11 August 2023

The Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce's Annual General Meeting was a resounding success, held at Arts Inc in Hastings. The event was a true celebration of community and business, with the delectable catering provided by Thelma & Louise Cakes setting the stage for a memorable evening. The highlight of the evening was the inspiring guest speaker, Keriana Brooking, who captivated the audience with her journey and insights into the public health sector.

The event kicked off with a heartfelt expression of gratitude to outgoing board members Vaughan Walsh and Ross McMillan. Their unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions to the Chamber's growth were acknowledged, leaving a lasting impact on the organization and the community it serves.

The evening also marked the introduction of new board members, Kimberley Moody and Georgina "George" Millar. Kimberley's extensive experience as the Communications Manager at Pan Pac Forest Products promises to enhance member engagement and strengthen community partnerships. Her dynamic problem-solving approach and passion for positive change align perfectly with the Chamber's mission.

George Millar, the Co-Founder and Director at Mogul, brings her entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen to the board. With expertise in strategic planning, governance, and digital marketing, she is poised to contribute to the Chamber's growth and innovation, reflecting the forward-looking ethos of the organization.

Keriana shared her journey and work experience in public health while discussing significant events like the Christchurch earthquakes and Cyclone Gabby in New Zealand. She emphasized the importance of self-advocacy and a strong public health system. As the first wāhine Māori CEO of a district health board, she told stories of connecting with people at all levels of the organization. Despite facing criticism due to her gender, ethnicity, and appearance, including her moko, Keriana tackled it by focusing on the bigger picture and not letting negative comments affect her. Her experiences showcased the need for better support and representation in the system.

The event closed on an optimistic note, with the Chamber looking ahead to a future of collaboration and success. The new board members are expected to maintain the high standards set by their predecessors while infusing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas into the Hawke's Bay business community. Attendees were encouraged to connect with the board, including Kimberley, George, and other members, to share their visions and aspirations, fostering an environment where businesses thrive and the Hawke's Bay region continues to flourish.