CERA Management Team

  • Acting Chief Executive

    John held senior leadership roles in the New Zealand public sector for 16 of his 38 years of public service. In early 2013 he retired from his role as Deputy State Services Commissioner, a position held for nearly five years. Previously he was Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services.

    As a skilled public service manager, John has developed a thorough and deep understanding of the New Zealand public management system, within the wider context of Westminster democracies. He has strong understanding of public sector financial management, and of the wider economic context.

    John has extensive experience at the heart of central government administration, as well as wide leadership experience in strategic, operational, and research and development roles.

    This wide-ranging experience was called on when John led work on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, which established the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). John was appointed as the Authority’s establishment Chief Executive, a position he held for four months while a permanent chief executive was recruited. He returned to CERA in December 2014 as Acting Chief Executive.

    In 2013, John became a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO).

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  • Deputy Chief Executive, Social and Cultural Recovery

    Michelle has been involved in earthquake response and recovery work since September 2010.

    She led the Social Environment Taskforce Group after the September earthquake and before February’s earthquake had been appointed to head the secretariat of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission.

    She has more than 20 years experience in senior management roles in the Ministry of Social Development and its predecessors, mostly based in Christchurch.

    The Social and Cultural Recovery work focuses on the recovery and overall wellbeing of individuals, families and their communities, ensuring the appropriate support services are in place for people affected by the earthquakes.

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  • Deputy Chief Executive, Implementation / Director, Christchurch Central Development Unit

    Warwick has been a chief executive in local government for 14 years including previously at the Timaru District Council and the Buller District Council.

    He has also worked in central government, including a period with Audit New Zealand.

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  • Deputy Chief Executive, Communications

    Mike Shatford is Deputy Chief Executive, Communications. He has held this role since July 2011.

    Mike was previously at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), where he held the position of General Manager Communications. He held that role since February 2008. Prior to that Mike was the Director of Public Relations/Head of Communications for the New Zealand Defence Force.

    Mike was born and raised in Christchurch a serving military infantry officer for 21 years holding a variety of military leadership roles in New Zealand and overseas.

    From a communications perspective, Mike has held regional, national and international communications and marketing roles and led the New Zealand Army recruitment organisation.

    Mike is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia.

    Mike is married to Rochelle, with three children.

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  • Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy & Governance

    Benesia is seconded to CERA from the Policy Advisory Group at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  She moved to Christchurch in late June 2011.  

    Previously she has held the positions of Leader, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Policy at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Acting General Manager, Public Law and Director, Foreshore and Seabed at the Ministry of Justice.

    Benesia heads the Strategy and Governance group at CERA.

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  • Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Services

    Kelvan Smith is the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Services. He has held this role since December 2013.

    Prior to joining CERA Kelvan was the Group Manager, Operations for AsureQuality Ltd with responsibility for five business units and approximately 1,000 staff within New Zealand and overseas.

    He has held a range of senior leadership positions including Chief Executive for Asure NZ Ltd and a period as Interim Chief Executive for AsureQuality. Between 1998 and 1999 he was Regional Commissioner for Work and Income New Zealand based out of Wellington, which followed a period firstly as Regional Manager and then as Area Manager for Income Support based in Christchurch. 

    Kelvan is a born and bred Cantabrian and, apart from a 15 month period in Wellington, he has spent the past 25 years working from Canterbury.

    Kelvan has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Massey University.

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