Debbie Oakley

Debbie Oakley

Independent Director

Independent director Debbie Oakley brings to the board an extensive background as an orchardist combined with financial experience in family and equity horticulture partnerships and expertise gained from nearly 40 years in retail and rural banking.

Debbie has been involved in New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry since the late 1990s through being a grower and through membership on grower representative groups. Her governance roles include past chair of Seeka Growers Ltd, an entity which manages grower funds, representation on NZ Kiwifruit Growers Forum including on its executive team, and a member of the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council.

She has some 37 years’ banking experience in retail management and rural manager positions across a wide range of sectors including dairy, dry stock, and horticulture. These career choices have provided an in-depth understanding of the rural sector that she finds most rewarding. That career included a tenure as regional leader and facilitator for Rural Support Trust, assisting the rural community and farmers experiencing hardship.

Debbie has a passion for applying her skillset to organisations operating in challenging environments, including fiscal and cultural pressures. Since 2021, she has been an executive member of the statutory organization, NZ Fish and Game Council, being a voice around the council table to make a difference and ensure a successful and durable business.

Her banking experience includes positions as branch manager and rural manager at leading New Zealand banks.

Debbie’s financial literacy and understanding of a wide range of business structures in the horticulture and agriculture space is a strength.

On the Deep Creek Fruits’ board, she assists to strategically balance the risk and reward of proactively managing orchards to ensure financial viability and deliver quality outcomes for stakeholders.

Debbie has a Graduate Diploma in Rural Studies from Massey University and has completed various governance development courses including the Zespri Industry Governance Development Programme.

She was appointed in January 2024 and is based at Te Puke.