Our People

Donald Howard

Managing Director

Donald is a founding team member and shareholder of Independent Stevedoring Ltd.  He has 32 years' experience in the port industry which, along with his business management studies, brings a balanced approach to his management style. 

He is also an executive member of the Ports and Stevedores Association Inc and has been on its executive for five years.
(+64 7) 547 4553

Mike Danen

Operations Manager

Mike has worked in the shipping industry for more than 20 years. His career tracks through all facets of ship agency, logistics and Line Management and he has an ILT Diploma in Logistics.

He has strong experience working with customers in industries such as Timber, Steel, Pulp, Paper, Food and Dairy, with both breakbulk and containers.



(+64 7) 5474555

Eric Staite

Mount Maunganui Stevedoring Operations Manager

Eric has worked in the stevedoring industry since 1979.  He joined Independent Stevedoring in 2008, having previously been involved in the operation and management of Northland Stevedoring, at Port Whangarei, for 13 years.

Eric has a customer-focused approach backed by extensive knowledge and experience.

(+64 7) 547 4557

Richard May

Tauranga Terminal Operations Manager

Richard has over 30 years’ experience in Operations covering several industries. Richard prides himself on customer satisfaction and delivering a quality service. Richard enjoys building positive teams where everyone’s contributions are valued. Richard has a passion for Health and Safety and is committed to ensuring everyone goes home safely at the end of each day. 




(+64 7) 547 4559

Paula Clode

Financial Controller

 Paula joined the Independent Stevedoring team in 2015, having previously been employed as the Chief Financial Officer of a group of IT franchises.

Paula also volunteers as a Business Mentor for other small businesses in the Bay of Plenty region through the Business Mentors NZ program.


+64 7 547 4551

Hans Axt

Executive Director/Chairman

Hans-Henning (Hans) Axt is a founding director of Independent Stevedoring and has worked at Port of Tauranga, New Zealand's largest and most efficient port, for more than 30 years.

Hans is a Master Mariner with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.  He worked on merchant cargo ships of all types and sizes and served time as a police inspector in the North German water/harbour police.

"This company was created with the genuine aim to develop a happy, responsive, loyal and well motivated team of staff that would give our customers choice and excellent service," says Hans.

021 053 3538

Phil Meara

Whangarei Operations Manager

Phil has 20 years’ experience  in the Port industry working in log marshalling and later in general cargo Stevedoring. With a strong focus on health and Safety and Customer satisfaction.



(+64 9) 4325004