Board of Directors

As a State Owned Enterprise, Transpower’s Board is appointed by its shareholder – the New Zealand Government.

Dr Keith Turner - Chair


Keith has more than 40 years’ experience in the electricity industry, having held senior executive positions in Meridian Energy (CEO), the former Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (COO), and its predecessor NZED. His experience includes extensive participation in major reform initiatives that reshaped New Zealand's electricity system including being a member of the Transpower Establishment Board, a founding Director of The Market Company (MCo) and a founding member of the Market Surveillance Committee.

Since 2008, he has held Directorships on a range of major boards in New Zealand and Australia including Fisher and Paykel Appliances (former Chair), Auckland International Airport (former Deputy Chair), Chorus, Trustpower, Team NZ (former Chair) and Australian-based Spark Infrastructure, Transgrid, Victoria Power Networks and South Australia Power Networks. Keith has a PhD in engineering, is a Distinguished Fellow of Engineering NZ and holds the Sir William Pickering Medal for Engineering Leadership. 

Whaimutu Dewes - Deputy Chair


Whaimutu (Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Rangitihi) has an extensive governance background, having held directorships at organisations including Housing New Zealand, Television New Zealand, Māori Television, Ngāti Porou Holding Company, and Contact Energy. He is a former Chair of Sealord Group and Ngāti Porou Forests Limited. 

He has established himself as a leader in Māori business organisations, with particular expertise in fisheries having also served as a member of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in its first 10 years.

Mr Dewes holds Bachelors degrees in Arts and Law from Victoria University and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard.

Owen Coppage


Owen has over 45 years of energy industry experience from roles at organisations such as NGC and Southpower. He is a seasoned Chief Information Officer and held the role for AGL Energy for almost 10 years. Mr Coppage currently provides thought leadership, partnering strategy and technology solution assurance to the Tata Consultancy Services globally, industry players in the Australia New Zealand region and various companies directly. 

Parekawhia McLean


Parekawhia McLean (Ngāti Mahanga, Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto) has over 20 years of public sector policy and management experience, including advisory roles in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is the inaugural Chief Executive of Te Kaahui Taatari Ture/Criminal Cases Review Commission and has previously held executive leadership roles at Counties Manakau DHB and Waka Kotahi. She was CEO of Waikato-Tainui between 2010 and 2016.

Parekawhia is current Chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato (TWOW), the governing body of Waikato-Tainui, and has held numerous governance roles, including with the National Science Resilience Challenge, Mercury Energy, Te Mangai Paho and Waikato Means Business. She has Masters’ degrees in Social Sciences from the University of Waikato and in Public Administration and Development Policy from the University of Wisconsin.

Heather Simpson


Heather has extensive Government and policy experience including as Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister and Special Advisor to the United Nations Development programme. She has led a range of Government reviews and groups including a review of the New Zealand health and disability system and a new group to support the Ministry of Health in improving COVID-19 border security, and holds a BA(Hons) in Economics.


Vanessa Oakley


Vanessa has considerable experience in corporate and public sector organisations in both Aotearoa New Zealand and in the UK. She was most recently Chief General Counsel of ACC and has previously been General Manager Strategy and Business Operations for Chorus Limited, and Assistant General Counsel for the Commerce Commission. She has extensive experience in regulated industries, particularly in infrastructure and utilities.

Vanessa has governance experience across a range of sectors. She holds an LLB (Hons) from Otago University. 


Michele Embling


Michele has over ten years’ experience as a Chair and Board Member for multiple private, not for profit, and public sector entities, including her current appointments as Chair of the External Reporting Board (XRB) and Board Member of Toitū Tahua - The Centre for Sustainable Finance.

Michele served as the Chair of PwC in New Zealand from 2016 to 2020, was a partner for 15 years and held numerous leadership, executive and governance roles within PwC in New Zealand and Asia. She is committed to growing diverse and inclusive leadership for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand, and served as Co-Chair of Champions for Change from 2018 to 2020 and from 2011 to 2018 was a board member and Deputy Chair of Global Women.

Current other roles include non-executive Director of Power Finance Limited, Board member of the Australian Financial Reporting Council, Deputy Chair of the University of Auckland’s Business School Advisory Board, and independent New Zealand member of the Nominations and Governance Committee of Chartered Accountants.