Stephen Vaughan

General Manager

Verification and Compliant Brach

Immigration New Zealand

Stephen Vaughan is the General Manager of the Verification and Compliance Branch in Immigration New Zealand (INZ).  In that role, Steve is responsible for teams who identify risk, provide pre and post visa verification, investigate and prosecute serious offences, and assist people to comply with the conditions of their visa.  Prior to that role, Steve was an Assistant General Manager in charge of INZ’s Intelligence, Risk and Identity functions.

Steve joined INZ in 2014 after a 33 year career in New Zealand Police where he performed a variety of roles, including investigative, operational and specialist units.  Steve achieved the senior rank of Detective Superintendent, and the role he held prior to joining INZ was the National Manager of Intelligence, leading the National Intelligence Centre based in Wellington.  Steve holds a Masters in Strategic Studies, a Bachelor of Business Studies and a Diploma in Policing.  During his Police career, he was the only officer to have ever been awarded Gold, two Silver and a Bronze award for Leadership and Bravery throughout his career.

Steve was formally recognised in the 2016 New Year Royal Honours, where he was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his outstanding leadership in Policing and commitment to the community. 

Scott Ainslie

Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand (AUNZ)

Financial Services-Information Sharing Analysis Centre (FS-ISAC)

Scott has served in a broad variety of intelligence and security roles spanning a thirty-year career, joining FS-ISAC as the Regional Director for AUNZ in 2016.

Scott is a member of multiple intelligence and InfoSec organisations in Australia and overseas, providing an ideal platform for applying a risk-based approach to cyber-security intelligence and threat management across industry and government.

A noted speaker, Scott has a degree in Criminology from Charles Sturt University and a Masters in Cybersecurity, Strategy and Diplomacy from the University of New South Wales.  He is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Faculty of Science and Technology at Federation University and is a previous President of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO).

Tony Lynch

Deputy Chief Executive, National Security Group – Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Tony Lynch leads the National Security Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  His direct responsibilities include the architecture of the national security system, National Intelligence Assessments, Intelligence Coordination, National Security Policy including Cyber Security, Emergency Management, and Security and Intelligence Policy.  Tony took up his role in August 2019.

Prior to his current role, Tony was Deputy Secretary of Defence at the New Zealand Ministry of Defence from June 2014. His immediate previous assignment was as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand with cross-accreditation to Lao PDR, Cambodia and Myanmar. Other diplomatic assignments have been to New Zealand’s Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta and the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra.

Prior to his assignment in Thailand, Mr Lynch served as Foreign Policy Advisor on secondment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Tony has a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Otago, Dunedin.  His interests include cricket, rugby, swimming and cycling, as well as food and wine.

Tony’s partner is Ms Julie-Anne Lee.

Rebecca Kitteridge

CVO, Director-General New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS)

Rebecca Kitteridge was appointed Director-General of Security in May 2014.

Before her appointment Rebecca was the Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council, within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She served under four Prime Ministers and four Governors-General in that role and in earlier roles in DPMC.

Rebecca worked as a lawyer in private practice from 1988-1997, and then became the Cabinet Office legal adviser, on secondment from the Crown Law Office. She moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in early 2001, working for nearly three years in the Legal Division and advising on a range of issues including Pacific constitutional issues and international treaty making. In late 2003, she returned to the Cabinet Office as Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet (Constitutional), before taking up the role of Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council in 2008. In 2012/2013 she was seconded to the Government Communications Security Bureau for seven months, to undertake a compliance review.

In March 2014, Rebecca was appointed as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, in recognition of her service as Cabinet Secretary and Clerk of the Executive Council.

Rebecca lives in Wellington with her husband and daughter. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading and cycling.

Catriona Robinson

General Manager Operations, Tasking and Improvement / Associate DCE, Immigration New Zealand – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Catriona Robinson is the newly-appointed General Manager Operations, Tasking and Improvement with Immigration New Zealand.  In her previous role as the Director of National Security Systems at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, she was responsible for supporting the effective governance of national security in New Zealand, and the stewardship of New Zealand’s national security system.  This included managing the smooth operation of the national security governance structure; coordinating in response to a crisis or an emerging issue of national security significance; and ensuring that the system was effectively responding to our most significant national security risks.   Catriona chaired national security Watch Groups across a range of significant national security issues, including those convened in response to the 15 March 2019 terrorist attack.

