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WHO WE ARE

Get to know our Executive Team 

Our team of Senior Executives & Partners bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the VertiLink Group

Meet our Board Chairman and Senior Executives below

The VertiLink Infrastructure Group is a

New Zealand based Advisory Firm dedicated to the design, development and management of Vertiports and the wider eco-system associated with supporting Advanced Air mobility in the APAC region.

 

We are wholly owned by Aorere Group Holdings Limited, a Māori owned and operated organisation that is passionate about the way that safe, innovative and sustainable aviation infrastructure can be developed to benefit future generations.

OUR TEAM

CHARLES WHAREKIRI NELSON (MRAeS)

DIRECTOR

PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN

Tēnā koutou katoa,

As the Chairman of the VertiLink Group of Companies, it brings me great pleasure in introducing my Executive Leadership Team.

I am extremely grateful to the talented group of individuals who have assembled to drive our vision forward.

I am passionate about empowering communities to lead their own community Infrastructure development journey that will support this new type of sustainable air travel, while making access to safe, efficient and low emissions flight a reality for all New Zealanders.

With over 22 years of experience in the global aviation industry, I continue to witness first hand the rapid speed of technological advancement within the Aerospace sector. 

 

Significant change is coming and it is coming at great pace.

 

I invite you to be a part of this groundbreaking movement as we revolutionise the way people will take to the skies in the future.

 

Please send an email to charles.nelson@vertilink.co.nz or alternatively, enter your contact details into the form at the bottom of this page to learn more.

I look forward to embarking with you on this extremely exciting journey that awaits us all

Ngā mihi maioha

Charles Nelson
Te Hira Pere

TE HIRA PERE (LLB)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MĀORI PARTNERSHIPS

Te Hira is of Māori descent with affiliations to Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, and Rongowhakaata tribes of New Zealand. 

Te Hira is a senior public servant with a background in Law and has spent most of his career working on the interface between the Crown and Māori, with a focus on closing the equity gaps. 

He has also held a number of senior advisory roles across multiple Māori Authorities. 

 

Having worked across various Crown agencies, Te Hira has established an impressive track record actively leading collaborative efforts on behalf of the Crown with Māori communities to tackle head-on the social and economic inequities experienced by Māori. 

 

Te Hira’s efforts alongside the Government have been about empowering Māori communities and enabling them to achieve Mana Motuhake or self-determination in order to realise their true potential. 

 

In 2021, Te Hira co-founded “Whakatipuranga Limited”, a cultural capability consultancy firm, further expanding his impact beyond Government. His profound understanding of inequity has made him a trusted advisor to the Crown on Māori issues, earning him respect across Māori communities.

 

Te Hira's approach to driving change is grounded in action and delivering tangible results. 

 

Te Hira firmly believes in effecting change from within the system, and his expertise has taken him around the world, where he has shared his insights with other indigenous peoples and in forums on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the integration of indigenous solutions to address structural and systemic inequalities.

 

With Te Hira's impressive credentials, VertiLink is confident in our ability to foster equity and strengthen our relationships with indigenous communities regarding the management of Whenua (land) and resources in the best interests of Iwi Māori within the Advanced Air Mobility Infrastructure System. 

HIKURANGI MILLS (LLB)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
LEGAL AND STRATEGIC POLICY

As the Senior Vice President of Legal and Strategic Policy, Hikurangi brings a variety of expertise and experiences to the company. 

 

Drawing on a diverse legal background, Hikurangi has an exceptional understanding of legal intricacies and an acute awareness of the importance of meticulous policy development and legislative processes. With an unwavering dedication to upholding the highest ethical standards, Hikurangi has navigated complex legal landscapes while ensuring regulatory compliance.

 

In addition to his legal and health and safety expertise, Hikurangi has continuously invested in deepening understanding of climate change and its implications for Māori. This commitment to sustainability and equity aligns perfectly with Vertilink's vision of a greener and more socially conscious future. This unique skillset ensures environmental impacts play a pivotal role in shaping Vertilink's strategic policies, and that sustainability and social responsibility is at the core of our policy frameworks.

 

As Vertilink navigates the ever-evolving aviation landscape, Hikurangi's expertise and forward-thinking mindset will continue to play a pivotal role in positioning the company as a trailblazer in the Advanced Air Mobility industry.

Hikurangi Mills

LINDA GOODHUE

HEAD OF COMMERCIAL PARTNERSHIPS 

As our Head of Commercial Partnerships, Linda brings an extensive background in project management, stakeholder engagement, and change management to the VertiLink Group. With over two decades of experience in this space, Linda has honed her skills as a proficient communicator, establishing meaningful connections with diverse stakeholders. Her passion lies in fostering collaboration across multiple sectors, aiming for seamless integration to enhance the human experience and deliver positive outcomes.

 

Over the past 10 years, Linda has been at the forefront of legislative policy development and change programs, showcasing her leadership qualities. Beyond her managerial expertise, Linda has also excelled in providing training to new-comers within the legislative space. 

 

Recognising the transformative potential of emerging technologies in the Aviation industry, Linda is particularly enthusiastic about the positive impacts that Advanced Air Mobility can bring to people and communities.

 

Linda is dedicated to navigating the AAM sector’s growth and evolution, ensuring it aligns with the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Her commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration positions her as a valuable asset in forging strong commercial relationships that drive success and embrace positive change.

Tony Goodman

TONY GOODMAN

HEAD OF CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT & RENEWABLE ENERGIES

Raised on a Hawkes Bay sheep and cattle farm, Tony in many ways exemplifies the spirit of Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs.

