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David joined ECCT as Chief Executive Officer in February 2022. He brings to the organisation over 30 years senior leadership experience with a focus on financial and investment management, strategic planning, marketing, community development and leadership. He is a make it happen person.

David shares “What an exciting time to be part of the Eastern and Central Community Trust and work with Trustees to define the strategic vision by effectively engaging with community and key stakeholders to identify the aspirations of this region.

I support the premise that Community Trusts need to move from traditional forms of charity towards a growing prioritisation of impact and a desire to shift the underlying conditions that are holding a problem in place. I deliver authentic leadership – operating with my mind, heart and hands.  I am a change agent, idea enabler and leader that fosters innovation and fresh thinking.

As CEO for ECCT I will put strategic planning at the centre of our attention so that the strategic direction stays relevant and current. Applying these simple but effective tools on a regular basis ensures strategy translates to action.

It ensures we are fostering the most productive partnerships, attracting the right opportunities, and trustees are getting good advice to make informed and evidence based decisions.

But most importantly it’s about staying connected to the people who we serve – Iwi, community, stakeholders – delivering meaningful community engagement, encouraging communication both ways.”

David knows the region well having worked in all of the provinces in the ECCT catchment during his career.

When not working David enjoys whanau time with his partner, children, grandchildren and extended family. He is exploring the options for developing a small lifestyle property.

Kristal Leach
Business Manager

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Kristal joined ECCT in June 2022 as Business Manager, stepping away from her previous role as Manager of an NGO in Hastings.

Kristal brings her 15 years experience in the charity sector and business management skills to ECCT.  

Having served on local sporting charities and school boards, she recognises the role they play in strengthening our communities.

Kristal has lived in Hawke’s Bay for 22 years, moving north from her home town of Wellington and raising her family here. Together with her husband they live on small farm in Waimarama and love walking and cycling on the amazing cycleways around Hawke’s Bay.


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As a Community Advisor for ECCT, Neil gets the privilege of developing relationships with organisations making a positive difference in their communities, and assisting them with grant applications.

“It really is an honour working with these passionate groups and organisations,” Neil says.

“Sometimes a quick conversation with me about their application is the difference between a successful outcome or not. I always encourage people to ask questions and seek advice before submitting applications, which is where those relationships really come in to effect.”

For the past five years, Neil has played a key role in overseeing ECCT’s education projects such as Summer Reading, Maths is Fun and our Science Project, as well as hosting funding clinics throughout the regions and advising on ECCT policies and strategies.

Neil also manages the IT at ECCT and has the unenviable title of “Fluxx Administrator”. This means customising the online grant application and assessment process to make it more meaningful and as easy as possible for staff and applicants to use.

In his spare time, Neil volunteers as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and still mentors two boys that he mentored three years ago as part of the Project K mentoring programme.

When he’s not mentoring, Neil spends most of his weekends either kayaking, tramping or cycling the beautiful Hawke’s Bay trails with his beloved dog, Koda, racing beside him.

Katie Fourie
Team administrator

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Katie joined ECCT as the Team  Administrator in February 2023.

Katie has a broad background in Project and Finance administration, both in New Zealand and overseas. 

Prior to joining ECCT Katie was the Office Administrator for an NGO and enjoys working for organisations with a community focus. 

Outside of work Katie enjoys spending time with her husband two children.

Partnerships & Communications Manager

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Nadia joined Eastern & Central Community Trust (ECCT) in January 2022 as the Marketing & Communications Manager.  She is responsible for the communication of ECCT’s vision and objectives, across all marketing platforms. Her role is to support the team’s engagement with communities in the Eastern and Central regions.

With an extensive background in marketing, sales, and operations, Nadia has international experience across consumer and B2B industries. Her last role involved running a NGO in the Cayman Islands.

When not at work, Nadia loves to spend time with her Kiwi husband and two daughters enjoying all the activities that Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

Piripi Ropitini
Rangatahi Engagement specialist

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Piripi joined ECCT in August 2022 as the Rangatahi Engagement Specialist. 


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Jill Wolland is a grants assessor at Eastern & Central Community Trust.

Jill has been a vital part of the ECCT team for 20 years! Her role has varied during her time with the Trust, which has seen her doing everything from administration roles to finance and accounting and more recently assessing grants.

“I often call organisations for accountability reports too,” says Jill. “There is a lot of background work to providing grants to our community organisations. I really enjoy the whole process – from helping people fill in applications to paying out the grants and seeing the community impact of that grant.”

When she’s not in the office Jill enjoys relaxing with her family and friends, making the most of Hawke’s Bay’s array of wineries and restaurants and travelling abroad.