Prior to joining DPMC, Catriona held roles in the Government Communications Security Bureau, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.   Catriona has a Master of Arts and a Master of Public Management, both from Victoria University of Wellington.  She also spent a year at the University of Tübingen in Germany in 1996-97 as the recipient of a post-graduate scholarship from the German Government’s DAAD programme.

Prof Rouben Azizian

Director, Centre for Defence and Security Studies

Professor Rouben Azizian joined CDSS in December 2015 after spending close to 14 years at the US Defense Department’s Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Honolulu where he lectured and conducted research on the Asia-Pacific Regional Security Architecture, Diplomacy and Confidence Building, Security Sector Development, as well as US, Russian, Central Asian and Oceania security issues.

Before joining APCSS, Professor Azizian taught at the Department of Political Studies at the University of Auckland in 1994 – 2001.  From 1998 – 2001 he was the President of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.

Prior to becoming a full-time academic he had an extensive career in the Soviet and later Russian Foreign Service, which included assignments in Nepal (1972-1978) as Attaché and Third Secretary; Sri Lanka (1980-1985) as Second and First Secretary; and New Zealand (1991-1994) as Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission.

Professor Azizian has published several books as well as numerous book chapters, journal articles and working papers on Asia-Pacific security issues.

He is a member of the editorial boards of scholarly journals Asian Politics and Policy, Central Asian Studies, Asia-Pacific Journal of Marine Science and Education and Russia and Asia-Pacific.

Lieutenant Colonel A B J Mikkelsen

Director Geospatial Intelligence New Zealand (GNZ)

Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen currently serves at the Director of GEOINT NZ. He commenced his Regular Force in 1999 following 11 years of service in the Army Reserves. In the Regular Force, he has served in a number of staff positions from unit to brigade level between 1999 and 2005. It was also during this time he deployed to East Timor (2001) and Bosnia (2003) in intelligence roles.

In 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen was posted to the United Kingdom as an instructor at the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (Chicksands) as a Senior Instructor.

Upon his return to New Zealand in 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen was posted to the Land Operations Training Centre, Waiouru as the Chief Instructor of the School of Military Intelligence and Security.  Whilst as Chief Instructor at, he deployed, at short notice, to Afghanistan in October 2009 to be the Intelligence Officer for the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, central Afghanistan. He received a US Meritorious Service Medal for his efforts in Afghanistan.

In 2011, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen attended Staff College at the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

In December 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen was posted to Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand (Operational Headquarters), as the Chief Intelligence Officer (J2) on promotion. During his tenure as J2, the US Army Military Intelligence Corps Association awarded LTCOL Mikkelsen the Major General Van Deman Award. This award recognised LTCOL Mikkelsen’s significant contribution to enhancing co-operation with US Military Intelligence Forces within INDOPACOM.

In 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen was posted to C4ISR Capability Working Group at HQ NZDF. During his time he initially served as the C3 Capability Manager then assumed the lead of the C4ISR Working Group in April 2017. The Working Group’s role is to develop and define future C3 and ISR operating concepts.

In September 2018, Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen deployed to the Middle East in support of Coalition operations, returning to NZ in March 2019 to assume his current appointment.

Lieutenant Colonel Mikkelsen has a degree in Business Studies from Massey University, a qualified Red Team member from the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (Fort Leavenworth) and is undertaking Post Graduate Study in Strategic Studies with a focus on Asia.

Lisa Whiteman

Founder and CEO of Resonance Group

Resonance Group delivers excellence in healthcare, excellence in education and knowledge delivery, and excellence in research and innovation. Lisa thrives on solving problems and finding unique solutions across business, within communities and alongside individuals.

Lisa’s background is in biological health science, with a specialty in the biomechanics of human motion, and she worked in private practice sports and rehabilitation for over 20yrs. Lisa continues to work in this field as clinical director, and undertakes research related to human function and performance.

Lisa is also an experienced entrepreneur who has grown start-ups, turned around failing businesses, bought and sold businesses, mentored business owners, employed staff, and worked from the coal face of health care to the boardroom of private sector education.

