Board of Directors

Membership of the Central Plains Water Limited (CPWL) Board of Directors includes Shareholders and Independent Directors. The Directors are recognised for their expertise and experience in the agri-sector, construction, governance, finance, and utility operations, both nationally and internationally.

Grant Miller


Grant is a professional director who has previously been Chair of the Selwyn District Council Audit and Risk Committee. He is a current Director of Transwaste Canterbury Limited and a Councillor for the Selwyn District Council.

Grant maintains an interest in a Dairy /Beef/Cropping farming enterprise. This is based outside the scheme area.

Prior to his Governance career Grant was involved in Commercial Banking both in New Zealand and Overseas.

Grant is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and Alumni of the Fonterra/Massey Governance Program.

Bruce Gemmell

Dry Director

Bruce was elected to the CPWL Board as an Independent Director in November 2020.

Bruce is a professional director, a Chartered Accountant and member of the Institute of Directors.

Throughout his career, Bruce has been involved in a wide range of assignments including consulting on business purchase and sales, restructuring, capital raising and valuations. He has extensive corporate governance experience, and in addition to being a Dry Director and Audit and Risk Committee Chair of CPWL, is currently Chancellor (Chair) of Lincoln University, a Director of Planz Consultants Limited, Chair of Audit and Risk and Director of Highlanders Rugby Franchise, Chair of Lincoln Agritech Limited, trustee of Lincoln Memorial Trust and director of Miramar Consolidated.

Bruce was a Partner of both EY and KPMG for over 17 years where he managed the Wellington and Christchurch offices for EY and the Christchurch office of KPMG. He also sat on the executive management team for EY and the national partnership body for KPMG.

Willie Palmer

Dry Director

Willie Palmer grew up in Sheffield.  He is a commercial litigation lawyer and partner in national law firm Buddle Findlay.

Willie was an original member of both the Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee (2000) and the Central Plains Water Trust (2003).  He has been on the CPWL Board since 2005.

Stuart Wright

Wet Shareholder Director

Stuart Wright runs a mixed arable, seed potato and lamb-finishing operation at Sheffield, west of Christchurch. Stuart was previously a member of the Ravensdown Board and was Deputy Chairman in December 2014. He was elected to the CPWL Board in 2019.

Tony Coltman

Wet Shareholder Director

Tony was elected to the CPWL Board as a Shareholder Director in March 2021.

Tony has over 25 years’ experience in rural leadership and advisory roles, both in New Zealand and abroad, including several years in rural banking. He has always had a passion for farming, even though he doesn’t come from a farming background. Tony graduated from Lincoln University with a BCom in Agriculture and a Diploma in Farm Management (with Distinction) and completed the Fonterra Governance Development Programme in 2016. He is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors and is in his fifth year as the Health and Safety chair for the Ruralco-ATS board.

For the past eight years, Tony has been the Manager & Director of a 3400-cow equity partnership in Dunsandel, and for the five years prior was a shareholder and manager of Focal Dairies, a 2500 cow pasture based dairy operation in Missouri, USA. Tony has a long history of engagement in the industry, being a Tactic for Tight Times Farmer, a Benchmark farm for Lincoln University, a Lincoln Dairy farm voluntary advisor, and an active leader in the highly successful Forages for Reduced Nitrogen Leaching Programme. He is also two-time runner up for the Dairy Industry Awards and recently received the Regional Supreme Award in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Simon Le Heron

Wet Shareholder Director

Simon was appointed as a Wet Shareholder Director of Central Plains Water Limited in October 2021.

Simon is currently the NZ CEO of Canterbury Grasslands Ltd, a large-scale dairy farming business with farms in Canterbury and Southland. Prior roles were large scale dairy focused in the North Island and time spent working at the Fonterra head office in Auckland.

Simon and his wife have personal dairy farming interests in Southland and Canterbury. Simon has completed Director Institute programs and the Fonterra Governance Development course was completed in 2019.

A legal background and strong technical understanding of pastoral farming and farming systems have allowed Simon to develop a unique set of skills. Simon studied Law and Economics at Canterbury University.

Jenny Geddes

Wet Shareholder Director

Jenny farms with her husband and three children on their dairy farm near Burnham, at the lower end of the CPWL scheme. She has a professional background in environmental management, primarily water and land-use resource consenting.

Having spent a year as a Developing Director for CPWL in 2022/2023, Jenny was elected to the CPWL Board in October 2023.

Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Resource Studies, obtained as a double degree from Lincoln University. She worked at Environment Canterbury as a Senior Investigating Officer, and then worked as a Senior Environmental Consultant for over ten years for RJ Hall Civil and Environmental Consulting and Irricon Resource Solutions, helping farmers throughout Canterbury to achieve their consenting needs.

As a member of the NZ Institute of Directors, Jenny has complete courses in Governance, Strategy and Finance.

Tim Cookson

Wet Shareholder Director

Tim and his wife Lucy have been farming in Hororata for the last 25 years. In December 2025 his family will have farmed in Hororata for 100 years and their sons are keen to continue this legacy. Tim and Lucy own 573ha, 525ha which is irrigated via CPW. They lease another 116ha of dryland heavy soils which is close to the home block. They run a mixed farm system with dairy support, arable and winter lamb finishing.

Off farm Tim works part time and is a Shareholder and Chair of Cropmark Seeds Ltd which is the last NZ owned proprietary plant breeding pasture seed company in New Zealand. Irrigation is very important to Cropmark Seeds with 95% of their seed production grown with irrigation.

Tim holds a number of different voluntary governance roles and is heavily involved with local groups and events. He is the Vice Chair on the board of Trustees at Christchurch Boys High School, the Chair of the Adams House Committee and a trustee on the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust. Tim sees these roles as an important way to connect with the community.

Tim has completed many different governance training courses such as the Kellog Rural Leadership programme, To the Core leadership and governance programme and IOD Governance essentials course.