Our People

Tim Pankhurst,
Chief Executive

Tim Pankhurst joined Seafood New Zealand in April 2013 as Chief Executive. He was previously Chief Executive of the Newspaper Publishers' Association.

He was a journalist for 35 years in New Zealand and Australia (The Australian, Melbourne Sun). 

Tim was Editor of four major New Zealand daily newspapers - The Dominion Post, Waikato Times, The Press and The Evening Post. Earlier in his career he was the fishing reporter on the Nelson Mail.

He is author of Roughy on the Rise, the story of New Zealand’s most controversial fishery.

As both leader of New Zealand’s peak seafood body and a keen recreational fisherman, Tim has a vested interest in the state of our marine environment, working with numerous stakeholders to shape an industry that is sustainable, best practice and innovative. 

Lesley Hamilton,
Communications Manager

Lesley Hamilton has joined us from Trade Minister Todd McClay’s office at parliament, where she was his Press Secretary for two years. Prior to that,  she spent eight years as Press Secretary to former Prime Minister John Key.

Despite growing up in Wanganui, Lesley calls Nelson home after spending more than 15 years working there in commercial radio and journalism.

She has a long-held interest in fisheries and has previously written for Seafood New Zealand magazine. 

Karen Olver,
Business Services Manager

Karen has been involved in the fishing industry since 1987.  She has held various roles in the Ministry of Fisheries and FishServe including five years as a Fisheries Compliance Officer. 

Karen transferred from Auckland to Wellington to take up a role as Senior Registry Officer in the newly centralised Registry Services section of MFish (now FishServe) in 1995.  Karen was then seconded to parliament as Fisheries Private Secretary to Hon John Luxton in 1999. 

After a year, Karen returned to FishServe to work on the development of the FMS computer system, a project that saw the implementation of systems to support the introduction of the Fisheries Act 1996.

Karen now works to support the Seafood New Zealand organisation and the wider industry in her role as Business Services Manager.

Cathy Webb,
Seafood Standards Manager

Cathy started her career in the seafood industry in 1989 working as a laboratory technician for Marlborough Seafoods.  Nine years later, and after completing study in food science and holding various quality assurance positions, she left Marlborough Seafoods and Blenheim to move to Wellington, to work for Seafood Systems, a seafood consultancy firm. 

In 2000 Cathy became self-employed and has worked in contract roles for both the Seafood Industry Training Organisation and the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council and has held the role of the Executive Officer for the Seafood Standards Council since 2006.  Over this time she has also provided consultancy services to a variety of seafood companies in the areas of food safety, risk management programme development and evaluation, and training services. 

At Seafood New Zealand, Cathy’s focus is on the Seafood Standards Council, facilitating dialogue between the industry and the food safety regulator, assisting with market access issues, and providing advice in the areas of food safety and standards to the seafood industry.

Emily Pope, 
Communications Assistant 


Emily Pope has joined Seafood New Zealand after completing a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University of Wellington last year. 

A Cantabrian at heart, she grew up spending many weekends on Akaroa beaches and has fond memories of frequent fishing trips around Waikawa Bay, Marlborough Sounds and Kaikoura with her grandparents. 

As our new communications assistant, Emily’s role involves executing the organisation’s communication strategy, assisting the Chief Executive and Communications Manager and supporting the running of media platforms, including the Seafood New Zealand website, magazine and the weekly Update newsletter.