Our Team

Our Board

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism is a subsidiary of the Waikato Regional Airport Limited (WRAL) and has an independent skills based board of directors including:

  • Annabel Cotton (Chair)
  • Don Scarlet
  • Simon Douglas
  • Mark Morgan (Representative of WRAL)
  • Karleen Turner Puriri

Meet the team

Jason Dawson
Chief Executive

Jason oversees the day-to-day running of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and manages the key relationships with funders, tourism operators, local communities, local government and national agencies for the organisation. He is available for presentations and tourism updates on behalf of the sector.

What is number 1 insider tip for the region? Enjoy some of the great foodie experiences our region has to offer! Waikato is bursting with artisan food producers, coffee roasters, growers markets, roadside stalls, craft breweries and unique café experiences. Hamilton is also home to some of this country’s most-awarded restaurants which are just exceptional.
What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? Not really a hidden gem, but watching the wild west coast in action at the top of Wainui Reserve in Raglan is pretty spectacular. Whether it be during a storm or full sunshine, there is something invigorating about getting sea air into your lungs while watching the swell roll in.
What do you love most about your job? Promoting our wonderful region with our talented and passionate operators! People create memorable experiences and our hosts and guides are some of the best in the country.

Rebecca Evans
Marketing Manager - Currently on parental leave

Rebecca leads Hamilton & Waikato Tourism's leisure marketing team, working closely with travel trade, media and industry partners on various campaigns and initiatives to promote the region to domestic and international visitors.

What is number 1 insider tip for the region? Make sure you spend some time around our waterways while you are here - whether it’s the mighty Waikato River, one of our many picturesque lakes or waterfalls or out on Raglan’s black sand beaches.
What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? There are so many to choose from but I’d definitely recommend stopping for a giant ice-cream at Pokeno.
What do you love most about your job? The people! We’re really lucky to work within such a vibrant industry filled with passionate and interesting people.

Sandy Hickey

Sandy Hickey
Marketing Manager - Interim

Sandy will lead Hamilton & Waikato Tourism's leisure marketing team whilst Rebecca is on parental leave, working closely with travel trade, media and industry partners on various campaigns and initiatives to promote the region to domestic and international visitors.

What is number 1 insider tip for the region? While you are here make sure you get the opportunity to explore some of our incredible walking tracks – from river walks around in the city, or a stroll through Hamilton Gardens, through to exercise up in the Hakarimata’s or a walk to Raglan’s Bridal Falls - our region has so much to offer!
What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? The annual craft market at Pirongia. This year it’s on 1st October and I always have out of town visitors staying for this event, where a large contingent of very talented creative artists gather to present their work for sale.
What do you love most about your job? The opportunity to be involved and working in our region that constantly surprises and provides our visitors with such unforgettable experiences – the passion of the people is just amazing! 

Nicola Greenwell
Development Manager

Nicola is our Development Manager – she provides support to existing operators to further develop their visitor proposition; and support to new visitor products developing in the region.

What is number 1 insider tip for the region? When visiting our region – give yourself PLENTY of time to explore – guarantee you will find much more to see and do than you expected!
What do you love most about your job? The enthusiasm of our people and being able to be out and about hearing about new and innovative ideas! We have great people in our region (and our office!) who are passionate about sharing the beauty of our region.
If you could do one job for a week – what would it be? Photographer! I enjoy being creative with a camera (with varying degrees of success) – would love to be PAID to take photos – particularly in our own region.

Amanda Graham
Convention Bureau Manager

Amanda oversees the conference & business events arm of the organisation. Amanda sees her team as destination leaders connecting event organisers with venues and suppliers.

What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? Fish & Chips (you can take the girl out of England) at the end of the wharf in Raglan, especially when there is live music
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Cycling the awesome trails and going for long walks
If you could do one job for a week – what would it be? Easy, that would be helping during the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival

Jody McGinity

Jody McGinity
Convention Bureau Administrator

Jody works in the business events team. Her role can include anything from putting together proposals or hosting famils, to writing media releases and exhibiting at tradeshows.

What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls -such a majestic place.
What do you love most about your job? Being involved with some amazing people within the industry and promoting our awesome region.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Exploring the great outdoors, trail walks and of course Fish and Chips on the beach at Raglan!

Katrina Soepnel

Katrina Soepnel
Marketing Coordinator

Working within the Marketing department, Katrina's primary focus is in the trade and consumer space working alongside Tourism New Zealand and our local industry to promote the Hamilton & Waikato region to travel trade, domestic and international visitors.

What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? Lake Arapuni, Bulmers Landing. A great place to go for a swim, have a picnic or do water sports!
What do you love most about your job? Meeting lots of new people, experiencing new places in the region and of course promoting the beautiful Waikato.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Paddling on the Waikato River and Lakes in the region. I also enjoy trying all the different cafes and restaurants in the Waikato.

Amber Doughty
Administration & Marketing Assistant

Amber manages media liaison and famil coordination working alongside Tourism New Zealand and our local industry to promote the region via media channels, as well as managing the day to day administrative tasks of the organisation and providing marketing support to the entire HWT team.

What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? Te Toto Gorge Raglan – stunning views of the west coast.
What do you love most about your job? There is something new to learn every day, no two days are the same.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I love getting out and exploring all the natural wonders our region has to offer

Natalie Dean-Milo
Communications & Online Executive

Natalie is our online guru looking after all things digital marketing (website, social media, communications, marketing campaigns) as well working with the wider team on our domestic marketing campaigns and other activities.

What is your favourite hidden gem in the region? We have some great ones – Wairere Falls, Te Toto Gorge, Waiorongomai Valley, Kawhia hot water beach, there is too many to choose from.
What do you love most about your job? I am a total nerd and geek out at all the techy things within digital marketing. Its exciting seeing our region’s growth in the digital space. I also love working with such a great team, both in our office and the wider industry. 
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Pretty much anything outdoors. We have some great cycle trails and walks and I am slowly ticking them all off!