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Rob Gollan – Director

Rob Gollan has been the Managing Director of Land Based Training since it was formed in 1996.

Rob has significant history in the agricultural sector and extensive connections with primary industry stakeholders throughout New Zealand. He completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University, and then went on to work with The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

In 1987 Rob established a Farm Consultancy Company in Whanganui. Rob Gollan Farm Consultancy (RGFC) operates from the LBT premises in Whanganui; and the relationship between RGFC and LBT further strengthens the connections between our industry stakeholders, LBT staff and learners.

Rob brings significant energy and primary-industry expertise to the learning environment. Our learners benefit from his expertise through classroom and on-farm visits. As a Director of LBT, Rob brings strong governance and sector knowledge to all aspects of the organisation.

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Jeremy Higgie – Director

A former Field Officer, Jeremy Higgie is also the Director of the company.

Jeremy purchased his family sheep / beef farm of 1250 acres in 1987. Since then he has been in the agricultural training industry with courses such as R.E.A.P in conjunction with his own farm.

Jeremy also founded and became Director of Ag Challenge, which is another Agricultural Training Institute here in Whanganui.

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Hamish Davidson – General Manager

Hamish is Canterbury born, raised in the Manawatu and has an affinity with agriculture that led to a distinguished dairying career all over Aotearoa.  He has been involved in the education sector for many years and brings excellent leadership to the Land Based Training team.

Hamish lives in Whanganui with his wife and teenage sons.  As a family they enjoy mountain biking and generally being active and in the outdoors.

Katrina Langdon

Katrina Langdon – Academic and Compliance Manager

Katrina brings extensive knowledge of the tertiary education sector with 25 years of experience in a variety of roles.  Previously engaged as a teacher, lecturer, academic manager, project manager, quality director and programme developer, she brings a wide range of focussed experience and energy to the role.

Katrina has a particular interest in cultural diversity and accessibility, and has spent significant time working with Iwi/Hapu and marae-based programmes, international students, impairment affected learners and (quite recently) with Aboriginal Corporations in remote areas of Australia.

Katrina lives in Whanganui and is actively involved with the local creative community and (outside of work) maintains a personal art practice.

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Tom Kelleher – Operations Manager

Tom has 20 years’ experience in the tertiary education space, working for both PTE’s and ITP’s.  He is incredibly passionate about providing quality education, to support our learners to achieve their educational and career goals.  His most recent role was a Tertiary Education Manager for a Lower North Island PTE.  Tom is based in Lower Hutt and is married with 3 young children.

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Bob Pearce – Operations Manager

Bob has had an amazing 30 year career in the military in both the UK and in Aotearoa.  A large part of this time was spent either as an instructor or managing training.  Since leaving the military, Bob has continued to facilitate learning, work in the learning design space and manage projects, guiding teams to achieve their best results.

Bob has 30 years of leadership experience and has delivered briefs to members of the Royal Family, Prime Ministers of New Zealand and many other senior leaders.  He is an advocate of a learner-centric approach when it comes to adult education, valuing loyalty, trust and equality.

Bob has been married to his darling wife for 30 years and has two amazing sons.  He lives in Shannon and is an active member of the Legacy Church in Palmerston North.  He is also a keen motorcyclist and enjoys tramping with his wife.


Becks Vaivela – Operational Support Manager

Becks has been in the education sector for 25 years, with her focus being on Adult and Tertiary learning for the last 10. She has extensive experience in Teaching and Facilitation, Educational Leadership, Operational Management and delivering Professional Development in a wide variety of communities.

Becks is passionate about working alongside tangata whenua, in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and supporting a healthy relationship with education. She is also invested in building strong connections with the Pasifika community, which she is an active part of, and empowering this community with possibilities.

When she is not working she is spending time outdoors and fishing with her husband and two beautiful boys.

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John McNaughton – Operations Lead (Northland)

Born and raised in Tauranga, John spent 28 years in the Dairy industry in Waikato before moving to Northland in 2017. Taking an opportunity to work with Taratahi in the mid 2010’s, John became involved in the training of students in the Agriculture space.

An interest in Horticulture led to working with an Avocado orchard in the Whangarei area where he developed the orchards irrigation, pest control, and pollination practises to ensure high rates of production.

John joined Land Based Training in 2021 where he has been instrumental in improving the outcomes for students in Northland who are keen on developing both their practical skills and theoretical knowledge in the primary industry.

John spends his spare time managing his lifestyle block with a mixture of livestock and fruit trees specifically Avocados and Macadamias, and has recently taken up Beekeeping. It is only a matter of time before John’s honey roasted macadamia nuts become world famous..

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Tim Bloor – Operations Lead (Hawkes Bay)

Tim Bloor has devoted the last 10 years to promoting education in his community.  Tim is focused on providing people with the necessary skills to succeed in the world.

During his time in education, he has strongly supported the development of work skills and helped young people into employment. Driven by a passion for empowering others, Tim has worked to connect education with employment, helping to create pathways for our graduates to enter meaningful work.

When he is not working in education, Tim enjoys surfing and kitesurfing. These activities not only help him relax but also remind him of the importance of balance, adaptability, and perseverance, values that are important both personally and professionally.

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Derek Priest – Head of School (Agriculture)

Derek joined Land based Training at its inception in 1996. After working for MAF, Derek headed up the Waitotara Valley as a shepherd general and farm owner on the Parapara hills where he focused his passion for livestock farming to future farmers.

Derek currently tutors level 3, 4 and 5 programmes at the Otiwhiti Land Based Training Agricultural Facility, inland from Hunterville.  He has also been involved with agricultural training in both the Sichuan Province in China and Botswana.

Time out for him is on a 4 ha block at Fordell Whanganui where he enjoys trying new farming ideas and farming a handful of sheep and cattle.