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 are the Regional Business Partner in Otago and Central Otago for 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)

David earned his law degree from the University of Otago. He hails from the state of Virginia on the east coast of the US but is pleased to now call Aotearoa home.

Angela Mackenzie
Angela Mackenzie (LLB, BCom)

Angela is our Invercargill-based solicitor. Born and raised in Dunedin, she moved to Southland to practice in employment and then family law, and is now enjoying working in employment law again.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People John Rigby3
John Rigby
Business Development Manager

John manages member relations as well as relationships with our business partners. He also oversees our involvement with Business Mentors, Callaghan Innovation grants and NZTE capability development vouchers.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Loretta Holland
Loretta Holland
Health and Safety Advisor

Loretta’s role is to provide high level health and safety advice to members. She also liaises with members regarding OSEA’s training and health and safety. Loretta joined OSEA in June 2012, and has had a number of years administration experience. Loretta and a team of consultants are available for all your health and safety requirements.

Leanne Humphrey
Leanne Humphrey
Professional Development Co-ordinator

Leanne event manages our training programmes and events and joined our team in September 2017.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Nadia Gauchet
Nadia Gauchet
Administration Manager

Nadia oversees our administration, including our accounting and financial services, drawing on her background in administrative roles.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Anne marie mckay3
Anne-Marie Mckay
Receptionist / Member Services

Anne-Marie is the first point of contact for most people and her outstanding service is enjoyed by all OSEA members. She has a background in administration.

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

OSEA welcomed Tracey Scurr to the newly established role of Health & Safety and Training Manager in May 2018.
Tracey brings to the role extensive experience in human resources and change management across a wide range of organisations both large and small.   
As the longstanding Director of a family business involved in farming, quarrying and earthmoving, Tracey has had significant involvement with and responsibility for Health & Safety matters. She holds a National Certificate in Extractive Industries, and is presently undertaking the Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety Management (Level 6).  She also has a Diploma in Business Studies and a MBA from Massey University.  
Tracey is a member of Human Resources Institute of NZ, the Institute of Directors and an Associate of the Institute of Quarrying NZ, and is an active member of her local Waikouaiti community. 

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

Ann recently joined our OSEA team taking on the role of 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.
At home she is also a coordinator of two teenage girls and her events role continues on to equestrian sports and teams events for her girls and their horses.
Ann will be specialising in Health & Safety and Dunedin training events so get in touch with Ann for all your training needs.

Otago Southland Employers Association Our People Grant Walker2
Grant Walker LLB

Grant is a member advisor at the Otago Southland Employers' Association.
During 20 years working and advising and running training on employment matters he has gained invaluable experience and knowledge in resolving personal grievances, collective bargaining with unions, holiday and leave issues, drafting employment documentation and practical human resources management issues.
He has worked as a lawyer in these areas and also as a business lawyer as a partner in a legal firm.  He also had governance roles in not for profit organisations especially in the mental health area and maintains an interest and involvement in this area. Grant has also trained and worked in the areas of group facilitation and interpersonal communication.
Grant previously worked for OSEA as an employment lawyer and has now re-joined us as an Advisor in 2017.

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 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
Buy NZ Made Logo2
Sustainable Business Council Logo6
NZ Business Energy council3
EMA black4
Business Central black3
Regional Business Partner Network
Business Mentors2
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