Programme Team

The New Southern Sky Programme team are based at the CAA head office in the Asteron building in central Wellington. 

Governance Group

The purpose of the New Southern Sky Governance Group is to provide strategic guidance and oversight of the National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan through New Southern Sky, the implementation programme.

Members of the Governance Group, which is chaired by the CAA, include the Ministry of Transport and the Airways Corporation.  Director New Southern Sky sits on the Governance Group  and an independent member.

Working Group

The New Southern Sky Working Group (NSSWG) is a cross-agency group comprising representatives of the agencies involved in the NSS programme. The NSSWG, chaired by the Director NSS (CAA), is responsible for providing advice to the programme project leads, and to the NSS Governance Group to enable that group to fulfil its role.

The membership of the Working Group is:

  • CAA (Chairman – Director NSS)
  • Airways Corporation
  • Ministry of Transport
  • MetService
  • Aeropath
  • Air New Zealand
  • Qantas Group
  • Land Information New Zealand
  • Airports Association
  • Aviation Community Advisory Group
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • New Zealand Defence Force
  • Aviation New Zealand
  • IFR Helicopters
  • Virgin Australia
  • UAV New Zealand

To find out more about the representatives on each of the teams, please scroll down.

Head Office


Level 15, Asteron Centre
55 Featherston
Wellington 6011


PO Box 3555
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Phone & Email

+64 4 560 9400
+64 4 569 2024

NSS Programme Team

Steve Smyth

Director New Southern Sky

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Steve Smyth is originally from the UK. He was an RAF officer, and flew Phantoms and Tornado fighters as a navigator. In his last RAF role Steve was responsible for the RAF’s operational test and evaluation programme, which included preparing Typhoon fighters ready for service.

In 2006, Steve was recruited by the RNZAF as a civilian to manage the Introduction Into Service programme for the upgrade or replacement of every operational aircraft and supporting system.

In July 2014, Steve was recruited by the CAA, as Director – New Southern Sky.

Steve’s role is to bring together all aspects of New Southern Sky, both internal and external, through coordination of the New Southern Sky stakeholder group. He chairs the Working Group and is a member of the Governance Group to which he reports.

Scott Earley

New Southern Sky Programme Coordinator

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Scott has lived and worked in Wellington since the mid-1990’s. A science graduate from Victoria University, Scott has an extensive background in the New Zealand geospatial industry, having worked with a wide range of private and public sector clients. Scott is now a developed project and programme delivery specialist. In 2013, Scott was recruited by the NZDF as a civilian to project manage the $135 million Medium Heavy Operational Vehicle project within Capability Branch. A key capability project replacing the ageing UNIMOG 1700 and Mercedes fleet used by the NZDF for the past 30 years.

In September 2016, Scott was recruited by the CAA, as Programme Coordinator, New Southern Sky. Scott’s role is to support Director New Southern Sky leading the work surrounding benefits definition and realisation planning for the NSS programme, of which risk and issue management is a key component.

Scott chairs the Project Control Team to work closely with the Aerospace Programme Unit Project Portfolio Coordinator and external stakeholders to deliver the expected outcomes of the NSS Programme.

Steve Blades

Senior Advisor, Programme Management

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A project and programme management specialist with wide ranging public sector experience, Steve Blades provides expert advice across the Civil Aviation Authority.

He is chiefly responsible for monitoring the Authority's portfolio and reporting on the delivery of key organisational programmes and projects to the Director of Civil Aviation.

Steve worked closely with the New Southern Sky team and partner agencies to develop the programme plan and identify related projects and activities, objectives and deliverables. He also played a key role in establishing reporting and control mechanisms that provide status updates to the Working and Governance Groups.

Steve also provides programme support to the Programme Director as required.

Lydia Randall

Project Portfolio Coordinator and Project Lead

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Lydia joined the Civil Aviation Authority in May 2016 as the Senior Administrative Officer for New Southern Sky and the Aerospace Programmes. Tasked with providing all levels of administrative support to the NSS team, Lydia also provided the NSS team with project support.

In November 2016 Lydia commenced her new role as the Project Portfolio Coordinator for all internal CAA led projects and tasks. As the key interface between the NSS programme and the Civil Aviation Authority, Lydia’s responsibilities include assisting project managers with the development of schedules, reporting and tracking of projects whilst keeping the programme updated on project and task progression.

Heidi Jordan

Project Coordinator and Project Lead

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Heidi joined the Civil Aviation Authority in July 2016, and is a Project Coordinator and Project Lead for the Aerospace Programmes team at the CAA.
Heidi's background is in project coordination, event management and financial analysis having come from the banking and investment sector. Heidi's role in New Southern Sky is to provide project support through her role with the Aerospace team.

