ConCoVE Board Appointments: Weaving industry experience with leadership

It wasn’t long after Ministers Hipkins and Salesa announced that the Government would be funding a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) before a selection panel was formed to pull together some of New Zealand’s most trusted and experienced in the construction industry to form the board of ConCOVE.

A Board Selection Panel was brought together to begin the process of building a board that would representing the interests of the industry, but also employers, learners, and other stakeholders such as iwi and hapu. In early October 2020, applications were advertised. 

The Board had to consist of at least three Māori, one Pasifika and one Female representative and is guided by a Charter that includes a Board Constitution and Membership. 

On the 22nd of October, our ConCoVE board members were announced, consisting of eight directors and two co-chairs:

  • Graham Burke, Co-Chair
  • Phil Hokianga, Co-Chair
  • Amos Kamo, Board Member
  • Craig West, Board Member
  • David Fabish, Board Member
  • Heather MacKay, Board Member
  • Honor Eimi Columbus, Board Member
  • Pamela Bell, Board Member
  • Nick Clayton, Board Member
  • Professor Martin Carroll

Graham Burke is Co-Chair on the ConCoVE Board, co-lead of the Construction Accord’s Developing People work stream, as well as a member who is actively still in the industry. Graham has worked in the construction industry for 35 years and has spent the last 20 years specialising in scaffolding.

He is an advanced scaffolder and built a successful Wellington scaffolding business, WorkZone Scaffolds. Graham has been heavily involved in the broader construction industry.  That involvement continues today as he supports and advises clients throughout New Zealand. He is passionate about the construction industry’s future and is committed to leading further change.

“The ConCOVE Board is exceptionally talented as well as fulfilling the needs of Te Tiriti and diverse representation of ethnicity, gender and industry backgrounds,” describes Mr Burke. “The co-chair model works well and we have a great working relationship with our very talented General Manger.”

“I’m really excited by the diverse skills and backgrounds of our Board members. Our discussions are very robust and issues are examined from multiple perspectives which will be so important as our projects take shape.”

The second Co-Chair, who also must be Māori, is Phil Hokianga from Vertical Horizonz. Phil served for 23 years with the New Zealand Military and since retiring from military service has operated in the high-risk security environment within the private security sector.

For the past 16 years, he has been at Vertical Horizonz within the industrial and construction sector and is currently the Director for Māori Pasifika, with the continuing opportunity of growing this new division. His passion is working with Iwi and hapu,  government and community services to ensure whanau achieve their dreams and aspirations.     

Heather MacKay is the Director Industry Partnerships at Unitec and has over 10 years’ experience as a Senior Manager in vocational and tertiary education.  Heather’s early training was in engineering, working across a range of businesses in the manufacturing sector with a focus on productivity and environmental performance improvement. 

With significant experience across the public and private sectors, Amos Kamo brings a wealth of experience across a number of medium to large scale construction and infrastructure programmes and initiatives across New Zealand.

Amos has expertise in management, procurement – social and commercial, dispute resolution and strategic planning and maintains a wide national network of Māori and non-Māori individuals and organisations.

Passionate about developing strong career pathways for the construction and infrastructure sector, Craig West is a senior leader within Downer. He is skilled in managing large multi-disciplinary teams, possesses significant governance experience and pro-actively participates in promoting a collaborative working environment.

Craig’s main focus for ConCoVE will be on providing a learning environment with clear learning pathways for Māori and Pasifika as well as ensuring the industry can offer long term careers in an employee-centric manner.

David Fabish operated his own construction company, David Fabish Ltd for 38 years until recently when he established his consultancy business. Over the years, he has trained many carpentry apprentices, most of whom are now running their own building businesses.

He is passionate about industry training and raising the standards of workmanship and productivity in the construction sector.

Honor Eimi Columbus is a professional engineer and infrastructure advisor with 12 years’ experience in the construction and infrastructure industries. Originally a structural engineer, she has held roles in private engineering consulting, civil contracting, and local and central Government.

Honor proudly identifies as a member of the construction and infrastructure industries, and never misses an opportunity to encourage and support rangatahi, Pacific peoples, Māori, and women into our industries.

Pamela Bell brings a wealth of experience in architecture research, Olympic-level sport, business entrepreneurship and governance.

She founded the peak body for innovative construction, PrefabNZ, in 2010 from her Master of Architecture thesis ‘Kiwi Prefab’, and handed over the reins in 2019 when offsite construction reached a ‘tipping point’ of awareness for central government, the construction industry and the public consumer alike.

Originally from a trade background, Nick Clayton has significant experience in managing a variety of different construction projects and delivery models. Managing the Naylor Love Wellington team since 2005, Nick has and demonstrated professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm in all aspects of his role. 

During Nick’s 28-year commercial construction career, the industry has gone through various cycles where skills shortages have had a major impact on the industry in terms of productivity and innovation. He is a big believer in the benefits provided by vocational learning and knows first-hand the opportunities that come if the transition from the education sector to industry works well.

Professor Martin Carroll is the Deputy Chief Executive Academic at Manukau Institute of Technology and Unitec, with 30 years’ experience enabling effective, accessible and relevant learning.

Martin’s background includes a high degree of focus on Quality Assurance in tertiary education. Over the past 10 years his work has focussed on leveraging technology, through a systematic approach, to improve learner engagement and outcomes.

Martin is passionate about the contextualisation of learning, cultural inclusiveness and how important environment is to foster effective learning; a sense of place can add incredible richness to how learning can take place.

He whakataukī – Te Puea Herangi

Mehemea ka moemoeā ahau, ko ahau anake. Mehemea ka moemoeā tātou, ka taea e tātou.

If I dream, I dream alone. If we dream as a collective, we can achieve our dream. 

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