Chamber head keen to enhance bonds

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 07:51 30/07/2013
Nikki de Reeper

Nikki de Reeper

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Saint Clair Family Estate chief financial officer Nikki de Reeper has been appointed the new president of the region's Chamber of Commerce, and Marlborough Travel owner Chris Godsiff is the first vice-president.

She replaces solicitor Steve Riley, who has stepped down early, citing growing work pressures.

Mrs de Reeper, who moved to Marlborough with her husband, Tony de Reeper, and three sons in 2000, used to operate Business Services Marlborough, before taking on the role of chief financial officer for Saint Clair in 2006.

Mr de Reeper, the managing director of Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants, was also chamber president in 2006 and 2007. Mrs de Reeper's vision was to continue work to increase the chamber's services and membership, and nurture the close relationship with the region's main industries, the Marlborough District Council, and MP for Kaikoura Colin King.

The next challenge was "to enhance our relationships with central government".

She said Marlborough was a "wonderful place with many talented people". "It has amazing potential and people dedicated to help reach that potential."

Steve Riley, on the board for four years and president for 2 years, has decided to concentrate on his Blenheim legal practice and running his Awatere Valley vineyard.

"The position is quite onerous in terms of time required, and there is quite a lot happening," he said. "You get to the point where you've done your bit, and it's someone else's turn to step up."

"Pressure of work" was mounting up at his law firm, and it was becoming increasingly challenging to meet all his commitments, he said.

During his time as president, the chamber's membership increased from 296 to 503, and the chamber office had expanded from two staff members to four.

While membership was not a chamber goal, it was a measure of its success, he said.

"We've become a bigger voice in the business community . . . the chamber has become more prominent and more relevant."

One of the greatest successes in recent years was organising the rollout of the Tasman Fibre Network for Blenheim and Picton businesses, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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