Meet Belinda Sleight...

A move to Hawke’s Bay 13 years ago, with a PhD in Plant Pathology in hand, hasn’t stopped Christchurch-born Belinda Sleight from pursuing a career focused on innovation around the country.

Since studying microbiology, molecular biology and biological sciences at Canterbury and Lincoln Universities, Belinda has worked in managerial roles in the Government sector and private businesses that conduct research or implement research results as new products or improved productivity. Examples include Lincoln University where Belinda was a member of a small team which set up its Bio-Protection Centre, a private science R&D company based in Auckland, and the meat and health sectors, says Belinda.

“Mostly, these have been innovation programmes – doing new things, doing things differently.”

Key tasks included stakeholder networking, project management, identifying funding sources and applying for funds, strategically positioning organisations and managing programmes of related work. This wealth of expertise and experience has been beneficial in Belinda’s current role as the inaugural Director, University of Waikato Hawke’s Bay.

“This role combines a couple of repeated aspects of positions throughout my career. It is a new position for my employer – almost all of my roles have been ‘greenfields’ opportunities – and a remote-working role – several of my former jobs were managed from afar.”

The University of Waikato is involved in a number of Matariki initiatives, driven by Belinda and supported by University staff in both Hawke’s Bay and Hamilton.

The University of Waikato in Hawke’s Bay (Action 1.3)
“I began my role of Director, University of Waikato Hawke’s Bay in January 2017. This role is one of the Matariki - HBREDS Actions (1.3), whereby Napier City Council was wanting to partner with a university in order to access a wide range of academic knowledge to inform Council projects. Whilst the role is jointly funded by Napier City Council and the University, the focus is Hawke’s Bay-wide. Its purpose is to link up the University’s research and teaching expertise with projects and opportunities across Hawke’s Bay. Currently, University staff are establishing cross-disciplinary research projects with region-wide stakeholders, and developing linkages between students and local employers through internships and summer research placements.”

National Aquarium of New Zealand (Action 5.3)
“The University of Waikato, as a member of the Action 5.3 Steering Group, was tasked with identifying research that could be conducted at the new National Aquarium of New Zealand facility. Based on discussions with various stakeholders and referencing the land-to-sea scope of the expanded aquarium’s exhibits, we have proposed a research theme of integrated catchment management – the sustainable management of bio-physical resources within a context that includes social, cultural, economic and political considerations. The Steering Group was supportive of this theme as it has a good fit with Hawke’s Bay’s regional profile, particularly land and water management that supports our region’s biggest industries (primary production/horticulture and tourism), and is broad enough to encompass a wide range of research activities in collaboration with other researchers and with citizen-scientists. The expansion of the National Aquarium of New Zealand presents an exciting opportunity to conduct this ‘people-and-science-centred’ work in an environment and facility that reflects and enhances that intent.”

Hawke’s Bay Digital Strategy (Combined Actions 2.9, 4.3 & 5.7)
“I recently joined this working group, which will develop a digital strategy for Hawke’s Bay, together with a shortlist of prioritised actions/projects. This is likely to be quite a broad remit – from increasing access to computers and the internet, through to encouraging entrepreneurial digi-based start-up enterprises to establish in Hawke’s Bay.”

Food/Agri-business Innovation Hub/ Food Innovation Network (Actions 2.10 & 6.3)
“I’m on the steering group that has led a discovery phase project, identifying gaps and opportunities for establishing a Food/Agri-technology Hub. This is an opportunity for Hawke’s Bay-based food and agritech businesses to easily access and work with Waikato researchers on R&D projects in diverse areas like cyber security, big data, robotics and biological sciences. It’s food and food production going high tech!”

Belinda Sleight
Director, University of Waikato Hawke’s Bay
Napier Centre
PO Box 12023 Napier 4114
022 049 6346


24 January 2018

Back to Updates

Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi
Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga
Central Hawke's Bay Distric Council
Hastings Distric Council
Napier City Council
Wairoa District Council
Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Hawke's Bay District Health Board
Hawke's Bay Tourism
Businsess Hawke's Bay
Eastern Institute of Technology
Great Things Grow Here
New Zealand Government


Hawke's Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan

‘Every household and every whānau is actively engaged in, contributing to and benefiting from, a thriving Hawke's Bay economy.’

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Napier City Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Napier City Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Napier City Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Napier City Council - / /