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Chris Claridge, Chief Executive

Chris has an extensive business and academic background.

Founder of Carrickmore, a dairy export company specialising in marketing infant formula, the Carrickmore product range was launched in China and New Zealand in 2012. Chris helped established the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association to maintain and protect the reputation of New Zealand infant formula. Members included; laboratories, can manufacturers, co-packers, ingredient suppliers and small and medium sized infant formula exporters. The Associations membership grew to 26 companies representing an export value of $60 million before being adversely affected by international dairy markets.

Prior to that Chris founded ID Digital Media, a full service advertising agency specialising in marketing communications. He was also the Dean of Business Studies and Senior Lecturer in Management at the Christchurch College of Education.

Passionate about horticulture and adding value to New Zealand’s primary produce he founded Claridges Organics, one of New Zealand’s first organic food exporting businesses. Chris attended Lincoln University to study Horticulture before transferring to Canterbury to complete a Masters in Biotechnology.

He is a member of the Royal Society and the New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology.


Steve Sheppard – Engagement & Communications Manager

Steve has an extensive education, communications and marketing background in membership organisations. Prior to joining Potatoes NZ, Steve worked at MPI and the Nursery & Garden Industry NZ. He brings 10 plus year’s communications experience working across the horticulture, education, ICT and sports industries.

Steve will be working closely with Chris to deliver various education/engagement initiatives and managing the communications for Potatoes NZ. He enjoys working with membership organisations to promote the industry and provide collaboration and development opportunities.


Justine Croft, Finance & Administration Manager

Justine is the new Finance & Administration Manager for Potatoes NZ, having moved to Wellington for a Lifestyle change.  She brings a wealth of experience in finance and administration, having worked in various roles over the past 30 years. Justine also held a similar role for Hopkins Farming Group where she worked for 6.5 years.

As well as managing the finances and providing administrative support to the organisation, Justine will be supporting the various committees and the Board and supporting Chris through his busy schedule.


Kate Underwood, Training & Education Manager

Kate started working for Potatoes NZ in 2011, and took the role of Training and Education Manager for The Chip Group in 2012. She has a lifelong interest in food and nutrition.

Having grown up in kiwifruit country Te Puke, she studied a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at the University of Otago.

You may have seen Kate driving round New Zealand training ‘chippies’ how to cook healthier chips to minimise the fat absorption and sodium content. All in aide of improving the health of New Zealanders.

To find out more about The Chip Group visit


Advisory Consultant: Dr Stephen Ogden

Dr Stephen Ogden, a Director of Market Access Solutionz, is the Secretary of the New Zealand Seed Potato Certification Authority.

The Secretary is responsible for:

  • Acting as contact point for Authority correspondence as Secretary, dealing with issues arising
  • Meeting management for the Authority and Technical Panels, including full meeting administration
  • Implementing work programme, monitor and follow-up with meeting outcomes
  • Implementing an audit process for inspection bodies, laboratories and minituber facilities
  • Oversight of scheme rules and amendments, liaison with AsureQuality and SGS and contracts, issues management
  • Overseeing finances and development of a new invoicing system for seed entries, preparation of accounts for Authority meetings
  • Drafting content for seed email newsletter.

Dr Ogden has worked with the potato industry for many years advising on biosecurity and market access issues, as well as psyllid. He has run grower workshops, developed technical resources for growers and provided advice on the research programme. He has worked in agriculture all of his working life in the scientific, regulatory and private sectors.