Sean Rogers

Manager Aeronautical Services Unit

Clayton 'Merv' Hughes

Manager Special Flight Operations and Recreational Aviation

David Wills

Aeronautical Services Officer (Telecommunications)

Ray Harvey

Manager Aerospace Programmes

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Originally from the UK, Ray began his career there with the Ministry of Defence. His expertise is in avionics systems development, radio and radar.

Ray has wide public and private sector experience in avionics systems development, integration, test and certification for both military and civilian applications in Europe, the USA, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2011 Ray joined the CAA as an Airworthiness Engineer (Avionics) and became involved in type acceptance, operational approvals and the development of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) in New Zealand.

In April 2014 he became CAA Aerospace Programmes Unit Manager with a key responsibility for the considerable aerospace component of New Southern Sky. Ray also Chairs the New Southern Sky Safety Group that considers the safety implications of new technology, and systems deployment.

He is the CAA Air Transport and Airworthiness Group International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) liaison for projects, research & technology, test & evaluation, and exemptions.

Brigid Borlase

Principal Policy Advisor

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Brigid joined the Civil Aviation Authority in February 2014, and is part of the Policy and Regulatory Services team. Her background is in research, and policy analysis and development in a number of government agencies, and eight years with a consulting firm.

Brigid’s role in New Southern Sky is to provide policy support to the programme. This includes analysis of the issues presented by NSS, and providing options for addressing these where a policy intervention is required. Rule changes, guidance and advice to the sector, and advice to Government (in tandem with the Ministry of Transport) are part of her role.

Brigid works closely with CAA and Airways technical and safety experts, and with her policy counterparts at the Ministry of Transport.

Dave Harrison

Principal Aviation Examiner

Peter Lechner

Chief Meteorological Officer

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As the Chief Meteorological Officer for the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand , I manage all of the government's oversight interests in aviation meteorology . Alongside this work, and over many years , I have held positions in senior management responsible for strategic planning and reporting. As part of this work I completed a 3-year business and funding review of the CAA in 2013. A key part of my current work is to provide meteorological system advice and input to the NSS.

I continue to participate strongly in global aviation meteorological systems development through various International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, and other forums. Currently I am Chairman of the newly established ICAO Meteorology Panel. Previously I have Chaired the International Airways Volcano Watch management group and the International Volcanic Ash Task Force as well as represent New Zealand in international and regional ICAO forums.

Prior to coming to the CAA in 1992, I spent 16 years with the New Zealand Meteorological Service in various operational and management positions. My qualifications cover meteorology and physics, and I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

My interests in aviation extend to flying my own Grumman aircraft, holding a private pilot’s license with ratings on high performance single engine aircraft.

Shaun Johnson

Manager Airworthiness

Philippa Lagan

Senior Communications Advisor

Pete Wilson

Air Transport Inspector - Flight Operations

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Originally from Scotland, Pete moved to New Zealand in October 2017 and joined the CAA as an Air Transport Inspector (Flight Operations) in the Air Transport and Airworthiness team.

Pete started his aviation career as an Engineer, initially with Airbus in Toulouse, France and then as a mechanic on various warbirds and historic jets at Duxford in England.

Pete started flying thanks to a Flying Scholarship from the RAF and eventually discovered it was a lot easier to fly aeroplanes instead of fixing them. He has spent the last 12 years as an airline pilot, most recently as a Captain at British Airways CityFlyer based at London City Airport flying the Embraer 190 & 170 all around Europe.

Prior to that, Pete worked in Switzerland for 6 years as a Training Captain on the Dash 8 Q400 and Do328 aircraft. Before going to Switzerland he flew for two airlines in Scotland, on the BAe146 and Do328.

Pete also has a MSc in ‘Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aeronautics’ from Cranfield University in the UK.

NSS Governance Group

Mark Hughes

Deputy Director - Air Transport and Airworthiness - Civil Aviation Authority/NSSGG Chairperson

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Mark is the Deputy Director Air Transport and Airworthiness for the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. Mark leads a Group which is responsible for the safety oversight of New Zealand airlines and supporting maintenance, design, and manufacturing organisations. The Group also provides safety oversight of foreign airlines flying to and from New Zealand. Mark is the CAA Sponsor for the New Southern Sky (NSS) programme, a collaborative initiative to modernize New Zealand’s airspace and air navigation.

Mark’s early aviation career included roles as a military pilot for both the Canadian Armed Forces and the RNZAF. Before joining the CAA he had an extensive career in commercial aviation, flying a range of aircraft including the A320, A330, B757, and B737-800. He has held roles as an Instructor, Flight Examiner, Human Factors Specialist, Chief Pilot, and Director of Flight Operations.

Mark has experienced the evolution of aviation safety first-hand, including significant changes in technology and training, and greater focus on organisational and system factors. These changes have required aviation regulators to adopt new ways of engaging with industry to achieve desired safety outcomes. The implementation of Performance Base Regulation and the coordinated introduction of new technology are integral to these efforts.

