About Te Awamutu
Business Chamber

The Te Awamutu Business Chamber is a community-based organisation, part of the nationwide network of New Zealand Chambers of Commerce. We have a voluntary board made up of local business owners and community representatives that work together to provide support and represent the voice of the Te Awamutu business community. 


What does the Te Awamutu Business Chamber Do?

The Chamber runs a year round series of events, including networking and professional development opportunities. We also administer the Support Local Te Awamutu initiative and advocate for local business locally, regionally and nationally, providing support to help business thrive. Members can pick and choose from relevant support on offer to suit their individual business needs.

Professional Development Events
Networking Events
Support Local Te Awamutu


Shane Walsh, CEO

Shane Walsh is the CEO of the Te Awamutu Business Chamber. Shane has had a successful corporate career spanning 40+ years both in New Zealand and overseas.

He started his career working within the NZ Dairy Group and has held executive and senior management roles both nationally and internationally for the likes of Sanford Ltd and International Nutrition Company, Shanghai.

He continued his own higher education and gained an MBA (with distinction) from Waikato University.

Recently Shane, and his wife Paula (nee Williams), also of Te Awamutu, returned to their hometown and both are keen to make a positive contribution to the town and community.

Fran Jones, Administrator

Fran Jones is the Administrator of the Te Awamutu Business Chamber. Fran has a background in marketing, events management and communications.

Fran moved back to New Zealand in 2018 after spending ten years living and working in Melbourne and where she also had her two children.

She was raised in a small rural community and has fond memories of her childhood. Moving back to New Zealand, and settling down in Kihikihi was the best decision. She is also board member at her children's primary school.

Fran is passionate about her local community and enjoys her diverse role at the Chamber. The best part of her role is interacting with our Chamber members. 


Maria Heslop

Chair / Investment Adviser and NZX Adviser at Craigs Investment Partners

Maria Heslop is the Chair of the Te Awamutu Business Chamber and an investment adviser for Craigs Investment Partners servicing the Waikato with a large client base locally. She was born and bred in Te Awamutu and her husband and son both work for businesses here. Maria does a lot of work in the community through Craigs for numerous organisations in sport, environmental, art, charitable trusts, women’s organisations and more. She also serves on the board for Mathematics for a Lifetime Charitable Trust and is a Rotary member. Maria absolutely loves all things business and the Chamber is the essence of that. The Chamber is a strong, vibrant, growth orientated business hub where like-minded people network, learn and do business together and Maria loves being a part of making that happen and helping to govern its bright future.

Mark Derbyshire

Real Estate Specialist at Ray White, Te Awamutu

Mark Derbyshire is a Real Estate Specialist at Ray White in Te Awamutu. Brought up in Te Awamutu, Mark moved back ‘home’ to raise his own family with his wife Georgia, recognising Te Awamutu as a caring and supportive place to live with so much to offer.

Mark has worked in mostly customer-facing roles for 20 years - in retail and trade - and also has been self-employed. He has a solid understanding and appreciation for small business and the support necessary for growth and success. Sitting on the Chamber board, Mark is keen to play an active role and be involved in our community.

Rachel Cooper

Relationship Property and Litigation Solicitor at Gallie Miles Lawyers

Rachel is a solicitor at Gallie Miles Lawyers working in relationship property and litigation.

Prior to her career in law, Rachel and her husband were the managing directors of their own business for ten years. They employed seven staff and grew the business from the start. Because of this experience, she understands the stresses and challenges to business ownership as well as the success that comes with it. She believes her experience will provide valuable knowledge to her position as board member of the Chamber.

She is friendly and approachable and looks forward to supporting our business community.

Tania Sanders

Partner at Findex 

Tania Sanders is a partner at Findex Te Awamutu and a qualified Chartered Accountant. Born in Whanganui, Tania moved to Te Awamutu for school and has been here ever since, except for an OE she had in London for a couple of years. Tania has been an accountant all her working life and got chartered in 1997. She worked for and eventually owned Kelly & Bryant Chartered Accountants Ltd, this went on to become Findex where she is currently an associate partner. Tania is involved in a range of community groups – Altrusa International of Te Awamutu, Te Awamutu Sports Netball Club, Te Awamutu Sports Hockey Club, Stewart Alexander Golf Club. She always puts her hand up to help in any finance capacity and is passionate about Te Awamutu and its business community. Being on the Chamber board Tania  would like to ensure all business owners make the most of what the Chamber can do for them.

Aaron Karam

Salon Manager and qualified hairdresser - Team Seven Hairdressing

Aaron is a qualified hairdresser and Salon Manager at Team Seven Hairdressing in Te Awamutu.

Aaron discovered that hairdressing was a great way of gaining valuable local knowledge from his client-base.  His clients represent all pockets of the Te Awamutu community - from people who own businesses or belong to community groups. 

Aaron has previous committee experience from roles he's filled within the New Zealand Association of Hairdressers.

Aaron is looking forward to help build on the strengths we have as a town and to make use of the valuable information he gets from his local clients.

Megan Port

Business Owner Ruby Red Photography & Business Ninja (Chamber Treasurer)

Megan is passionate about helping small businesses thrive. Her virtual assistant business is based on the desire to free business owners from the overwhelm of their businesses, and support them through designing a business that works for them.

She strongly believes in supporting a community of local business owners so that their incredible skills and services get the recognition and the patronage they deserve.

She brings to the board 17 years experience in management and corporate accounting, audit, and continuous improvement, as well as 8 years of managing first one and now two small businesses - her newborn and family photography business (Ruby Red Photography), and a virtual assistant business providing accounting and process improvement services (Business Ninja).

She lives in Te Awamutu with her husband (born and bred in Te Awamutu) and three young boys.

James Clark

Owner / Operator FreshChoice Te Awamutu

James has owned FreshChoice in Te Awamutu since 2018, employing over 40 staff.

Prior to moving to Te Awamutu, James and his wife Vanessa spent 17 years running a Contract Cleaning Company specialising in servicing the Supermarket industry.

James gained an MBA from Massey University in 2002.

James sits on the Brand Management Committee for the FreshChoice Group and is currently part of the executive working group for FreshChoice / Woolworths New Zealand negotiating for a fair pay agreement for the Supermarket industry.

Part of the rebuilding of Fresh Choice Te Awamutu was the strong commitment James had to the local community.  FreshChoice sponsors many local sporting clubs, charities, and local individuals.

Enjoying the pace and the people of Te Awamutu, James is looking forward to actively contributing to the success of the Chamber and the wider community.



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