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Board Members

Paul Owen 2019

Paul Owen


Paul Owen is 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 five years and been on the Board for twelve years.

Paul has, through previous participation, a deep understanding of all facets of rugby– from administration, coaching, playing and refereeing. He was a trustee of Sport Bay of Plenty for nine years before retiring from that role in 2016.

Paul is a dentist by profession and his interests outside rugby include mountain biking and adventure racing.

Owen Cooney 2019

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.

Scott Kahle 2019

Scott Kahle

Independent Board Member

Scott has player senior club rugby in several regions throughout the country and is involved in coaching at secondary schools level.

Scott brings strong expertise to the board with a background in finance, he also has an established background in business growth and the formation of strategic partnerships.

He is currently Head of Alliances and Strategic Partnerships with FMG and is a strong supporter of the BOPRU.
Outside of this role Scott is active in the local community with governance roles within a local charity and the education sector, together with being busy with kids sports most weekends.

Kiriwaitingi Rei

Kiriwaitingi Rei

Independent Board Member

Kiriwaitingi is of Te Arawa and Ngati Awa descent and is currently the CEO at Maori Investments Limited – an asset holding company in Kawerau. She practised law for several years before moving into the commercial asset management arena.

Kiriwaitingi is passionate about the Bay of Plenty and is a strong upporter of the Steamers. She has governance experience, and currently serves as a director on Waiū Dairy Limited Partnership, Ngati Awa Group Holdings Ltd, Pukeroa Oruawhata Holdings Limited and holds the position of Chair on Pūtauaki Trust. She was previously a Director on the Rotorua Economic Development Board and was an Institute of Directors – Future Director with the Auckland International Airport from November 2016 – July 2018

Bill Gartshore 2019

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.

Hellen Faulkner photo2

Hellen Faulkner

Independent Board Member

Hellen resides in Katikati on the edge of the Bay of Plenty Rugby province and joined the board in 2020.

With vast experience in Tourism, Hospitality and Health product manufacture and export, Hellen provides important commercial knowledge to the board table as well as holding the role of China Rugby Football Association International Affairs Adviser.

Born and raised in Northern China, Hellen has lived in New Zealand for 18 years, married a kiwi and like most parents, follows her two young boys around various sports fields in the Bay.

Craig Sandlant 2019

Craig Sandlant

Rugby Director

Born and bred and live in Tauranga with the exception of a few brief periods exploring the world. I spent some time as a semi-professional cricketer in England in the late eighties, then back home and involved in various club rugby roles playing until injury forced me off but remained coaching and committee roles since then.

A BOP Rugby Development Officer in 2004 till 2008 then became a professional rugby coach in Lisbon, Portugal from 2008 to 2010. I have remained actively coaching and committee since.

I have a passion for the club rugby landscape and will be aiming to make difference to our communities through participation and willingness to learn, communication and planning. Having been involved in the local community operating my own business since the early 2000’s then eventually establishing a strong career with EVES Real Estate for the last 10 years in Tauranga gives me a positive grounding of building from the ground up.

When I'm not working I’m actively involved in leisure time activities such as Camping, fishing and ball sports which dominate our holidays allowing me to take a break every once in a while.

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