NZL Board of Directors

Aksel Bech (Chair)

  • Aksel has been involved for the past decade as a parent of three lacrosse-playing children including a son on a college scholarship for lacrosse starting in the US Fall semester of 2024 and Aksel served as Chair of Waikato Lacrosse Association in 2022.  He started his professional career working in Human Resources for Natural Gas Corporation, and was part of the successful management buy-out of NDA Engineering in 1998. Continuing as an owner/manager until the business was sold a decade later, he then held Board of Trustee roles in two primary schools and one private secondary school as well as directorships in private sector companies whilst focusing most of his time around family. Aksel has significant governance experience from serving on several private sector Boards of Directors and he is the current Chair of the Foundation at St. Peter’s School of Cambridge.  Aksel represented the Tamahere Ward on the southern border of Hamilton for six years as their publicly elected Councillor (three of those years as the Deputy Mayor of Waikato District Council), holds a Masters in Industrial Psychology and runs an independent housing advocacy along with providing mediation and facilitation services in the community and employment spaces. 
Debra Cowen (Deputy Chair)
  • Debra works as a Logistics Manager in the Dairy Industry. She is heavily involved in the sport of Equestrian, having competed, organised, and managed in many shows. She is currently Event Director of 3 of the biggest dressage shows in New Zealand as well as being President of one of the largest Equestrian Venues in the Country. Her involvement in Lacrosse came about via her son Ben who started playing In 2019, and was a member of the NZ Under 15 team in 2020, a member of the NZ U18 team in 2021, 2022 and is captain of the U18 NZ Team in 2023. Debra joined the Board in 2022 and is also Manager of the 2023 U18 Mens team, that travelled to Perth in April 2023 for the Australian state championships.

Mike Thompson
  • I am Tongan/ European born and bred Aucklander, married to a school teacher with an adult son. I live on Auckland’s North Shore. I have had the privilege to work in a variety of sports for the last 25 years in Marketing and CEO roles at a local regional and national level. As a contractor for the last 13 years I have continued my involvement in sport and also supported other NFP’s and Charities. I am looking forward to supporting Lacrosse’s evolution and excited about the future potential of the sport, building on the strong foundation that has been laid before me.
Martn Nash
  • Martyn has been involved in competitive sport as a player, coach, manager, referee and club leader. He has served on school Boards, and in faculty leadership positions through his role at the University of Auckland. Martyn has helped with boys high school lacrosse, and NZ U15 and U18 touring teams, and is keen to help NZL explore opportunities and navigate challenges for lacrosse in NZ. He hopes to contribute to growing the sport and raising levels of skill and achievement of all players, while further developing the safe and inclusive environment for NZL members.
Ron Jones
  • Ron is a self-employed consultant specialising in employment law matters and executive coaching to senior exec’s, board members, and directors in improving management capability. His aim is to help mentor the whole NZ Lacrosse community and specifically the new board in their quest to migrate the NZL to a governance orientated organisation as required by the new societies act. With links to Ministers and other senior decision makers, Ron uses his experience of army, police and corrections work to benefit all.

Tegan Walmsley 
  • Tegan has been involved in lacrosse since 2015 as a player, coach, official and organiser. She has played for various representative teams, including NZ under 23s, Canterbury Senior Women’s and Waikato Senior Women’s, Waikato under 18s. Tegan was one of the founding members of UC (University of Canterbury) Lacrosse, and has played a key role in the success of the NZ Universities Lacrosse Tournament in recent years. Tegan is passionate about lacrosse, and wants to help promote it at both grassroots and representative levels, to increase reach to a sport that has given her so much. She is currently working as a Process Development Engineer working at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, after completing her degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Canterbury.