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Management Team

Manawatū District Council's Executive team is led by Chief Executive Dr Richard Templer and consists of four General Managers, each with their own area of responsibility.

Dr Richard Templer

Chief Executive


Executive Assistant:

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Richard joined Manawatū District Council as Chief Executive in May 2016. As Chief Executive Richard works to create a culture and environment in which the whole MDC team can excel. 

Raised on a Waikato Dairy farm Richard attended the University of Auckland where he completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Mech) and PhD.  While studying he worked at Gallagher Engineering, Volvo in Sweden, and MacMaster University (Canada) as a part-time lecturer.

In his professional life Richard has worked as a Researcher at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare; Industrial Research as a research engineer, team leader and General Manager. He has held General Manager roles in Meat & Wool, Ministry of Science & Innovation and Callaghan Innovation and acting Acting-CEO of the Foundation for Research Science & Technology.

“In successful organisations people need to enjoy and have responsibility for their roles. It’s the task of management to set clear goals, create a supportive environment and then get out of the way so people can deliver”

Richard is married with one son, he enjoys walking and swimming, is a “sports junkie and a Chiefs fan” and enjoys reading, music, dance, listening to podcasts and watching every Marvel movie.

Brent Limmer

General Manager - Community and Strategy


Executive Assistant:

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Brent joined Manawatū District Council’s Executive Management Team in August 2009. As General Manager - Community and Strategy, Brent oversees a wide variety strategic and operational activities including communications, strategy development, economic and community development, community facilities, parks, property, library services, aquatic services and Civil Defence.

Born and raised in Taranaki, Brent attended Massey University where he completed a Bachelor of Regional Planning (BRP) degree. Brent is a Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute, New Zealand Institute of Directors, is an accredited Resource Management Hearings Commissioner, and an accredited Civil Defence Controller.

In his professional life Brent has worked as a planner doing consents and policy at Stratford District Council and Horowhenua District Council; as a Senior Planner and Resource Consents Manager at Porirua City Council and as a Policy Analyst at Land Information New Zealand. He was the Principal Planning Consultant and manager of the resource management team at TCB Limited (now part of Cardno NZ), and has been a Manager at the Ministry for the Environment focusing on a range of topics including aquaculture, flood risk management, urban design and local government performance improvement under the RMA.  Brent has also spent time working overseas including stints doing audit and quality assurance projects with a consulting engineering firm, and working in sales and marketing with British Gas.

Brent is married with one son, he enjoys travel, mountain biking, sailing, jet skiing and is a long-suffering fan of the New Zealand Cricket team.

Hamish Waugh

General Manager - Infrastructure


Executive Assistant:

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Hamish joined Manawatū District Council in May 2011 as General Manager - Infrastructure, where he maintains an oversight of the district’s road network, water supply, wastewater management, stormwater networks, solid waste and recycling operations.

A sixth generation local he was raised on a sheep and beef farm just out of Feilding, where he attended Taonui primary school and Feilding Ag prior to completing a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Science both focusing on Resource Management and Environmental Engineering in Palmy. Hamish continued his tertiary education with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management at the University of Waikato while working in the dairy industry.

Putting his qualifications into practice, Hamish has worked as a field consultant aligned to the New Zealand Dairy Group and later Fonterra following the New Zealand dairy industry restructure. An extended OE saw Hamish living in London for five years where he worked across three London Borough Authorities focusing on quality assurance, infrastructure project management and programme delivery as well as business management and improvement. Returning to New Zealand, Hamish worked as a Regional Manager for Downer New Zealand.

“To be successful in life and in work, you need to know your people, know your numbers and know your customers”. Hamish has a tongue in cheek mantra of “amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics - it’s about getting the job done and making sure everyone goes home safe”.

Hamish has three young daughters who he cherishes watching grow by the day. In addition to keeping fit, healthy and active, he enjoys being outside on the farm and in the garden, traveling the world, good red wine and rib eye steak on the BBQ.

Shayne Harris

General Manager - Corporate and Regulatory


Executive Assistant:

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Shayne commenced with Manawatū District Council in 2008 as the Support Services Group Manager, a year later the role was expanded to include the regulatory component of council and the role is now known as the General Manager - Corporate and Regulatory.

Born in Palmerston North, Shayne attended Palmerston North Boys High School before joining the NZ Army where he completed 23 years service in the Regular Force and Territorial Force.

After leaving the army, Shayne completed 17 years at the Palmerston North City Council, commencing as a Building Officer and becoming the Development Service Manager prior to moving the Manawatū District Council

Shayne is married, has five children and six grandchildren and lives in Palmerston North.

Out of the office, Shayne lives in in Palmerston North and enjoys watching rugby, playing golf, and trout fishing.

Frances Smorti

General Manager - People and Culture


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Joining Manawatū District Council In August 2016, Frances took on the role of General Manager - People and Culture. Her role involves leading the People and Culture team to support the staff and managers, while championing the positive culture and development opportunities the organisation offers.

Frances grew up locally, calling Halcombe her home before gaining degrees in Human Resources and Operations Management from the University of Canterbury. A post-graduation stint at the Palmerston North City Council as an HR Advisor preceded an OE, where she was based in London. There she worked in central government, the private sector and local government - this being the City of London Corporation, the local authority responsible for the square mile in the heart of London.

Frances and her husband live on a lifestyle block just outside of Feilding and spend their weekends planting trees, weeding the garden and corralling their chickens, ducks, cats and sheep.