand Country and Trade Pavilions CIIE Expo in Shanghai, Creative Director – Queens Wharf Auckland Fan Zone for the Lions Series 2017, Creative Producer – Auckland visits of both Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Creative Director – The Advantage Line New Zealand in London during RWC2015, Creative Director – Opening Ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Christchurch.

Other stories include: five years as a rotation director on Shortland Street (over 200 episodes); director for four episodes of Go Girls (SPP); co-producing Jailhouse Rock – The Musical in the West End of London, alongside producing and directing many other musicals, plays and operas.

Team photos 600px 0010 Savannah Chen v2
Savannah Chen Operations Manager
Team photos 600px 0010 Savannah Chen v2

Savannah Chen

Operations Manager

Savannah is our Operations Manager, responsible for overseeing the project delivery of the New Zealand Story strategy and also provides support to our CEO and the wider team.

Before joining New Zealand Story, she was in various roles including Business Analyst at Bank of New Zealand, Teacher at Southern Institute of Technology, and Office Manager at an educational institute. She also has her own translation and export business. Savannah brings a proactive and flexible approach to juggling many different priorities within the workplace.

Outside of work, Savannah loves spending time connecting with her overseas family in China, hiking and making traditional Chinese street food and deserts!

Team photos 600px 0003 Kristin Carden
Kristin Carden General Legal Counsel
Team photos 600px 0003 Kristin Carden

Kristin Carden

General Legal Counsel

Kristin is the General Legal Counsel for the New Zealand Story team, with a particular focus on the FernMark Licence Programme. She has considerable legal experience in New Zealand and the United States (Boston and New York) where she worked for a leading global law firm, Ropes & Gray, and a biopharmaceutical company. Before joining New Zealand Story, Kristin worked for New Zealand’s leading commercial law firm, Bell Gully. Kristin is mum to three children and loves spending time with family and friends, travelling, being outdoors, doing crosswords, and keeping fit through mountain biking, running, netball, and walking up hills in Wellington.

Team photos 600px 0001 Rhys Lawrence
Rhys Lawrence Digital Marketing Lead
Team photos 600px 0001 Rhys Lawrence

Rhys Lawrence

Digital Marketing Lead

Rhys leads the development and delivery of our Storytelling platform, as well as the New Zealand Story website, our brand Toolkit and other digital channels. He is also responsible for the Marketing Communications and Social Media Strategy for the FernMark Licence Programme.

Team photos 600px 0005 Charlotte White
Charlotte White Marketing Communications Lead
Team photos 600px 0005 Charlotte White

Charlotte White

Marketing Communications Lead

Charlotte is an experienced international marketer who has scaled and developed brands across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North American markets. Her background spans brand management, strategic planning, and digital marketing in media, broadcast and telecommunication industries. She is passionate about making New Zealand's remarkable stories heard globally to grow our reputation for the collective benefit of our people.

Outside of work, she is a filter coffee enthusiast, a yogi, a sailor, and adores adventures with family and friends.

Team photos 600px 0019 Nicky Toresen
Nicky Toresen Special Projects, Marketing Communications
Team photos 600px 0019 Nicky Toresen

Nicky Toresen

Special Projects, Marketing Communications

With a background in customer experience design and capital market communications, Nicky’s experience spans industries and countries. Most recently Nicky established Strategy Lab at AUT University, interrogating student experiences to inform strategic decision making. Previously Nicky founded Learning Experiences at Better by Design, part of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, leading their iconic CEO Summits, US Study Tours, and design thinking masterclasses with Stanford University. Nicky also developed consultancies to help New Zealand start-ups position themselves for funding, and assist Asia-Pacific companies with their capital market ambitions.

In New York and London Nicky was Director of Taylor Rafferty, the world’s leading cross-border Investor Relations consultancy, before establishing their Asian office in Tokyo. 

To recharge Nicky loves family adventures with her two daughters and thrives on outdoor sporting activities including water skiing, tennis, snow skiing and running. 

Team photos 600px 0021 Lucy Alborn
Lucy Alborn Market Research Consultant
Team photos 600px 0021 Lucy Alborn

Lucy Alborn

Market Research Consultant

An experienced marketing strategist, Lucy has worked across many industries and markets including cosmetics, food and beverages, financial services, and the public sector. As a marketer her passion lies in complex strategic problems and navigating to a solution. She is a strong believer in the voice of the customer and human centred design.

On the weekend you’ll find Lucy outside at any time of the year enjoying our fresh air, coastline, mountains, and rivers… and then enjoying a local wine and some French cheese.

