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.
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.
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.
David Browne LLB, BA, MFA, Grad Dip Tch Sec
Legal Team Manager
David is our Legal Team Manager and joined our team in 2014. He hails from the state of Virginia on the east coast of the US and earned his law degree from the University of Otago in 2009. He is pleased to now call Aotearoa his home.
Business Services Manager
Kate has a background in business consulting, she brings professional experience in human resources and people management, with strong hospitality and events knowledge. Kate is responsible for training & events and health & safety.
Mandy de Leeuw
Mandy brings with her a range of administration and office management experience from the public and private sectors including local government, membership and hospitality.
Persia Templeton LLB, BA
Persia is a Senior Solicitor and provides advice on all aspects of employment law. Persia has previously worked at an Auckland employment law firm and as a Barrister in Chambers. In addition to employment law, her experience includes intellectual property, defamation, and commercial and contract law. She has appeared as senior counsel in the Employment Relations Authority, and as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal, Employment Court, High Court, District Court, and various industry disputes bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority and IPENZ.
Dr Kathryn McAuley LLB
Kathryn is the newest member of the Legal team. After graduating with a law degree she went on to further study, completing a PhD in Bioethics and Health Law. Since then she has had various roles at the University and was a Health and Disability Advocate under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act.
Libby Fraser LLB, BA
Libby is a Human Resources Consultant who started her career as an employment lawyer and moved into Human Resources. She is an HRINZ member.
Libby has a broad range of experience including business restructuring, disciplinary processes, development of HR policies, recruitment and selection, performance management, employment investigations, and health and safety management. Libby helps businesses achieve their goals and get the best from their people through strong communication and practical solutions.
Madusha Kaluarachchi BSc (HRM) Special (USJP), PGDipBE, MAM
Training & Events Co-ordinator
Madusha 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.
Anne-Marie is the first point of contact at the OSEA. She has an effective background in administration and her outstanding service is well respected amongst members.
Our board members come from across the region and represent a broad range of business skills and governance experience.
Harrisons Carpet & Flooring
Andrew is the CEO 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.
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.
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.
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).
Breen Construction Co
Nina is the HR Manager at Breen Construction Co based in Central Otago. She is originally from Ontario Canada, where she majored in Criminology, minored in Political Science and has a diploma in Human Resources Management. Nina has previously worked as an HR Generalist in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors in Canada, then as an HR Project Manager with the Bank of Montreal. Since arriving in NZ, Nina has worked in the Lodgement team at ACC, HR Consulting at Logan HR, as an HR Advisor at the Dunedin City Council and as the People & Culture Manager with the Queenstown Medical Centre.
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.
Darryl is a confident, articulate, passionate technologist who can lead people and design solutions to deliver great outcomes for whoever requires it. He has over 20 years' experience in the Information and Technology industry and has gained some relatively unique skills which can bring huge value to any organisation.
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.
CEO Comment 20 July 2021
It is my pleasure and privilege to officially begin my role as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Business South, and to progress the amalgamation of the Otago Southland Employers’ Association and the Otago Chamber of Commerce.