Fresh Identity for Tauranga Chamber

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Everything in Jamie Lunam’s career came together recently when he was appointed chair of the Tauranga Business Chamber, soon after setting up his own new business.

“I’ve been wanting to be on the board for some time and really the timing was quite good,” Lunam told Bay of Plenty Business News. “I chucked my name in the hat to be on the board and ended up as chair.”

Lunam succeeded Leanne Elder, who held the role for three years, having been a board member for three years on becoming chair. There is no fixed term for the role, but chairs have typically served between three and six years.

Lunam takes up the role soon after successfully completing a lengthy run as leader of local business Jenkins Freshpac Systems, which included a major reorganisation. And he has recently set up his own business consultancy, James & Co.

A Fresh face for Tauranga Chamber

Jamie Lunam

Shaping local business

Lunam noted the Chamber had a drive to be a part of helping shape economic, and in turn, social outcomes for Tauranga’s community.

He told Bay of Plenty Business News that – especially over the past four to five years – he had seen quite a lot of transformation at the back end of the chamber.

“The new board is tasked with taking that drive to a new base, which is where it needed to be.”

Tauranga Business Chamber chief executive Matt Cowley said the make-up of the board reflected the business community, with good representation of small, medium and large businesses.

“Despite the pandemic, previous boards have overseen improvements and investment across the organisation, while keeping the finances in good order,” he told the Bay of Plenty Business News.

“The business landscape is fast-changing,” he said.

“Jamie and the new board are focused on helping businesses overcome challenges and spotting opportunities.”

Building business

Tauranga is unusual in New Zealand in having two organisations that share many of the same objectives in supporting the business community. The two are generally seen as cooperating well. There is also a significant crossover of people involved in both organisations.

Todd Muller, who recently retired as a National Party MP for the Bay of Plenty, has assumed the role of chair of Priority One.

He told Bay of Plenty Business News: “The Chamber plays a significant role in this city and I have followed its efforts closely since I sat on the board in the late 1990s.

“As chair of Priority One I am impressed with how the two organisations can effectively advocate and provide services to their respective members without tripping over each other,” he said. “In my view that talks to the maturity and real hands-on city-wide business experience that exists across the two organisations. I see the chamber as being great for SME networking and core capability building of individuals and teams within business.”

Lunam said the Chamber probably would not see a lot of fundamental change at this stage as a lot of the transformation had already been done.

The Chamber had surveyed members making sure they knew what they wanted, he added.

“We’re going to build that into the strategic plan for the coming five years. It’s about knowing what you’re good at, and what you’re less good at.”

Muller said that Priority One provided leadership on the strategic challenges of the Western Bay region as a whole.

“This sees a strong focus on infrastructure, innovation, skills and global talent,” he said.

“But of course, as is the nature with our connected city, both organisations have influence in all those areas, it’s not a hard delineation of duties and nor should it be.”

Continuing evolution

Lunam noted that Chamber chief executive Cowley had grown in his role. He said that his own aspirations included seeing Cowley continue to evolve.

“The members I believe need to see more of him, especially in that local advocacy space,” said Lunam.

“Now is the time for us to really step up that advocacy. One of the terms we keep using is ‘not just making noise, but making change’ – instead of just having an option on how can we alter the course of this.”

He noted that his own recent career at Freshpac Systems had seen him involved in situations where the writing had been on the wall on some issues and outcomes were needed – but there was initial uncertainty about what the outcomes would be.

“Now [the Chamber] thinks it knows what is happening, it needs to be recalibrating. There’s a lot of motivation out there and confidence is building all the time.”

As to his new role at James and Co and chairing the Chamber, Lunam said: “Our strategic work [at Freshpac] had come to a conclusion, we’d gone through a lot of change and it was time for me to move on and do the things I’m best at.”

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