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Board Members


Phil Barnett


Phil has a long involvement in rugby through playing at a senior level in Canterbury and Wellington before embarking on a 32 year long stint with the referee's whistle. With 300 premier games (in Wellington and Bay of Plenty) under his belt, Phil retired from refereeing at the end of the 2015 season, his passion for the game crossing over into a role on the President's Group. Phil has had a 40 year career in banking, most of which has been associated with area and regional leadership roles with BNZ and currently Kiwibank/NZ Post.


Kevin Hennessey

Vice President

Kevin Hennessy was born and bred in Opotiki where he and his wife Glenys have operated a Four Square food market for 38 years. He has been involved in rugby as a player, referee, administrator, sponsor and supporter of the game. He was the President of the WASPS Rugby Club 2001/2 and served on the BOPRU board from 2002 to 2008. Kevin also in his spare time is an elected trustee on the Eastern Bay of Plenty Energy Trust as well a volunteer firefighter for 40 years and also chairs the local RSA board.


Paul Owen


Paul Owen has become the first Chairman of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Board to hail from Opotiki and the Eastern Bay of Plenty. He has held the Chairman’s position for three years and been on the Board for eight years. Paul has a deep understanding of all levels of the game – from administration, coaching, playing and refereeing. He is also a trustee of Sport Bay of Plenty and has been a part of every facet of rugby apart from stitching together the jerseys. By day Paul provides the Opotiki community with their dental care, owning the sole dentistry practice, Opotiki Dental Services.


Owen Cooney

Deputy Chairman

Owen is a passionate supporter of Bay of Plenty Rugby and has been on the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Board for five years. Owen brings a wealth of legal and business experience to the Board. From a long rugby heritage including his father Des, who represented Auckland and Bay of Plenty and uncle Gavin, who was a Bay of Plenty selector in the 1960’s. Owens involvement in the game saw him play senior club rugby in Dunedin, Auckland and Tauranga and was part of the committee that successfully merged Tauranga Old Boys and Otumoetai Cadets in to the now highly successful Tauranga Rugby Sports Club. A partner in one of Tauranga’s largest legal firms, Cooney Lees Morgan, Owen brings both business and technical expertise to the governance table, together with a passion for the game.


Mark Canning

Independent Board Member

Mark was appointed to the Board in 2012 and is currently a Rugby Director for the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union. He played age group and senior rugby in Rotorua and was a Rotorua Rugby Referee for four years. Mark has held a number of administrative roles for Marist St Michael's, these have included; Club Captain, President and an avid member of the working committee. Mark was chairman of the Central Bay of Plenty Rugby Sub Union for 10 years and a member of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Rules and Disciplinary committee. He is currently a member of the Rugby Services Committee for the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union. Mark was a self-employed plumber for over 20 years, and for the past 10 years has been the Account Manager for Bunnings.


Nick Lowe

Independent Board Member

Nick Lowe was appointed to the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Board in 2014. He is a former CEO of a number of businesses both in the UK and in New Zealand, including Farmers Trading Company and Noel Leeming. Prior to general management Nick had an extensive background in Marketing, Buying & Operations. Nick has significant experience working with Boards and as a Board Director in public and private companies, and is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors.


Ray Watson

Independent Board Member

Ray was elected to the Board in 2015. He chairs the Central Bay of Plenty Junior Rugby Advisory Board and is a member of the Bay of Plenty Junior Rugby Chairs Forum. Ray is also a director on the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Cricket Association Boards. He operates his own consultancy business and has extensive governance, senior management and strategic advisory experience in the Health, Energy and Iwi Sectors. This includes previous Chief Executive roles with both Lakeland Health in Rotorua, Taupo and Turangi and Ngai Tahu Development Corporation in Christchurch. Ray has held multiple governance roles including six-year stints as a Commissioner with the NZ Mental Health Commission and also as deputy Chair of Meridian Energy Ltd. Ray has a strong interest in Maori rugby. His Iwi affiliations are Ngai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Waitaha, Te Atiawa and Ngati Rarua.


Quentin Quin

Independent Board Member

Quentin Quin was appointed to the board in June 2015. Quentin leads New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s (NZTE) Capital team, which promotes New Zealand business opportunities to targeted international investors and facilitates high quality investment into New Zealand. Prior to joining, Quentin was a Senior Investment Manager with the World Bank Group, based in Sydney. In this role he specialised in agribusiness working across Asia. Quentin also held positions as Managing Director Corporate Banking Pacific for ANZ, and CEO of New Zealand furniture manufacturer, Design Mobel. In these roles he developed significant experience in global markets, finance and leadership of investments, and managing a business.


Bill Gartshore

Independent Board Member

Bill was appointed to the Board in 2014. He has held various rugby administration roles in the Bay of Plenty over the past 35 years. He is a Director of the Gartshore Group of companies and brings to the Board a level of expertise combining both his governance and rugby administration skills.

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