Matthew OMeagher




Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America

Dr Matthew O’Meagher is an international education strategist, and a former education diplomat, consultant, and academic. He became an LANZBC Director in November 2011 and was elected President in May 2013.

Latin America has defined Matthew's career since his PhD in Latin American History from Duke University. As the founding Director of New Zealand’s first research centre of Latin American Studies from 2002-07, he connected the worlds of academia, government and business by organising conferences on business opportunities for New Zealanders in that region.

As the New Zealand government’s first Education Counsellor in South America from 2007-09 he promoted New Zealand education expertise in Latin America, and supported schools, polytechnics and universities recruiting South American students.

As an International Relations manager for the University of Auckland from 2009-13, Matthew raised awareness across that institution of research and recruitment opportunities existing in Brazil, Colombia and Chile.

As the Project Manager for the University Roadmap developed by Education New Zealand last year he charted a vision for growth in international education for New Zealand's universities that included Latin America as a target market. Matthew is now working with the Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America on broader institutional engagement with the region. 




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Vice President

Cullen Law

Peter Cullen established Cullen – The Employment Law Firm and continues to direct it as a partner.

The firm is a specialist employment law firm with a wide range of employer and employee clients. Peter uses his legal skills to impart clients with helpful advice upon which to base their decisions. His strengths lie in his in-depth knowledge ofNew   Zealandemployment law and his abilities as an advocate.


Peter is involved in developing strategies for migrant workers from Latin America to find employment withinNew   Zealandand strengthen the ties between our countries. He is also exploring other business opportunities inLatin America.


Serving as Vice President for the Wellington Employer’s Chamber of Commerce Board and as a member of the Employer’s Chamber of Commerce Policy Council strengthens Peter’s involvement with manyWellingtonbusinesses and organisations.


Media frequently seek his advice on employment and industrial law issues and Peter writes a column for the Dominion Post newspaper.


Strengthening the links between Latin American countries andNew Zealandis important to Peter and he has good relationships with the Latin American diplomats and embassies inWellington.


Visit Cullen- The Employment Law Firm’s website or Facebook:

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 Ex Officio

Ministry of

Foreign Affairs

& Trade

Felicity Buchanan is a career diplomat, and currently leads the Americas policy team within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Her role includes responsibility for New Zealand’s network of diplomatic posts across North America, South America and the Caribbean and engagement with countries in the region spanning political, economic and people to people links.  Felicity has been posted to Nuku’alofa, Ottawa and the NZ Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. 

Immediately prior to her current role, Felicity led the international security and disarmament policy team, and represented NZ as our senior Ministry official in international processes to counter-terrorism and radicalisation.  In 2014 she undertook a short-term secondment to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, leading an interagency team to consider how New Zealand prepares for and responds to threats to our national security and resilience.


Clare Callow



Agritour Associates


Clare Callow has been a LANZBC member for 15 years, a director for sevenyears and served as president 2011 - 2013.

Clare is the founder and director of Agritour Associates Limited, a company that since 1983 has been promoting the adoption of New Zealand agri-technology by the international  agribusiness sector.  


Agritour Associates is New Zealand’s leading specialist agricultural tourism company devoted solely to technical agricultural, horticultural and rural tourism – it provides international clients with access to New Zealand’s leading farms, research establishments, agribusinesses, orchards and forests where best-practice is demonstrated. Latin American countries are a key source of clients for Agritour and New Zealand’s agriculturally focused businesses, particularly where pastoral livestock farming is an option.  


Clare is professionally trained with an agricultural science degree from Massey University.  She works in and has business involvement with a range of agriculturally-related areas of which Agritour Associates is one.  She continues a career-long involvement with animal breeding and genetics, focusing on sheep performance recording with The New Zealand Animal Breeding Trust of which she is General Manager; she owns a start-up company, Agritech New Zealand Limited, with the development of liquid organic fertiliser being one of its areas of interest.


Successful technology transfer is the key to all aspects of Clare’s business - her background and training as a former government animal husbandry consultant equips her well for communication of and education in complex technical areas. Further, her interest in the educational sector and her longstanding Trustee position on the Board of New Zealand’s largest independent co-ed preparatory boarding school has ensured Clare has kept abreast of developments in the communication and education fields.  

Leandro Cavalcanti


Reel Brazil Film Festival

Leandro Cavalcanti is the Executive Director & Producer of the Reel Brazil Film Festival, became a director of the LANZBC in 2014 and is the Communications Lead for the Council. He has over 13 years experience helping organise, run and promote film festivals in New Zealand and abroad. In between film festivals he works as a contractor on a variety of projects within the project management and business analysis space and, in turn, as a business facilitator helping New Zealand and Brazilian businesses understand and do business with each other. He has also recently started investing in opportunities around commodities trading between the two regions.

