Woodhaven puts a lot of value on its community and family spirit seeing its staff and suppliers as family and friends. We have a full time staff of 220 and support a large range of local and national suppliers. Woodhaven treasures the cultural diversity of its employees with 18 different cultures currently represented. This cultural diversity is celebrated through a bi-annual cultural festival that staff members participate in. Woodhaven also hosts an annual sports day for its staff and suppliers, where teams enjoy competing in a range of sporting activities from Touch and Netball to the traditional egg and spoon race.

Woodhaven Management

John Clarke smiling in the sun

John Clarke

Managing Director

John started Woodhaven Gardens in 1978 along with his Father Eric and wife Honora. Originally picturing a life earning a living at sea fishing or dairy farming, John soon fell in love with the challenge and connection with both nature and people that Market Gardening provided. John still wakes up every day and loves his job. He understands that managing Woodhaven Gardens means creating a sustainable, socially responsible business that provides high quality products now and for many generations to come. John is passionate about the industry as a whole and has given back through his support of Horticulture New Zealand, the Horowhenua grower’s society and his representation on the MG’s board of directors over his 42-year involvement with Horticulture.

Emma Clarke

Sales and HR manager/Director

Emma returned full time to Woodhaven in 1999 after completion of a commerce degree at Massey University. Emma plays an important and diverse role at Woodhaven focusing on Sales and Human Resources, whilst also managing our Quality Assurance audits and sitting on the Woodhaven board of directors. Emma is passionate about the farm and loves the lifestyle that it provides her and her 3 children. Sustainability and social responsibility are very important to Emma as she looks to continue the success of Woodhaven, leaving the business in a fantastic place for her children in the years to come.

Emma Clarke crouching barefoot in a field

Jay Clarke

Consultant / director

A qualified Chartered Accountant Jay brings a unique approach to consulting of special projects and providing strategic guidance in his role as a Director of Woodhaven Gardens. His experience as National Business Development Manager (Nandos Chickenland Limited, UK, 2010-2013) and National Finance & Operations Manager (Abbvie Limited, NZ, 2013-Current) helps provide a strong sounding board to Emma and John on a daily basis. He is dedicated to seeing the success of Woodhaven Gardens, its staff, suppliers and business partners, through the continuing growth of a strong, sustainable & socially responsible business.

Adam Jory

Operation Manager

Adam’s favourite vegetables are the humble Broccoli and exquisite Celeriac! Adam first started working at Woodhaven Gardens during his school holidays and took a full-time position in 1999 after graduating from Massey University. He gained invaluable management experience at a young age and was mentored by John on the fine art of market gardening. This led to a passion for growing and the horticultural industry.  After two stints exploring the world, we’re happy to say he’s decided that Europe has nothing on what the Horowhenua Region and Woodhaven Gardens has to offer! As Operations Manager, Adam enjoys the challenge of working with many different product lines, producing fresh healthy kai for kiwis within a diverse multi-cultural team.

Ofa Taeiloa

Harvest Manager

Ofa started with Woodhaven Gardens in 1998 as a member of the Harvesting team. His hard work, eye for quality product and ability to manage teams soon saw him progress to a team supervisor and then eventually on to the role of Operations Manager. Ofa’s goal is to consistently and efficiently harvest our products and creating an outstanding environment to his team and others to work in. Ofa manages 82 staff and is driven to help shape the future of Woodhaven while helping create better futures for those that he works with.

Rose Ryan

Pack house manager

Rose started with the Woodhaven Gardens family as a member of the spring onion team in 2003. Rose showed a natural feel for producing high quality produce and demonstrated great people management skills. This led to Rose being made Pack House Manager where she runs a team of 36 staff. Rose and her team are responsible for the washing and packaging of the pre-packed lines we are so proud of. This value adding work increases product shelf life and provides an enhanced retail product. Rose enjoys working with such a fantastic group of people and in such a rewarding environment.

Eritema (Arli) Poutoa

Logistics Manager

Arli started out in the lettuce team, after earning his stripes in the field he moved into the cooler team and has worked his way up to Logistics Manager. Arli has a relaxed management style allowing him to co-ordinate our very busy cool stores across multiple sites effectively. He is responsible for ensuring all stock is looked after with the love and care it deserves, all orders are made correctly and delivered throughout New Zealand to get to the markets on time.  Arli and his talented team work very closely with the sales team, packing sheds, harvest teams and freight companies to co-ordinate the logistics and meet the demands of our customers. When not working he is truely a man of the land and sea, enjoying the outdoors and is a keen fisherman.

Debra Adin

Finance and Administration Manager

Debra joined the Woodhaven team in 2006 as an Administration Assistant. Her dedicated, caring nature and excellent financial acumen made her the obvious choice when the Finance and Administration Manager role became vacant a few years later. Debra’s role is vast and varied managing 4 direct reports but also adopting the role of Camp Mother for the whole business. Debra enjoys the chance to work with such a diverse group of people and feels privileged to be exposed to the all the wonderful and varied cultures of the Woodhaven family.

Willem Lourens

Production Manager

Willem joined the Woodhaven family in 2019 as Production Manager after moving to New Zealand from South Africa. Growing up on a farm, joining his family business and running his own farm in South Africa, market gardening has always been his passion and he is happy to share his experience and passion as the Production Manager by growing the best crops for Woodhaven Gardens. With his production team he strives for the best quality from groundwork and growing to deliver top produce.

Maria (Cote) Solovera

Head Agronomist

Cote joined the Woodhaven gardens family and the agronomy team in 2012.
Cote has an agronomy engineer degree from Santiago, Chile and completed a postgraduate diploma in agribusiness at Massey University.
Cote has been responsible of growing a wide variety of vegetable crops as agronomist for 6 years and since 2018 is leading the agronomy team as Head agronomist. Cote loves the challenge of her role and the business and leads the team with professionalism, strength and possitive attitude.

Registered Seasonal Employers Staff (RSE)

Our RSE staff play an important role in our business here at Woodhaven Gardens. They form the backbone of several teams enabling Woodhaven Gardens to provide all year round supply of products it could not otherwise manage to harvest.

The support of the New Zealand Department of Labour enables Woodhaven to secure the services of 8 staff from Kiribati (9 month rotation) and 8 staff from Tonga (6 month rotation). Woodhaven is proud in the way it ensures these staff are integrated into the Woodhaven family. Our aim is for our RSE staff to have the best possible experience during their time as employees at Woodhaven Gardens.