about south port

about south port

Leadership Team

South Port prides itself on delivering quality results through quality people. The port is headed up by the leadership team, who are:

Nigel Gear - Chief Executive

BCom, Dip Port Management

Nigel was appointed to the role of Chief Executive on 1 October 2017. He has 25 years’ experience in the port industry and has held positions in commercial, operations and finance at South Port. Nigel is currently an appointed board member of the Southland Chamber of Commerce and represents business interests on the New Zealand Oil and Gas Southern Community Panel. Prior to joining South Port, Nigel worked in the meat and oil sectors.

Geoff Finnerty - Port General Manager


Geoff originally joined the South Port Leadership team in 2004 as Finance Manager. In his current role he has responsibilities for the Company’s general cargo and marine activities. In his previous positions of Cargo Operations Manager and Port Operations Manager he played an important role in establishing and developing the Company’s container and dry warehousing activities. Geoff has also held positions with Goodman Fielder, Fonterra and Landbase (a Southland‑based farming cooperative) and is the current Chairperson of Export Southland.

Jamie May - Business Development Manager


Jamie was appointed to the Business Development Manager position in November 2017. Prior to this appointment he was based in Invercargill as the Supervisor of the South Port Intermodal Freight Centre during its opening and start up phase. Before this he had worked in a Marketing Analyst role based in Bluff since January 2011.

Jamie held various home and personal lending positions at The National Bank before he joined the South Port team.

Hayden Mikkelsen - Container Manager

BE (Hons)

Hayden holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Canterbury University. Hayden’s role as Container Manager for the Port sees him responsible for the overall container operation including the terminal, depot, crane and mobile plant maintenance functions. Hayden also oversees the Intermodal Freight Centre strategically located at the railhead in Invercargill.

Hayden previously worked in heavy industries in both engineering and operations at ECNZ and Ballance Agri-Nutrients before joining South Port in 2012.

Frank O’Boyle - Infrastructure Manager

BEng (Civil), MIPENZ, CPEng

Frank joined South Port as Infrastructure Manager in January 2015. Frank’s responsibilities include providing and maintaining land, sea and wharf infrastructure associated with port operations as well as ensuring port operational practices comply with current environmental standards.

Frank is a Civil Engineer and worked as an Engineer in Ireland and Australia before moving permanently to New Zealand in 2005. Frank has been a member of Engineering New Zealand since 2006 and a Chartered Professional Engineer since 2010.

Lara Stevens - Finance Manager

BCom, DipGrad, CA

As Finance Manager, a position Lara has held since March 2007, she is responsible for the financial management of the Port including interim and annual reporting. She continually monitors the financial performance of the business which includes preparing the annual budget and providing regular forecasts to the Board to enable them to make informed decisions about future capital projects. Among other things, Lara is responsible for managing the Company’s property leases, ICT, insurance and NZX reporting obligations.

Murray Wood - Warehousing Manager


Murray is the Manager of the Port’s Warehousing operations comprising both cold and dairy dry goods storage and handling for the agriculture and aquaculture industries. He oversaw the recent amalgamation of the cold storage activities to the Island Harbour site following the termination of the lease at Foreshore Road. Murray joined South Port in 2016 after a 32-year career with the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter, a major processing and manufacturing plant where he held numerous operational and leadership roles which included responsibility for the site shipping activities.

Helen Young - Human Resources Manager


Helen has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Canterbury and started her career as a commercial and property lawyer before specialising in employment law and transitioning into human resources. Helen started with South Port in 2015 and joined the Leadership Team in November 2017 as Human Resources Manager. Prior to this, she spent eight years as Chief Executive of Sport Southland facilitating or mediating a range of regional sports issues. Her previous experience includes two terms as a Tenancy Tribunal Adjudicator and eight years on the Council of the Southern Institute of Technology (three years as Chair).