Team photos 600px 0011 Lynda Charlton
Lynda Charlton Content Production Manager
Team photos 600px 0011 Lynda Charlton

Lynda Charlton

Content Production Manager

Lynda is responsible for managing our global content calendar ensuring a strong pipeline of story ideas, and the creation of video content for our social media channels and website. Working alongside the Digital Marketing Lead, Marketing Communications Manager and FernMark Programme Manager to deliver key marketing projects, as well as leading and managing the high-quality production requirements of both video and stills film shoots, and website and brand toolkit content management.

She is also the brand guardian for the FernMark across NZ Inc and responsible for the associated brand guidelines.

Team photos 600px 0018 Tania Bearsley
Tania Bearsley FernMark Acquisition Manager
Team photos 600px 0018 Tania Bearsley

Tania Bearsley

FernMark Acquisition Manager

Tania is passionate about all things Aotearoa New Zealand and loves supporting the global aspirations of its people, businesses, and ideas. Before joining New Zealand Story, she was a Senior Fundraising Lead for New Zealand charity Inspiring Stories, and prior to that was the UK/Europe Regional Director for global expat network Kea.

With a varied career across international trade, event sales and management, and hospitality, her roles all have common threads of connecting people with opportunity, creating purposeful connections that enable success, and celebrating achievement. She lived in the UK from 2005 to 2020, and during this time was engaged with many New Zealand commercial and voluntary initiatives, as well as supporting New Zealand businesses and expats in business on their growth journeys through her work with New Zealand Society UK and Kea.

Tania grew up in Porirua the home of Ngāti Toa, Whittaker’s and All Black TJ Perenara. She feels fortunate to be living in the seaside town of Plimmerton again, after so many years away. She is a Trustee for Te Papa Foundation and Board Member for British New Zealand Business Assocation. As a trained chef she is an enthusiastic foodie, loves cooking, exploring and travel, photography, and time with aiga (family) and friends.

Team photos 600px 0002 Lynette Poulton v2
Lynette Poulton FernMark Licence Programme Coordinator
Team photos 600px 0002 Lynette Poulton v2

Lynette Poulton

FernMark Licence Programme Coordinator

Lynette is the FernMark Licence Programme Coordinator, welcoming new licensees and doing all things FernMark. She has previously worked as a graphic designer and cooked in cafes and restaurants while living in the UK for 12 years and travelling.

Outside of work Lynette enjoys cooking, learning to garden and outdoor adventures.

 

Team photos 600px 0014 Jess Allen v2
Jessica Allen Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Team photos 600px 0014 Jess Allen v2

Jessica Allen

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Jessica is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for New Zealand Story and the FernMark Licence Programme. Jessica graduated in 2020 from Victoria University of Wellington completing a double degree in Commerce and Arts. Outside of work she’s spending time with family and friends, travelling, or at the beach.

Team photos 600px 0017AnnaPurkiss
Anna Purkiss FernMark Advisor
Team photos 600px 0017AnnaPurkiss

Anna Purkiss

FernMark Advisor

Anna studied a double degree of Law and Commerce at Victoria University. Her Commerce degree majored in International Business and minored in Asian studies. While at university she tutored International Business and volunteered at Community Law. Anna enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, reading and being outdoors.

Team photos 600px 0013 Lydia Roseby
Lydia Roseby Marketing Communications Lead (Parental Leave)
Team photos 600px 0013 Lydia Roseby

Lydia Roseby

Marketing Communications Lead (Parental Leave)

Lydia is an experienced Marketing and Communications Manager. She has spent the last 10 years in London working for global organisations such as the Red Cross and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). She has strong experience in communications specialising in PR, strategy, planning and partnerships. Lydia is passionate about telling stories that deliver impact and working on campaigns that drive action.

When she’s not at work, Lydia is hunting down a great coffee or cheering on the family’s horses in the tangerine at Ellerslie racecourse. 

Team photos 600px 0004 Jessica Guthrie
Jessica Guthrie FernMark Licence Programme Manager (Parental Leave)
Team photos 600px 0004 Jessica Guthrie

Jessica Guthrie

FernMark Licence Programme Manager (Parental Leave)

Jessica is the FernMark Licence Programme Manager. She is particularly interested in helping Kiwi businesses with their international growth strategies. Jessica has strong international experience having worked in China, the UK and Australia as a trademark consultant. Before joining New Zealand Story, she worked for BNZ on the Asia Desk where she was responsible for developing pathways for customers exporting to Asia. 

Jess hails from Queenstown, so naturally loves the outdoors, especially snowboarding, and is partial to a good Central Otago Pinot Noir.