Developing dynamic leaders through instilling continued learning, self-awareness and self-improvement forms a large part of Lisa’s current role and she believes strongly in the power of communication, the power of connection; and the power of relationships, in business and in life. Lisa works with organisations and individuals to improve wellbeing and performance by distilling the science and research in ways that are meaningful and achieve positive outcomes.

Lisa also enjoys running, horse-riding, and writing; she is dedicated to making a difference in the non-profit sector, and lives in rural Porirua.

Ishula Stuart & David Robinson

Inland Revenue

Ishula Stuart is the Data Science Manager at Inland Revenue. Ishula leads a team of data scientists delivering innovative AI and advanced analytics at the department to develop solutions that add business value. Ishula has an academic background in accountancy and business where she previously worked in corporate finance and financial control roles across the UK and NZ. Ishula has led the development and practice of multiple teams of technical experts delivering risk management and intelligence services. Ishula is passionate about developing human capability alongside technological innovation and as a leader is focused on building a diverse, inclusive and accessible NZ.


David Robinson is a Data Scientist that has been involved in the intelligence field for around 20 years, focussing on a range of criminal domains including border, pharma, tax & organised crime – both in NZ and Europe. David’s educational background of psychology (PGDipHSc) and information technology (PhD candidate) has led him to the development of intelligence analytics software and authoring multiple papers on using technology to support the detection of crime.

Andrew Hampton

Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)

Prior to joining the GCSB, Andrew spent much of his career in the Justice Sector, including Treaty settlement negotiations, courts administration and leading various significant change programmes. Senior positions he held in the Justice Sector include Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements, Deputy Secretary for Courts, and Deputy Chief Executive at the Crown Law Office.

Andrew has also held senior leadership positions elsewhere in the State Sector.  He was Deputy Secretary and Director of the Secretary’s Office at the Ministry of Education.  He was also the first Government Chief Talent Officer at the State Services Commission, a new role responsible for leadership development, workforce strategy and employment relations across government.

Andrew has a BA (Hons) and MA (Dist) in Political Science from the University of Canterbury and has attended the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.

Samuel Leske


New Zealand Institute of Intelligence Professionals

Samuel is originally from Blenheim in the South Island of New Zealand and has spent 26 years in the New Zealand public service. Samuel joined the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2015 as the Head of Planning and Readiness after a career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as a pilot and intelligence officer. His academic qualifications include a Diploma in Management from Massey University, a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies from Massey University.

As a pilot in the RNZAF, Samuel flew the Hawker Siddeley HS-780 CMK1 Andover with No. 42 Squadron based in Whenuapai, Auckland. As an intelligence officer Samuel worked within the New Zealand Intelligence Community based in Wellington and completed two overseas postings with intelligence agencies in Canberra and London. Samuel also completed two operational deployments to Timor Leste; one as a specialist liaison officer in 2001 and the other as Commander of NZDF forces in Timor Leste and as the Deputy Commander of the International Stabilisation Force in 2011.

Samuel has had a number of intelligence roles during his career including establishing the Maritime Intelligence Coordination Centre in 2001. He also led the establishment the Joint Situational Awareness Centre in 2005 and set up the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Intelligence Liaison Office in London as the inaugural NZDF intelligence liaison officer to the UK and NATO between 2007 and 2010. Samuel was also the head of operational intelligence for the NZDF as the “J2” within the NZDF’s Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand from 2010 to 2012, leading operational intelligence support to all NZDF missions worldwide.

During his time within Defence Intelligence from 2012 to 2014, he headed strategic intelligence for the NZDF and represented New Zealand on numerous 5 Eyes intelligence fora. In his last few years in the RNZAF he was also the professional head of the Air Force’s intelligence trade. His final role in the NZDF was as Director of Strategy Plans for the RNZAF. He retired from the Air Force as a Wing Commander and took up a position within the Ministry for Primary Industries as the Head of Planning and Readiness in 2015. In 2017 he was appointed to his current role as the Director of Intelligence, Planning and Coordination Services within Biosecurity New Zealand.

Samuel’s interests include astronomy, aviation, horticulture and running.