About us

Meet the Crew

Matt Russell – CEO

Matt Russell

Te Anau Airport Manapouri’s Chief Executive, Matt Russell is also the GM – Services and Assets at Southland District Council. Matt has a background in both the development and management of infrastructure assets. Matt returned to Southland in 2018 following the preceding 12 years in Christchurch where he spent the majority of this time working on the infrastructure recovery effort following the Canterbury earthquakes. In his current role, a key focus is on ensuring the infrastructure available in Southland is aligned with Council’s strategic objectives in the long term whilst ensuring consistent service delivery throughout the District.
Previous roles held were at Christchurch City Council, Fulton Hogan and Savills Project Management.

Evan Pearce – Airport Manager


Evan flew ski planes in the Southern Alps for 5 years between 1985 and 1990 before entering the Airline Industry with Mount Cook Airline.

From there Evan has been flying internationally on the Boeing 737NG. He also owns and operates an Aviation Safety Management Company, which focuses on Safety Management and Accident Investigation and contracts throughout NZ and the South Pacific.

Evan has been working for Te Anau Airport Manapouri for the past 8 years initially as Quality Assurance Manager then as Airport Manager.


Lee MacGillivray Operations/Administrator/Ground Handling

Started working in the aviation industry for Air Fiordland in 1994 where she had a variety of different roles ranging from Flight Coordinator to QA and ground handling for the Manapouri Airport.  When Air Fiordland’s Te Anau base moved out to the new Te Anau Airport Manapouri terminal, Lee’s role changed to include more airport duties.  Lee has now been looking after the daily running of the airport for 10 years now.

Ian Remnant – Ground Handler


Tom Rouse – Ground Handler


Keagan Maynard – Ground Handler

Jenny Labruyère – Venue Co-ordinator

Background and History

There have been two airstrips in the Te Anau Basin for at least 30 years. The Waiau strip was owned by Southland District Council’s predecessor, the Wallace County Council, and after 1989, Council assumed responsibility for it. The Manapouri strip, which was sealed, was privately owned by Mt Cook and then Air New Zealand until 2002, when the company offered it up for sale by public tender.

Discussions over the importance of the a sealed airstrip to the basin’s economy had been held previously, but Air NZ gave interested parties only two weeks to put their tenders in so Council went ahead. Council’s tender of $401,000 was accepted by Air New Zealand.

Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland and with increasing tourism and residential growth in the area at that time, Council had a responsibility for well-planned infrastructure. About 22 councils own airports throughout New Zealand.

Consolidation to one airport was always the focus of the Te Anau Community Board and all lessees at the Waiau site were informed by letter in 2002 that the plan was to move to Manapouri.