Originally from the state of Minas Gerais, (the largest coffee exporting region in the world, and where most of the Brazilian-originated coffee in NZ comes from) he is a Wellingtonian at heart and has made New Zealand his home since 2000. He has also lived for 5 years in London and 2 years in Toronto.
Leandro has built an established network of contacts and relationships in a wide range of business sectors, as well as in the arts, entertainment and government arenas in Brazil, New Zealand and Canada. He has developed a deep understanding and hands-on experience of the ins-and-outs of doing business with Brazil, and is passionate about "selling" New Zealand as a business and tourist destination to Latin America and vice-versa.

When he first arrived in the country, Leandro worked in Wellington movie theatres and cafes to learn about the hospitality and movie industry. Between 2002-2006 he worked for the Brazilian Embassy in the trade and cultural promotions sector. Following that he spent two years in Toronto helping set-up and run a Brazilian film festival. In 2009 he returned to New Zealand and founded Reel Brazil; today the largest annual Brazilian event in the country and the main gateway for Brazilian cinema. Through the already established Gala Corporate Opening Nights of the festival, under the patronage of the Brazilian Ambassador to New Zealand, he has created a stage for fomenting business and cultural exchange between New Zealand and Latin America (

 Charles Finny


Education NZ

Charles Finny has been a director of the LANZBC since 2013 with his principle interest in Latin America being education. Charles is the Chairman of the Board of Education New Zealand and serves on the Boards of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, The New Zealand Film Commission and the Victoria University of Wellington.

Charles is a partner at the Wellington Government Relations company Saunders Unsworth. Prior to this he spent five and a half years as CEO of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he was actively involved in LANZBC business.

Charles has worked closely on matters relating to Latin America since 1993/94 when he was involved in initial approaches to Chile about a FTA negotiation.  He has visited Latin America many times, with his most recent visit to Colombia and Chile in November 2013. 

Charles has spent much of his life working and studying overseas. He has extensive contacts with politicians of all parties and has a wide range of close contacts throughout the bureaucracy and business communities. Charles has also done considerable work with the local government sector (he is the former Chair of the Local Government Forum) and has interacted closely with a range of Mayors, Councillors and local body managers. He is particularly interested in transport and infrastructure issues, climate change and foreign investment.

 Nick Fitzpatrick



Nick Fitzpatrick is a New Zealand citizen with an active and on-going interest in Latin America. He has been a director of the LANZBC since 2013. Nick has been working for T&G (formally known as Turners and Growers) subsidiary Delica Global  ( since 2003, setting up and running Delica's Peruvian office from 2007-2012. Delica is part of the T&G Group and works exclusively with fresh fruit and vegetables. T&G has several international offices including Peru and Chile.

His interest in Latin America began during University in the mid-nineties, when the Latin American studies department was in its infancy. He graduated from Auckland University in 1998 with Double major in French and History. He then went on to work in the wine industry for several years, including living in France and Switzerland during 2000/2001. A love of travel and international relations and cultures drew Nick to working for Delica in 2003 where he promptly put his hand up to lead the company’s then recent involvement in Chile/Peru. Delica now has 13 full time staff in Peru and Chile, and Nick oversees Delica's involvement in the continent.

Nick is fluent in Spanish and French, as well as English. He is married with 2 young children and has wide interests including reading, wine and football.

Paolo da Silva


Suppremo Hospitality Solutions

Paolo Lima is a Brazilian businessman who studied Law in Brazil before starting his career in events. Passionate about History, Sociology and Economics, Paolo has resided in New Zealand for the last 12 years, and has been a director of the LANZBC since 2014.

Having worked for 5 years as a professional DJ in the finest hotel and resort complex in South America, in 2004 Paolo decided to come to NZ to look for bigger challenges in the music industry. His event experience expanded into a hospitality-based role at the Hilton Hotel and not long after, he noticed the need for specialised professionals for high-end events in the Auckland hospitality market and decided to open his own business, Suppremo Hospitality Solutions.

Nowadays, Paolo is the sole director of Suppremo (, regarded as one the finest hospitality operations in the country with over 200 employees. He is also the founder of BRAINZ Intelligent Imports and is highly interested in Latin America trade, culture and heritage.


Ex Officio

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Thomas Manning


Manning Group Limited

Thomas Manning has been a LANZBC member for 25 years, through the New Zealand Mexico Business Council which merged with the Chile Business Council to form the LANZBC. He has been a director since 2007 and was Vice President of the LANZBC from 2011 - 2013.

With a background in Hospitality Management and a decade spent lecturing in Business Communication at the Central Institute of Technology (‘CIT’) in Heretaunga, Thomas has accumulated over 25 years experience working in Latin America. He was contracted in 1987 to market CIT's English Language Institute in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru and pioneered the marketing of New Zealand's export education services in Latin America.

