Meet the team

Damien Hond

Kaikaha Group COO

Damien is COO and shareholder in the kiwi owned Kaikaha Group which includes Hibiscus Solutions. He currently also holds the role of General Manager.

Damien brings significant experience within NZs Distribution market. 13 years with ExxonMobil where he was Country Manager of Chemical, to time in resin manufacturer Nuplex and more than 10 years as country manager for two of NZs largest Chemical and Ingredient distributors.

Damien has a passion for leading a motivated team, that’s sole focus is providing solutions that our customers need to create world-leading products that abound in NZ.

Steph Ferguson

Group Services Manager

Steph is a shareholder in Kaikaha Group and is currently on sabbatical studying at Auckland University. Steph holds an Engineering Degree in Chemical and Materials from Auckland University.

She was General Manager of Metcast Services prior to becoming General Manager of Hibiscus Solutions for five years.

Before joining Metcast Services, she worked in materials scientific research and as Technical Manager for a global manufacturing company.

Gordon Muldrew

General Manager

Gordon holds an Advanced Trade Certificate in Moulding and a Certificate from the AFS in Gating & Riser Design. He has been involved in the metal casting industry since 1983 specializing in methoding and computer simulation.

Gordon currently sits on the Board of Governors, Casting Technology New Zealand Inc and is a former Chairman.

Ann Liyanapathirana

Business Manager – Nutracetuicals

Ann holds a Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Food Science from the University of Auckland, in addition to a Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago.

She has worked in the industry for over 13 years and is always up to date on new key ingredients in the nutraceutical industry.

Paul Saggers

Business Development Manager

Paul brings many years of experience to his role as business development manager. He has a strong background in customer relationships, excelling in sales & providing top service to his customers.

Paul has had a wide range of commercial/operational roles which includes Forestry Corp for 8 years as Export/Distribution Manager for all NZ operations before entering the chemical industry/distribution for 25 years starting with ICI Industrial as Account Manager.

Sonya Katu

Business Manager

Sonya has over 25 years of experience in Personal Care, Homecare, Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical and Animal Health sectors. She has been a member of NZSCC for over 15 years.

Gavin Fantastic

Business Manager

Gavin has over 10 years of experience in middle management and senior management roles in a variety of industries. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology as well as both the New Zealand and Canterbury Cricket Umpire & Scorers Associations.

He is passionate about creating innovative ingredient solutions for manufacturers. Often taking a lead role in developing business opportunities and building strong partnerships with customers and suppliers.

In 2020, Gavin and his wife founded the New Brighton Outdoor Art Foundation. The Foundation’s Our Kaupapa is to bring colour and creativity to vacant and derelict sites in New Brighton and Christchurch.

Clinton Meharry

Business Manager – Food 

Clinton holds a B Tech in Food Technology. With over 20 years of industry experience in New Zealand, the UK and Asia, Clinton has worked in a variety of roles, from an NPD technologist to technical sales and marketing. Clinton’s vast experience with project management and quality systems gives him the edge in his role as Business Manager for Food.

Clinton is solution driven and loves sharing information and knowledge that will help improve products and processors.

Born and raised on a dairy farm, food production runs deep through Clinton’s core. He is interested in the cultural elements of food, no matter the cuisine, the history of food and how modern processed foods came to be. Clinton enjoys learning about food ingredient applications and functionality.

David Winchester

Key Account Manager

David holds a New Zealand Certificate in Science, Metallurgy. He has been involved in the foundry industry since 1980, initially as a laboratory technician and he later filled roles as a foreman and purchasing manager at New Zealand`s largest iron foundry.

David then went to work on the supply side of the casting industry with Foseco, starting as a Technical Representative and moving on to roles as Sales Manager and then NZ Manager. David worked for Foseco for 25 years before joining the MetCast team as Key Account Manager in July 2019

Donna Buchanan

Customer Service and Logistics Manager

Donna has worked in the nutraceuticals industry for more than 22 years in a range of roles in Accounts, Costing, Foreign Currency, Stock Management, Indent Ordering and her favourite, Customer Service.

