Second Nature Charitable Trust’s CEO has worked with everything from politicians to event promoters in his determination to transform a swampy paddock into an internationally recognised destination.
Throughout 18 years, Richard Jeffery developed a dynamic complex where young people can ignite a vision of a bright future and in 2017 he announced it was time for someone else to take the trust to its next stage.
Ask Richard what one of his most memorable accomplishments is and he doesn’t hesitate to say; helping to put choreographer Parris Goebel in the spotlight and helping her achieve international hip-hop stardom.
“Back in 2000, Vodafone Events Centre [formerly TelstraClear Pacific] opened its doors on time and on budget, providing Manukau a creative heart and focal point,” says Richard.
“South Auckland always got a bad rap and the trust created a positive place where we see the real talent, enthusiasm and aspirations of the local community.
“It’s all about seeing that lightbulb moment when children are completely engaged on the stage, in a leadership conference or on the white-water.”
Richard tackles challenges head on and pushed hard for the development of Vector Wero Whitewater Park, The Momentum Hub and most recently a neighbouring hotel.
He relentlessly worked to gain support from organisations that shared Second Nature Charitable Trust’s vision to build a world-leading white-water park and supporting facilities.
“We wanted to create an outdoor education centre beside our arts and events facility.
“We had already proven its financial, educational and entertainment sustainability and the board had the vision to give Manukau an international destination that retains its local significance.”
Every year, more than 36,000 students go through the trust’s schools programme, which includes more than 11,800 young people experiencing white-water out-of-classroom education.
The final development Richard saw come to fruition is the development of Ramada Suites hotel and apartment complex beside Vodafone Events Centre and Vector Wero Whitewater Park.
“It took more than 13 years but finally in February 2018, the earthworks started to build an internationally recognised hotel in Manukau.”
Chair of Second Nature Charitable Trust, Sir Noel Robinson is sad to see Richard leave but was relieved the departing CEO gave them a year to find a replacement.
“Richard will still be a fine ambassador for the trust,” says Sir Noel.
“We always employ the best and David Comery, Mount Wellington Licensing Trust’s chief executive has the experience and philosophies required for the CEO role.
“David starts with us in early April and after the handover, Richard will occasionally advise on special projects for the trust.”
David’s unique experience, combines commercial enterprise with charitable trust work, which gave him the expertise required for the CEO position with Second Nature Charitable Trust.
“The most rewarding part of my career has been social enterprise work and I feel I’m attuned to the philosophies of the trust,” says David.
“I’m looking forward to working with a high-powered board that gives so much of its time to the community.”
He is keen to continue the collaboration of other not-for-profit organisations based at the trust’s Momentum Hub, helping them to work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
Richard is moving to rural Hawkes Bay to spend more time with family and plans to look for company directorships.