Since it was founded by Lou Fisher in June 1972, the Spirit of Adventure Trust Board has always comprised of Trustees who bring a wide range of appropriate skills and experience to policy-making. Following Lou’s untimely death in 1977 at age 64, company director Stephen Fisher QSO was appointed as chairman and he continues to lead the Trust.
The current Trust Board includes a master mariner, Captain Mike Austin, chartered accountant Andrew Spencer, lawyer Jeff Morrison, educationalists Sue Blakely and Jerry Norman, company director and Coastguard official Brooke Archbold, deputy chair. Each is a leading practitioner in their field. Stephen, a founding Trustee and writer Tessa Duder and a Trustee since 1993, provide ‘institutional memory.’ Noted yachtswoman Penny Whiting was the first female trustee, appointed in 1980, followed by others from the education sector.
The Trust Board meets in Auckland monthly, and enjoy a close relationship with the CEO Dean Lawrence and the senior team, all of whom attend board meetings.
Chairman, QSO, Company Director
Elected as Chairman of the Board in 1977 succeeding his late father, Lou Fisher, Stephen is a well-known business and community leader, with interests in retail, farming, tourism and property as well as the arts, yachting and the environment.
Deputy Chair, Company Director, Marine
Brooke has had a varied career as a businessman with extensive international interests. With a Bachelor of Business Administration from Victoria University in Wellington, he has been involved in senior positions for nearly 30 years in most aspects of New Zealand Coastguard.
OBE, Hon. Doc., Writer
Tessa is an award-winning writer and editor with a lifelong interest in ships and the sea. A member of the Trust Board since 1993, and Deputy Chair since 2008, Tessa has sailed as crew on both Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of New Zealand.
CAPT. MIKE AUSTIN
Mike, a former volunteer Master of both Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of New Zealand, chairs the Trust Board's Health and Safety Task Group. His extensive blue water sailing includes cruising and racing around New Zealand and the Pacific.
Sue is the Principal of Rosehill College in Papakura having previously held the position of Deputy Principal of Auckland's Diocesan School for Girls. A member of the Trust Board since 2008, her interests include all aspects of yachting.
Andrew is the sole Director of Spencers Chartered Accountants and Advisers Limited (Spencers), a boutique chartered accounting practice established in July 2004.
Jeff is a lawyer with over 30 years experience, serving as trustee on a number of trusts. He has been on the Spirit Trust Board since 2008. Jeff is also a sometime recreational sailor and keen ‘runabout’ fisherman.
Jerry joined the Trust Board in 2015 and with him brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the education sector. His key role is assisting the Spirit with regard to building its strategy through a cultural lens.
Executive Director of companies in property, medical devices and general investment. He is a mentor to several start-up companies through Find Invest Grow. and is also a keen recreational sailor.
Arthur is a secondary school physics teacher in Christchurch and has sailed on the Spirit of New Zealand since his Trainee voyage in 2003. A former Voyagers Club committee member, he was the New Zealand representative on the Sail Training International Youth Council for several years.
BA/LLB(Hons), Master Mariner
Catherine began her career as a cadet with the Trust then went on to work as a deck officer on container ships and qualify as a master mariner. After coming ashore to start a family, Catherine completed a law degree and was admitted to the New Zealand bar. She is a keen recreational sailor and racer and joined the Trust board in 2018.