Donna is a skilled operator who likes to put the customer first and make everything run smoothly. Her industry experience puts her at the elite level of Customer Service and nothing is too much trouble for her.

Janine Thorpe

Customer Service and Logistics Manager

Janine has worked in the chemical importing and distribution industry for over 25 years. Janine is responsible for supporting the sales staff and ensuring seamless continuity for our customers, suppliers and service providers.

She is passionate about service excellence and prides herself in building great relationships with customers, based on understanding their needs and her wealth of industry knowledge.

Outside of the office, Janine loves spending time gardening and travelling the globe. One of her most memorable trips was to Antarctica where she met her husband.

Chen Xiaotong

Compliance Manager

Chen Xiaotong holds a Master’s Degree in Food Safety and has over 10 years of experience in the Food and Nutrition Industry. Chen Xiaotong has worked in the Netherlands (Unilever) and China (DuPont). She has experience performing third-party audits for ISO 22000 and ISO 9001 in China, and working in a manufacturing environment under GMP and HACCP schemes, as well as liaising closely with innovation, sales and regulatory departments on projects.

Chen Xiaotong has a passion for food and enjoys being part of a team that creates quality food for New Zealand. When Chen Xiaotong is not driving product safety, she can be found curled up with a good book or spending quality time with her family. She finds her balance in yoga and as a wellness advocate in the Chinese community.

Kalyan Paruchuri

Quality Assurance Manager

Kalyan holds a Master’s degree in Business administration and has extensive work experience in India and the Middle East in several senior roles. He leads Hibiscus Solutions Quality and Health & Safety systems with vigour and takes pride in almost zero non-conformance. Kalyan ensures only Quality products, from Qualified Suppliers, enter our business and are supplied to our Customers.

He takes pride in aligning himself with Hibiscus Solutions’ core values, Kalyan stands firm that everything he puts into his role, as Quality Assurance Manager, is geared toward aiding the company to achieve its strategic vision.

Kalyan’s great sense of humour keeps the office atmosphere light. He spends his free time running or sitting on the edge of his seat watching thriller movies. A proud Kiwi citizen, he is enjoying the security and opportunities that NZ has given his family.

Thomas Seyb

Customer Service & Warehouse

Thomas is passionate about delivering excellent results and streamlining processes between customer service and the warehouse.

Having a great interest in the number of industries Hibiscus Solutions services, he is happy to be actively involved in a variety of areas and learn how these industries influence New Zealand and the world. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Commerce and loves to watch sports and movies in his spare time.

Jordan Fatu

Warehouse Manager

Jordan has worked in logistics for 10 years. Starting as a warehouse associate while in college, he progressed to inventory supervisor and later warehouse manager. He is experienced in overseeing inbound and outbound logistics, managing inventory levels and optimizing warehouse processes. In a previous role Jordan successfully implemented a barcoding system, improving inventory accuracy by 20% and reducing picking errors by 30%. Jordan has received recognition for optimizing warehouse layout and improving operational efficiency. 

Jordon is passionate about warehouse efficiency, timely and accurate order fulfilment. He enjoys finding innovative solutions to challenges and collaborating with the team to achieve operational excellence. 

Outside of work Jordan enjoys being in nature with his young family. In his younger years Jordan featured in a TV commercial for Japanese noodles. This unique experience helped him to develop confidence and communication skills. 

Lara Teixeira

Business Services Manager

Lara holds a certificate in Broadcast Television from the University of Witwatersrand. She has over 15 years of experience in written and audio-visual content creation and is the author of a children’s book.

Before moving to New Zealand she worked for the largest corrosion protection structural steel company in Southern Africa, fulfilling a large number of tasks at their remote site office.

Lara is passionate about delivering service excellence in everything she takes on, from customer service to looking after the Kaikaha Group’s digital footprint.