Growing business
in the south

OSEA provides tailored and specialist support to Otago and Southland businesses across business critical areas such as employment law, human resources, health and safety, business training and professional development.

We are a founding member of Business New Zealand, New Zealand's largest and most influential voice for businesses and employers, and work in partnership with a range of business advocacy and business development organisations to support business growth and sustainability in the south.


Our Partners

OSEA manages and delivers training programmes on behalf of the Institute of Management New Zealand (IMNZ) and Export New Zealand in Otago and Southland.

We have a key relationahip with Business Mentors New Zealand.

We also work with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise to provide capability development vouchers and Callaghan Innovation to administer research and development grants that support business innovation.


Read or download our latest annual report.

Our People

OSEA’s team brings together a wealth of expertise and practical experience to support OSEA member organisations with the right advice and advocate on behalf of business.


Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Virginia Nicholls4
Virginia Nicholls LLB, BCom, DipHSc, DipTchg, FCIM
Chief Executive Officer

Virginia oversees all aspects of OSEA operations. She brings experience in small, medium and large businesses across the manufacturing, education, tourism and the not-for-profit sectors including senior management roles in FMCG companies and tertiary education. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Dianah Hudson2
Diana Hudson LLB, CMInstD
Managing Solicitor

With extensive experience in employment law, health and safety and human resources, Diana heads our in-house legal team. She is a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors and a qualified mediator.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People David Browne4
David Browne LLB, BA, MFA, Grad Dip Tch Sec
Senior Solicitor

David earned his law degree from the University of Otago in 2009 and joined our legal team in 2014. He hails from the state of Virginia on the east coast of the US. He is pleased to now call Aotearoa his home.

Stu Adamson
Stu Adamson LLB

Stu was born and raised in Oamaru, completed his law degree at Otago University and practiced as a litigation lawyer in Invercargill and Dunedin appearing in the District and High Courts and in the ERA. He has worked in Queensland as in-house counsel managing litigation for an ASX200 listed finance company. Stu has experience in workplace health and safety and litigation. Based in Alexandra he will help support OSEA members in the Central Otago/Southern Lakes areas.

Adam Siwerski
Adam Siwerski LLB, BA

Adam comes from a central government background, having worked in policy and law for MBIE. A key element of his time in government was working with both business and union representatives to find solutions to the issues that impact New Zealand workplaces on a daily basis. In 2016 Adam headed back home to Dunedin where he practiced law privately, advising clients on a range of employment, privacy and commercial matters. Adam has volunteered for a number of not for profits and board positions.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Tracey Scurr2
Tracey Scurr MBA, DipBusStuds
Health & Safety and Training Manager

Tracey joined us in May 2018 and is responsible for the Health & Safety and Training team who operate from both our Dunedin and Invercargill premises. She brings professional experience in human resources and change management, and health and safety skills from three decades co-leading a contracting operating in three high-risk sectors. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Massey University.

Stacey Burrell2
Stacey Burrell BCom, BHM
Senior Training and Membership Advisor

Stacey joined the OSEA team in January 2019 and has a broad background in the hospitality sector, adult education and training, event co-ordination and management, marketing, sales, and customer service. Her role with us will cover Southland and Queenstown Lakes where she will be promoting the benefits of membership and the range of services we provide.

Charlotte 002
Charlotte Wouda DIBM, DHMCT
Health and Safety Advisor

Charlotte joined the OSEA team in July 2019 and has a background in health and safety, business and administration, and hospitality. She comes to us from a national irrigation company based in Southland. Charlotte has also completed a Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (Workplace), Health and Safety Representative Training Stages 1 – 4 and is completing a Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety Management.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Ann Clearwater2
Ann Clearwater
Training & Events Co-ordinator

Ann is our Dunedin based Training & Events Coordinator. With a background in IT, customer support, marketing and sales, Ann brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Training and Events role. Ann will be specialising in Health & Safety and Dunedin Training Events so get in touch with her for all your training needs.

Madusha Kaluarachchi
Madusha Kaluarachchi BSc (HRM) Special (USJP), PGDipBE
Training Co-ordinator

Madusha joined the OSEA team in February 2019 and comes to us with a background in human resource development within the manufacturing industry and experience as a supervisor working within the New Zealand dairy sector. Madusha will be specialising in Invercargill Training Events so get in touch with her for all your training needs.

