Meet The Team

Behind every outstanding hotel are the people who make your stay an experience. At Novotel New Plymouth Taranaki, our people are passionate hoteliers. Our mission is “To provide an exceptional guest experience – every guest, every time”. The purpose that underpins the mission is “To create an exceptional 4.5 star internationally branded hotel in New Plymouth, which will be the premier destination in Taranaki, providing service like no other. The team who drive this mission and purpose are our management team.

Jayesh Bala

Jayesh Bala

Born and raised in Rotorua with 20 years hospitality experience across New Zealand and Australia. A strong desire to return home and the opportunity to work in one of New Zealand’s exciting regions was just too good to pass up. Jayesh and his young family are excited to be in Taranaki and enjoy the diverse and fun lifestyle that is offers. Jayesh has the pleasure leading an energetic and passionate team of hospitality professionals that are committed to delivering exceptional guests experiences.

General Manager

DDI: 06 769 9723
gm@novotelnewplymouth.com

Mariska Botha

Mariska Botha

Born and raised in South Africa, Mariska immigrated to New Zealand in 2015 and has lived in Taranaki ever since.  With over 15 years’ hospitality experience gained from various roles and a passion for the industry and its people, Mariska is here to support our HOD’s and take care of all things Human Resources related.

Business Support Manager

DDI: 06 769 9720
bsm@novotelnewplymouth.com

Vaughn D'souza

Vaughn D'souza

Lots of you may have seen his friendly face around the hotel before! Vaughn joined us here at the Novotel in 2016 as a bartender, working his way up to bar supervisor, then over to the front office team as a guest service agent, again working his way up to guest relations manager.

Now in charge of the front office team, Vaughn is excited to be one of the first faces our guests see, meeting so many people and leading his awesome team are the most enjoyable parts of his role.

Front Office Manager

DDI: 06 769 9721
fom@novotelnewplymouth.com

Shirley Findlay

Shirley Findlay

Keeping a hotel immaculately clean is no easy feat but for Shirley it’s like a walk in the park. With over 25 years experience in managing hotel housekeeping teams, Shirley and her team ensure the hotel is bright and shiny for all our guests.

Shirley has been a part of the Novotel team from when the doors opened and has just celebrated seven years here!

Executive Housekeeper

DDI: 06 769 9728
hk@novotelnewplymouth.com

Ankit Sharma

Ankit Sharma

Ankit joins us, with a seven year hospitality background working for around 4 years with the prestige Taj Group in India. After completing his post graduate, he moved to New Zealand to work for the Peppers group, in the beautiful wine region of Martinborough. Then with the Millennium hotels in Wairarapa, extending his knowledge about the New Zealand wine & food culture.

Food & Beverage has always been a passion for Ankit, ensuring each and every customer has the best dining experience from start to finish.

In his spare time he loves watching his favourite football team Arsenal play and exploring our beautiful region. He is excited to meet all our customers in the near future!

Food and Beverage Manager

DDI: 06 769 9722
restaurant@novotelnewplymouth.com

Richard Ponder

Richard Ponder

The main man behind our incredible kitchen and delicious menu. You may recognise this face, but don’t be mistaken, it’s not his twin Freddie Ponder.

Originally from the UK, this is where Richard first found his passion for food and started his career as a chef, he then travelled to France, New Zealand and Australia to experience a different culinary journey, but soon found his way back to New Plymouth, where he and his kiwi wife live with their adorable five children! Some would ask, how does a man with a wife, five children and a whole kitchen to look after get any spare time, to which Richard would answer ‘it’s easy’ whilst heading to the beach for a surf! That’s why the team here at Novotel love him!

Richard is passionate about sustainable living not only at home, but in his kitchen. He has been changing the way the kitchen operates to coincide with this passion since starting here back in 2019.

Himself and his team have been working hard on the new menu, bringing fresh local produce, and organic ingredients where possible, to ensure delectable and consistent food each time.

Come and try our delicious new menu, or pop in and say hello if your driving past.

Don’t forget its Richard not Freddie

Head Chef

DDI: 06 769 9727
chef@novotelnewplymouth.com

Bridget Harris

Bridget Harris

Bridget brings extensive experience in events and hospitality, most recently working as an events manager for a Wellington based company. She is in charge of all thing’s events here at Novotel New Plymouth and has recently celebrated two years in this role.

Bridget looks forward to helping you create an outstanding conference or event.

 

Meetings & Events Manager

DDI: 06 769 9726
events@novotelnewplymouth.com

Sarah Toon

Sarah Toon

Originally from the UK, Sarah joined the Novotel team after moving to Taranaki with her husband back in 2019.

Sarah has an extensive background in hospitality, with over 17 years’ experience in the industry. From managing restaurants & bars, planning & managing events, right through to recruitment. She then found her passion of marketing hospitality businesses and is so excited to bring her skills to the Novotel.

After a recent move back to Christchurch, Sarah currently works remotely for the Novotel, although regularly coming back to visit all the wonderful things Taranaki has to offer and touch base with the awesome team!

Marketing Manager

DDI: 06 769 9579
marketing@novotelnewplymouth.com

James Cunningham

James Cunningham

James is originally from South Africa but has called New Zealand home for the last 21 years. He has worked in some unique hotels throughout his career, with his main areas of expertise being sales, marketing, and revenue management.

If you ask James, Taranaki is the best region in NZ; filled with world class food & beverage, an incredible arts scene, and a lifestyle second to none.

In his spare time, you will find James with his young family exploring Brookland’s Zoo, firing up the BBQ or pizza oven with friends and family and occasionally out for a round of golf.

Business Development Manager

DDI: 06 769 9579
sales@novotelnewplymouth.com