Welcome to OnlyFromNZ

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OFNZ™ delivers complex environmental, food production, marine, eco-tourism and conservation services to countries in the Middle East, with a specific focus on countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

We deliver by partnering and forming consortia of experts targeted specifically at clients’ challenges.

Our unique flexible structure allows us to subcontract specialists from the public and private sectors in New Zealand and other countries as required.

We bring the best people together with the right skills for the job.

We are not theorists. We specialise in delivering solutions with people that have pragmatic and practical experience and are specialists in our respective fields.

Our Team

Lesley Kennedy


Lesley is a Director and co-owner of OnlyFromNZ™. She has a broad background in technology, management consulting, governance, creating, establishing and running businesses, and working in, with and for small, medium and large businesses across a range of markets and sectors. Most recently, she has spent the past 11 years working with Government agencies, companies and organisations in the GCC. This includes leading several large programmes of work in the UAE, with a particular focus on environmental management, eco-tourism and food production, along with projects in Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Chris Roberts


From 2014 until early 2022, Chris was Chief Executive of New Zealand's national tourism association, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA). Previously he worked for the government national tourism body, Tourism New Zealand, in the energy sector and at Parliament, after beginning his career as a broadcast journalist.

As CEO of TIA, Chris led the development of Tourism 2025 and Beyond, the industry’s guiding strategic framework for growing a sustainable tourism industry.

Tony Rogers


Tony has a depth of experience in destination marketing spanning 11 years and was most recently Director of Marketing at Tourism New Zealand (TNZ). Prior to that, Tony held a number of senior marketing roles with TNZ and Australia’s national tourism organisation, Tourism Australia. He brings a breadth of business and marketing expertise from over 25 years’ experience across multiple industries including tourism, leisure, automotive, financial services and energy.

Chris Knol


Chris has extensive experience as an outdoor recreation practitioner/adventure tourism professional, alongside a long career in international aid development, throughout the Middle East, the Pacific, South-East and Central Asia and Europe. His outdoor adventuring career spans 45 years as a leader, mentor, advisor, and participant.

Working within a central New Zealand Government context has seen Chris involved in almost every major adventure tourism safety development in New Zealand of the past 35 years.

Sue Gemmell


Sue’s areas of expertise include standard-setting, resource development and online instructional design. She has a very strong outdoor adventure practitioner background, meaning she can give clear focus on the requirements of adventure activities that meet operational contexts.

She brings 20+ years of practical industry experience to her work, specifically as an Adventure Activity Instructor (including work as an alpine, rock climbing and wilderness hiking instructor for Hillary Outdoors, and as a skiing and telemarking instructor both in NZ and in Canada), and as a Ski Patroller and Surf Lifesaving Coach.

Sheena Bernard head shot photo

Sheena Bernard


Sheena draws upon a wealth of experience, gained in senior leadership and management roles within the technology sector, and as a business management consultant for 15 years specialising in services and technology in New Zealand. Sheena has run a successful global software development company which marketed and delivered telecommunications software via a SAAS business model in over 30 countries globally.

Issa Al Charifi, Market Insights Analyst

Issa Al Charifi


Issa joined the OFNZ™ team in 2022 and lives in the United Arab Emirates. He leads our in-market research capability which includes providing clients with insights to inform operational, business and communications strategies in the MENA region.

Issa is experienced in conducting research, is adept at building trusted relationships, and is personally and professionally driven to grow the company and himself.

Christy-Anne Rankin

Operations Programme Coordinator

Christy-Anne joined the OFNZ™ team in 2021 to help manage logistics and resourcing of our projects in the Gulf. She has a background in HR, operations, workforce consultancy and recruitment. Christy-Anne has a phenomenal eye for detail, keeps calm under crazy pressure and has a well-earned reputation for quality delivery and exceptional client service.

Linda Whatmough

Finance & Accounts Manager

Linda is OFNZ's™ Finance & Accounts manager and joined us in 2021. Linda has over 30 years’ experience in finance and administration management. She has broad experience having worked in various industries including the not-for-profit sector, consulting and IT, banking, design, retail, and within the public sector.

Paul Sinclair


Paul is a co-owner and Director of OnlyFromNZ™. He has spent the past 11 years exporting services and products to the Gulf and also advises many New Zealand professional services, SaaS, technology and product companies on doing business in the GCC, working closely with clients on export strategy and delivery. In addition to his business development role, Paul has led and delivered a number of large behavioural change communications programmes in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the UAE.

Our History

We began exporting professional services to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2009, under the Maven International Ltd banner. Since 2012, we’ve worked closely with clients in Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a range of complex projects and programmes of work including terrestrial ground water management, marine & fisheries management, eco-tourism, education and forensics.

Over this period we’ve also exported professional services to Australia, Mexico and the Pacific Islands, and we have associates that work with us across Asia and North America. Our particular specialisation is the Middle East.

Based on our exporting experience and success, we’ve been engaged by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) since 2017 to deliver the agency’s popular Export Essentials programme (www.exportessentials.nz). We facilitate several of these two-day courses a year – with a particular focus on professional services, technology and Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) companies – and have worked with nearly 200 companies over this period. We encourage anyone considering exporting or currently exporting to enrol. Please visit the Export Essentials website for upcoming workshop dates and registration details.

For more mature exporting companies seeking specialist advice or advanced support and training, we offer a tailored service to a limited number of NZ clients. These engagements can range from one-off advisory to more granular assignments working through international market validation, offshore value propositions, advanced pitching and presentation training, branding, contract negotiation strategy, pricing etc. Please get in touch to discuss your particular export needs.