Mandy de Leeuw
Mandy de Leeuw
Administration Manager

Mandy brings with her a range of administration and office management experience from the public and private sectors including local government, membership and hospitality.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Anne marie mckay3
Anne-Marie Mckay
Member and Financial Services

Anne-Marie is the first point of contact for most people with the Association. She has an effective background in administration and her outstanding service is well respected amongst members.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Nadia Gauchet
Nadia Gauchet
Finance and Administration

Nadia manages administration including our accounting and financial services here at the OSEA. Nadia previously held administration and finance management positions and has a number of years administration experience.

Our Board

Our board members come from across the region and represent a broad range of business skills and governance experience.


Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Andrew Leys 6
Andrew Leys
Hospice Southland

Andrew is Chief Executive of Hospice Southland. Previously, he held the position of CEO for Credit Union South, where his achievements were recognised by the World Council of Credit Unions when he was the inaugural winner of the WOCCU Young Credit Union Professional Award. Other appointments include director of the NZ Association of Credit Unions and President of the Chamber of Commerce Southland.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Stuart McLauchlan 01
Stuart McLauchlan
GS McLauchlan & Co

Stuart is a chartered accountant, partner of GS McLauchlan & Co. He is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a chartered fellow of the Institute of Directors. Stuart is currently chairman of Scott Technology Ltd, PHARMAC, UDC Finance Ltd and Dunedin International Airport Ltd, as well as being a director of a number of private companies. He is also pro-chancellor at the University of Otago and governor of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Sharon Paterson 3
Sharon Paterson
Waikaka Station Ltd

Sharon is a director / owner in a family Sheep and Beef farm “Waikaka Station Ltd.” Married with two grown married sons, she worked for six years in the corporate world as a Rural Manager on the road for an Insurance company.

Currently she is secretary/event manager for Southern Field Days, the second largest agricultural based field days in New Zealand.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Michael Turner 01
Michael Turner
Polson Higgs

Michael is a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) with the Accounting and Business Advisory firm Polson Higgs where he works with large and small businesses mainly in the tax area. He has been advising clients for 26 years and a Partner for the last 16 years. Michael is passionate about business and in particular how to minimise the impact of taxation on business.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Joanne Conroy 5
Joanne Conroy
APL Property

Queenstown-based, Joanne’s background is in the property industry, with a focus on commercial and government property. She owned APL Property Queenstown for which she continues to provide advisory services. Her other governance positions include Chair of the South Island Trust Board of St John, membership of the Priory Trust Board of St John and Trustee of the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust. She is a board member of the Property Advisory Council of the New Zealand Property Institute.

Hamish Sutherland1
Hamish Sutherland
Zeagold Foods

Having moved south from Auckland at the inception of Mainland Poultry 18 years ago, Hamish is now General Manager of Zeagold Foods, the egg division of Mainland Poultry. Zeagold is now ranked within the top 30 suppliers of branded goods to supermarkets in New Zealand. Prior to commencing at Mainland, Hamish was the General Manager Marketing for Goodman Fielder Milling and Baking.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Lesley Brook 01
Lesley Brook
Otago Polytechnic

Lesley is employed in the Research and Postgraduate office of Otago Polytechnic, with a focus on delivering research by staff and students that benefits industry and the wider community. Previously Lesley was a lawyer for 22 years including 12 years as a partner at Anderson Lloyd. She has previously served on the Council of Telford Rural Polytechnic and is currently on the Audit and Risk Committee of the Cancer Society (Otago/Southland).

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Emily Richards3
Emily Richards
Human Connections Group Limited | Stepping Stone Career Coaching Limited

After moving to Dunedin in 2013 Emily established Human Connections Group, a Dunedin-based consultancy offering affordable recruitment and HR solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. She brings a strong background in recruitment, human relations and management from the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our Board Will Martin 2
Will Martin
University of Otago

Will is currently Legal Advisor at the University of Otago. Prior to this he worked with a Queen’s Counsel and as a lawyer at a commercial firm, prior to joining the Otago Southland Employers’ Association as a lawyer and then Business Manager.
In other voluntary roles, Will was a volunteer at the Community Law Centre for 15 years, and was an officer in the Navy Reserve for 12 years, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He is also a former chair of the Dunedin RSA Welfare Trust, and currently a Dunedin Area Committee member of the Order of St John.

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Our Sister Organisations & Sponsors

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ExportNZ Black
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Sustainable Business Council Logo6
NZ Business Energy council3
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Business Central black3
Regional Business Partner Network
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