 

With a background in everything from Civil engineering, Quarrying and Construction to Kiwifruit farming (one of New Zealand’s first Hayward variety farmers in 1965), Tony has lived a colourful and highly accomplished life. One of Tony’s many claims to fame is the establishment of New Zealand’s first cable television network in the 1980s (of which he was the founding shareholder), which later became Telstra Saturn and was eventually combined with Vodafone New Zealand.

 

Married to Television New Zealand stalwart Māori Broadcaster, Hinerangi Goodman, he is heavily involved in the design and construction of a 41-home Māori housing Papakāinga, as well as being actively dedicated to the development of an activated carbon production business (the first of its kind) in New Zealand.

 

"My personal flying experience involves 35 years of owning, operating and flying my own aircraft, which I used for transport and support of my New Zealand wide civil engineering contracting business. The reason for operating my own aeroplane was simply one of speed and convenience.  Because I flew it myself and kept maintenance schedules up to date, the cost was minimal.  With the advent of inexpensive air mobility through this new era of electric aerial vehicles, people from all walks of life will get to realise the huge potential of this new industry".

CHRIS YALDEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

Having spent nearly two decades in the aviation industry, both on the flight deck and in senior administrative positions, Chris' career has taken him through Australasia, the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and most recently as a Senior Boeing 777 pilot on ultra long haul routes across the Globe.

 

"During this time, I have witnessed the increasing integration of autonomous systems and unmanned aircraft into the traditional aviation environment and am a firm believer of the advantages, cost efficiencies and environmental benefits that AAM and eventually, fully autonomous air travel will provide." 

"Seeing the exciting developments in this sector and knowing that it is a matter of “when and not if” autonomous air travel becomes widespread, it is imperative that the infrastructure to support these operations is in place when that time arrives. Leveraging my experience in commercial airline operations, I am excited to lead the team in ensuring the design of our vertiports meets the certification requirements laid out by the relevant regulatory bodies. Seamless integration into existing airspace environments, meeting noise abatement expectations and airspace related performance requirements are all essential considerations in the design process and will ensure not only the safe but harmonious operation of AAM within our population centres." 

Chris Yalden
Damian List

DAMIAN LIST

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Damian brings a diverse and impressive background in the Aviation, Engineering and Construction industries to the VertiLink Group.

 

A New Zealand Licenced Building Practitioner (LBP), Damian’s earlier years were spent as a technical engineer with the New Zealand Army. His 9 years of service to the New Zealand Defence Force saw him deployed throughout the Pacific on humanitarian relief missions, where he could see huge potential use cases for remotely piloted and autonomously flown aircraft.

 

A Commercial Pilot Licence holder and keen enthusiast of vintage aircraft, drones and ‘all things that fly’, Damian brings a broad skillset to the VertiLink business. In addition to holding a CAA Part 102 Unmanned aircraft pilot qualification, Damian maintains his Licenced Building Practitioner status and is the CEO/Founder of an Auckland based construction group.

 

Damian has a vast network within the construction and engineering industries, many years of business management experience and firmly believes that the integration of Advanced Air Mobility into everyday life will be a gamechanger for the people and industries of New Zealand.

JOHN FEGAN (BEng)

HEAD OF INFRASTRUCTURE DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

John completed his Bachelor of Engineering degree (BEng), majoring in Civil Engineering through the University of Queensland in 2009 and has run his own Project management and engineering consultancy firm since 2019.

 

Based between Brisbane, Port Vila and Auckland, John has an impressive record of Project management and Infrastructure lead management roles.

 

With diverse experience in the design and delivery of public and private-sector Infrastructure, John has worked internationally in countries including the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Australia, Nauru, Mexico, Ethiopia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. His global experience provides him with a strong insight into the benefits of sustainable air travel and the positive impacts that this movement will yield on remote communities.

 

John is passionate about sustainable and resilient infrastructure and he provides expert technical advice, assisting our clients with structural engineering solutions for the development of vertiports for EVTOL aircraft. Johns' diverse skillset and familiarity with infrastructure feasibility and financing modalities, together with his keen interest in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector are a significant complement to The VertiLink Group's existing corporate knowledge base.

John Fegan
Ollie McArthur

OLIVER MCARTHUR

HEAD OF CORPORATE SAFETY AND CULTURE

With more than two decades of Aviation experience under his belt, accomplished Airline Pilot Ollie McArthur holds the Senior Corporate Safety and Culture Portfolio for the VertiLink Group.

 

Born and raised in the greater Auckland area, Ollie spent his earlier flying years ‘cutting his teeth’ throughout the Pacific Islands, having spent a considerable amount of time in both the Vanuatu and Solomon Island archipelago’s. After accumulating significant experience on Twin Otter, ATR and Boeing 737 aircraft throughout the Pacific, Ollie returned to New Zealand and eventually home to Auckland, where he is now a Senior Captain on the Airbus A320 for Jetstar Airways.

 

Ollie holds an impressive amount of experience as both a manned and unmanned aircraft pilot and Flight Instructor. Additionally, he maintains a key role as the Civil Aviation Authority approved Senior Person for an Auckland based Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator.

 

Ollie’s primary focus is to ensure the safe conduct of all VertiLink operations. In this senior role, he acts as the point of liaison between the organisation and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand for all matters of a regulatory nature.

 

The VertiLink Group could be in no better hands with Ollie’s diligent commitment to the safety and integrity of its operations and policies.

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