Kirstie Hewlett

Deputy Chief Executive, Regulatory & Data, Ministry of Transport

Quentin Hay

Commercial Barrister

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Quentin Hay is a commercial barrister practising in Wellington, and a legal adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His practice includes infrastructure, utilities, regulation, commercial contracts, financing, merger and acquisition and transactions involving governments. Quentin also has considerable governance experience: currently he is also a trustee of Chamber Music New Zealand and of the Hurricanes Alumni Foundation.

Quentin’s role on the Governance Group is to provide independent governance oversight.

Tim Boyle

GM Air Traffic Systems, Airways New Zealand

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Tim was appointed General Manager Air Traffic Services in January 2018.
With 32 years’ experience in the aviation and air traffic management industry, Tim has held senior positions within Airways and Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS). Previously he was Head of Air Traffic Services and Head Customer and Stakeholder Management for DANS, and Airways Head of Auckland Operations.

NSS Working Group

Ian Andrews

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) - President

Wayne Blythe

Manager ANS Development - Airways New Zealand

Ashok Poduval

Aviation New Zealand

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Ashok Poduval is currently the CEO of Massey University School of Aviation based in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He has been a training captain with Indian Airlines and Gulf Air on B-737 and A-320 aircraft, and has over 12,500 hours of airline jet flying experience. He holds a current New Zealand Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence, as well as ATP licences from India, Oman and Canada.

Ashok has held various senior management positions in the aviation industry, including Manager Human Factors Program, Head of Human Resources, Corporate Training and Development with Gulf Air, Bahrain, and Director of Flight Operations and Safety Services with IATA based at Montreal. He has written and presented a number of papers on aviation operations, training and safety at various international conferences, and has been on numerous IATA and ICAO technical panels and working groups.

Ashok has tertiary qualifications in business administration and aeronautics, and a Master of Management degree from Massey University. He is the representative on the NSSWG for the Aviation Industry Association (Aviation NZ)

Mike Haines

Head of Policy, Standards and Safety Improvement Airways New Zealand

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Mike Haines has over 20 years aviation experience including operational management roles at Christchurch International Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority and Airways New Zealand. Mike holds a private pilot licence – aeroplane, Bachelor of Aviation and a Masters of Aviation.
Whilst at the CAA Mike established and managed the Airspace and Environmental Policy Unit which among other tasks developed the New Zealand Performance Based Navigation Plan. He oversaw development of the National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan based which is now being implemented as the New Southern Sky Programme.
Mike has been involved in various International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meetings and groups including the Asia Pacific Air Navigation Planning and Implementation Regional Group (APANPIRG) and as co-chair of the ICAO Asia Pacific Seamless Air Traffic Management Group which developed the regional Seamless ATM Plan.
Mike is currently Head of Policy, Standards and Safety Improvement a role that ensures Airways compliance with Civil Aviation Rules, sets operational policy, coordinates ICAO matters and assesses the implementation of new technologies for operational use. Mike is on the NSS Working Group and NSS Swim Sub-Group.

Russell Brown

Senior Adviser - Aviation & Security - Ministry of Transport

Qwilton Biel

Aviation Community Advisory Group (ACAG) - Deputy Chairman

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Qwilton has 30 years involvement in management of GA helicopter and fixed wing operations. He have recently taken on the role of Deputy Chairman of ACAG as well as being the Coordinator for Auckland Airspace Users Group.
Qwilton is also involved as industry representative on initial drafting of the Civil Aviation Rules.
Qwilton has a CPL(H) and Skipper Restricted Limits, which he enjoys using on the rare occasions he is allowed away from his desk.

Garry Goodman

NZ Airports Association

Kevin Alder

Manager, Meteorological Data Services - MetService

Steve Kelly

Manager Flight Operations Regulatory Affairs - Air New Zealand

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Steve Kelly was born, raised and educated in Auckland. After university he joined the RNZAF and flew as a P3 Orion Navigator and Tactical Coordinator.
Steve emigrated to the United Kingdom in the early 90’s and spent 6 years in London working in various flight planning and flight operations roles with Jeppesen U.K. and Shell Aircraft’s corporate flight department.
Returning to New Zealand in 1997 to a job with Air New Zealand, Steve has been involved with Navigation Services and latterly with Flight Operations Regulatory Affairs.

Kurt Frauenstein

Virgin Australia

Matt Amos

Deputy Chief Geodesist - Land Information New Zealand

Matt Day

Manager Aeronautical Information Management - Aeropath

Robert McClean

Manager, RMA Practice - Ministry for the Environment

Mark Cook

IFR Helicopters (Helicopter NZ)

Tony MacDonald

Senior manager Flying Operations (NZ) - Jetstar

Andy Grant

Chairman - UAVNZ