Agritech Group Stakeholders

Meet our collective of highly experienced advisors to the board, stakeholders, and suppliers to the Agritech Group.

The Agritech Group Ltd has engaged the services of a highly experienced team of advisors who will help the development of the various businesses over the next one to three years.

The business will embrace B Corp standards, striving to achieve a certification that will underpin the ethos of voluntarily meeting the highest standards for social and environmental performance.

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

- Warren Bennis

Meet the Advisors

John McWhirter

Advisor Agritech Group Ltd

John is an experienced Chief Executive Officer and is the current CEO of WoolNZ, a former CEO of Hellers NZ Ltd with a career pathway that included GM roles with George Weston Foods and PGG Wrightson Ltd. John has a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. He is skilled in sales and executive-level negotiations, strategic planning, business development, and marketing strategy, and he can craft and deliver a strategy for growth. 

John is an influential business development professional who graduated from University of Canterbury.

Robert Sharkie

CEO Ruralco
Advisor Agritech Group Limited

Kevin Burt

Strategy & Governance Partner
Advisor Agritech Green Investments Limited

Kevin is fortunate to have a career spanning Energy & Clean Tech, Defence, FMCG, Primary Industry, and the Asset and Facility Management sectors, with a record of success across Director and Senior Executive roles, as well as Governance, Project and Programme Leadership functions.

He brings knowledge from a wide range of domains, combining interdisciplinary thinking with an ability to connect often disparate pieces of information together in new ways. Kevin forms and manages lasting strategic and operational relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. A key strength is his ability to guide organisations in identifying and capitalising on internal and external opportunities, while providing oversight or directly managing the execution of strategies, programmes, and individual projects to create sustainable and lasting organisational value - often where the path in unclear.

Kevin’s career began as an officer in the Australian Army and subsequently the Special Operations Group. Since these foundational years, he’s continued in leadership and management roles across challenging environments, cultures, and projects. He recognises the power of partnering to achieve strategic wins, having done this successfully at the tribal, community, regional, national, and international levels.

Rob McFarlane

Advisor Agritech Animal Nutrition Limited

Rob’s career in the Ruminant Nutrition sector spans over 25 years. Originally from Scotland Rob has a strong practical background in Dairy farming and Ruminant Nutrition. Following his O.E. milking cows here in NZ he returned to the UK and started his animal nutrition career working for two major UK Feed companies. 

Rob and his family emigrated to NZ in 2004 and he spent his first four years working for CTS (the sole agency for Alltech products in NZ), where he provided sales training and technical support all over NZ, for their distributors specializing in the Animal Health and conserved forage sectors.

In 2008, Alltech officially opened their office in New Zealand and Rob joined the company as their Technical Sales Manager, before taking on the General Manager role for NZ and Fiji. 

Over his 17 year employment with Alltech, Rob held many positions, including GM Dairy (Aus & NZ) and latterly was the Commercial Director for Alltech NZ Ltd.

Rob and his wife Andrea decided to start MCF AGRI-TECH LTD, their Agri-Consultancy and Nutrition business in 2021 that focusses on providing practical nutrition advice and feed formulation for feed companies and farmers. 

Conor English

Advisor Agritech Group Limited

Experience in Government and Parliamentary Relations, Policy, Agriculture, Exporting, Investment, Technology and Smart Cities. Represented Farmers, New Zealand, and his business locally and internationally at all levels, dealing with Governors, Prime Ministers and Presidents.

Previously CEO of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, CEO of Property Institute of New Zealand, Commercial Director of The Property Group Former Independent Advisor to the Reserve Bank of NZ and Beehive Staffer. Chairman of Agribusiness New Zealand Ltd, President of NZ Esports, and director of several companies.

Jo Coughlan

Advisor Agritech Group Limited

25 years’ experience in senior public relations, media relations and communications roles, working in and around Government dealing with politicians and officials. Beehive experience as Press Secretary to Foreign Minister and Minister of International Trade. Corporate experience incl. NZ Tourism Board, The National Bank of NZ Ltd, AMP/Ergo and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd.

Governance experience including nine years as a Wellington City Councillor - six of those as Chair Economic Development; Director Positively Wellington Tourism, Life Education Trust New Zealand and Independent Director Dairy NZ.

Paul Cunneen

Rural Sales Consultant Property Brokers
Advisor Property Developments Limited

Paul Cunneen serves as a Rural Sales Consultant for Property Brokers Hastings McLeod.

Over the span of his 30 year career he has been involved in over 950 sales within the rural real estate sector. As part of a strong rural team, Paul has played a significant role in the intensification and change of land use throughout Canterbury.

Paul is well known for his sound and straight forward advice. His background in agriculture and understanding of the local market has seen him become one of New Zealand’s most established Rural Sales Consultant and Valuers.

He holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce degree majoring in Valuation and Farm Management from Lincoln University, serves as a Senior Member of the Property Institute of New Zealand and is a Registered Valuer.

Paul’s hobbies include scuba diving, fishing, traveling, thoroughbred racing and rugby. He enjoys playing tennis and squash regularly and spending time with his four daughters.

Contact Paul today for more information on how he can help with your next property investment.

Strategic Partners

Financial Management & Accounting

Mathiesons will support the financial management and reporting processes. The monthly management and annual accounts will be generated using Xero accounting software, allowing a real-time dashboard for monthly business performance.

This application will also enable accurate invoice generation and a bank account interface. In year one, a part-time financial administrator and sales support employee will form part of the team.


Harmans are a team of Christchurch-based Lawyers that have served the Canterbury district with pride since 1888. They provide a comprehensive range of legal services, from Asset Protection, Estate Administration and Property Law to Resource Management, Dispute Resolution and Employment Law.

Meet the Management Team

Simon Jones

Managing Director of Agritech Group Ltd

Simon’s background and experience include senior management and leadership roles that exposed him to animal genetics, animal feed manufacturing, sales and marketing, property development, media and communications, events, and entrepreneurship. 

Bringing together these skills and interests, combined with critical thinking and a focus on core values and principles aligned to sustainability, ensures the Agritech team will make a change for good for the New Zealand agri sector.

Simon encourages and challenges his friends and family to chase their dreams, embrace success and take positive learning from all life experiences. He is fortunate to have a team around him that embraces these values and a peer group that celebrates and encourages success.

Agritech Governance 'Paul Bates' 275px

Paul Bates

Operations Manager of Agritech Group Limited

Paul is an Operations Manager with 40 years of experience in manufacturing. During this time Paul has significant management experience in a variety of industries.

Originally with a background in Food Manufacturing, Paul spent time in the Plastics Industry before becoming involved in the manufacture of Animal Feed, managing Feed Mills for Fresh Pork, NRM and Seales Winslow.

Integration and innovation will provide the solutions that will steer agriculture towards a sustainable future.