Meet The Team

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

General Manager

Born and raised in Rotorua with 20 years hospitality experience across New Zealand and Australia. Jayesh recently moved back to New Zealand after 12 years in 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 a energetic and passionate team of hospitality professionals that are committed to delivering exceptional guests experiences.

DDI: 06 769 9723

Mariska Botha

Business Support Manager

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.

DDI: 06 769 9720

Vaughn D'souza

Front Office Manager

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.

We are sure he will continue the successful running of the front office team.

DDI: 06 769 9721

Shirley Findlay

Executive Housekeeper

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 over five years ago!

DDI: 06 769 9728

Rohit Payal

Food and Beverage Manager

Rohit joined the Novotel team as a food and beverage attendant over two and a half years ago, moving into the restaurant manager role over one year ago and recently promoted to the food and beverage manager.

Rohit brings a passion to the industry, graduating from PIHMS, he has always wanted to work in hotels. Rohit ensures all his team provides excellent service for all our hotel guests.

DDI: 06 769 9722

Richard Ponder

Head Chef

Richard is originally from the UK, this is where he first found his passion for food and started his career as a chef. After spending some time in kitchens throughout the UK, he then traveled to New Zealand and France 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!

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

DDI: 06 769 9727

Bridget Harris

Meetings & Events Manager

Bridget brings extensive experience in events and hospitality, most recently working as an events manager for a Wellington based company. After 5 years of working remotely, she is excited to get her feet on the ground at Novotel New Plymouth.

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


DDI: 06 769 9726

Sarah Toon

Marketing Manager

Originally from the UK, Sarah joined the Novotel team, just over two years ago after moving to Taranaki with her husband. Enjoying being by the ocean and all that this beautiful region has to offer.

Sarah has an extensive background in hospitality, with over 15 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.

DDI: 06 769 9579

Jo Maxwell

Business Development Manager

We welcomed Jo Maxwell to our team earlier this year as our Business Development Manager.  Originally from Christchurch, Jo has settled in New Plymouth of 17 years with her husband and son.

Jo comes to us with an extensive back ground within hotels & resorts hospitality in ranges of human resources, events and sales, her knowledge and networking skills are a great accolade to our team.

Building relationships with our corporate clients and concentrating on the growth of Novotel New Plymouth is a strong focus for Jo.  You may likely see Jo when you are next in house, meeting and greeting with our corporate clients to ensure their stay is the perfect one!

DDI: 06 769 9579