Since 1987 Manning Group has successfully worked in a wide variety of sectors (principally in Mexico & Argentina but also in Peru, Chile and Uruguay) including Adventure Tourism (Shotover Jet Limited & A.J.Hackett Bungy Limited), Animal Health (MAFTECH), ESL Education (CITEC), Dairy Management (MAF Flock House Bulls), Post-graduate Education (Massey University), Food Processing (Watties Industries Limited), Trade & Product Promotions (Weddel Crown Corporation & NZ Meat Board), Construction (Puerto Vallarta Partnership) and Importing (Café Vallarta Partnership & Mexicorp Limited).

In addition to its activities in Latin America, Manning Group Limited has also successfully owned and managed a number of New Zealand-based enterprises in hotel management, property development & investment and latterly, feature film production.

Thomas is passionate about the enormous economic benefits for New Zealand in closer ties with Latin American and he has worked to strengthen those ties for more than two decades through his involvement the LANZBC and as a member of New Zealand Ministerial Economic Missions to Mexico and Argentina.

Craig Musson2


National Trade

Academy Limited


Craig Musson is the Managing Director of the National Trade Academy Limited (‘NTA’), and has been a director of the LANZBC since 2011. The NTA commenced business in January 2000 and is a Private Training Establishment providing training courses in the land-based industries.

Prior to 2000 Craig was involved in training with the Agriculture ITO and previous to this had a number of years involved in the rural services sector and service administration with the Waimate District Council.

In 2006 Craig started his involvement in South America with the  P4 Trade Mission to Chile with NZTE. Since 2006 he has been to South America a number of times promoting NTA courses in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina Brazil and Colombia. From 2007, the NTA worked with Immigration NZ and the Chilean government to pilot and promote a ‘Study to Work Visa’ for vocational training, allowing graduates from agricultural high schools in Chile to study in New Zealand and then work on a dairy farm to gain New Zealand dairy farming skills. In December 2014 the visa was approved by Cabinet as a permanent visa, and will be known as the ‘Primary Sector Trainees Work Visa’.  For more information on the NTA, click here

 Paola Neilson 1


Neilson Immigration


Paola Neilson is a Licensed Immigration Adviser (IAA 200900809) with expertise in strategic business and market development, extensively networked in South America, China and New Zealand.

Paola has over 10 years’ experience working with overseas companies and foreign entrepreneurs, assisting them set up operations in New Zealand under immigration business categories. 


She possesses a strong knowledge of immigration policies and regulations associated with international business and a broad background working across various industries including immigration, on-line business development, international education management and fashion design.


Paola has run her Immigration practice - Neilson Immigration and Business Consultants -since 2004, which has steadily grown and positioned within the market.   She is also the Editor of, an online news platform where people simply don’t go to read immigration news but instead, to learn more about what the news means in the immigration context – ‘Immigration in Plain English’.


She is originally from the Southwest of Colombia – Pasto - a small town where although Spanish is spoken, a great influence of Quechua (the language of the Andes) words are still retained and widely spoken across the region.


Paola is currently completing an MBA in Economic International Relations (Latin America - EU).

Silvana Scheone


Minter Ellison Rudd Watts


Silvana Schenone is a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. She is qualified to practice as a lawyer in Chile and New Zealand, and is Master in Laws from Harvard University.


Silvana is experienced in advising local and foreign investors, both in English and Spanish, on a range of corporate matters, having acted for a number of clients on acquisitions, joint ventures and partnership arrangements, private equity investments, securities offerings and general corporate advisory work.


Before coming to New Zealand, Silvana lived and worked in the United States (Boston and New York) and before that she practiced law in Chile (where she was born), receiving multiple recognitions during her career.


Silvana now leads the Latin American practice of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, the only major New Zealand firm with a dedicated focus and expertise in Latin America.


Minter Ellison Rudd Watts is a long established New Zealand law firm with more than 40 partners and over 120 other legal staff across their Auckland and Wellington offices. For over twenty years, the firm has been a member of the worldwide Minter Ellison Legal Group, which is the only recognised top-tier global legal grouping owned and operated from the Asia-Pacific region.

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12 December 2014 - Air New Zealand announced today it will begin thrice weekly Boeing 777-200 services to Buenos Aires, Argentina in a code-share association wth Aerolineas Argentinas from December 2015.  To read the full story:  Please Click Here

LANZBC in the News

    RadioLive Show:

    "Growing export opportunities for
    Kiwi businesses in Latin America"
    with Louise Pagonis, 14 May 2014:

    To listen please click here




The Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, addresses Members and guests about his March 2013 Mission to Latin America at Auckland's Stamford Plaza Hotel, 11 September 2013.  

For Mr Key's speech:
Please Click Here 

Guests were also addressed by Argentine Ambassador H.E. Sr. Fernando Escalona on behalf of the the Latin American and Caribbean ambassadors.  

For Ambassador Escalona's speech: Please Click Here



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