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Nilsson and Brewster appointed to national rural roles

NZ_AucklandCBD_Communications_Nilsson and Brewster appointed to national rural roles

Colliers has announced the appointment of James Nilsson and Erica Brewster to national roles in the rural and agribusiness sector as the organisation boosts its service level to clients and increases its market share in New Zealand.

Nilsson joined Colliers in March as the dedicated General Manager for the Commercial and Rural businesses for the Colliers Hawke’s Bay franchise with a focus on the Central North Island and made a big impression with his dedication to the role.

This internal promotion to the position of National Director of Rural & Agribusiness is a reflection of his expertise in a complex sector that is experiencing huge growth and has potential for more.

Nilsson’s ability to lead the organisation’s national strategy and capacity for the rural and agribusiness sector represents a great opportunity for Colliers.

A former national rowing representative, Nilsson grew up on a sheep and beef farm on the Cape Coast of Hawke’s Bay, furthering his education with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. He also has extensive commercial experience with roles in agribusiness, banking, and investment management in New Zealand and abroad.

“I am hugely excited about the opportunity to take on this new challenge and am grateful to have the chance to work with so many exceptional clients across the Colliers network,” Nilsson says.

“The Colliers team has been nothing but welcoming and supportive since I joined the organisation earlier this year and I am thrilled we have been able to build such a strong culture of success in a short period of time.

“The rural, agribusiness, and lifestyle sector is a key part of the economic fabric of New Zealand, and I look forward to helping Colliers cement our position in the market.”

Nilsson will remain based in Hawke’s Bay and has taken over the national leadership of the rural sector from Colliers Directors Hadley Brown and Ruth Hodges who will continue to support the organisation’s rural expansion while focusing on their respective regions.

Nilsson will be joined in Hawke’s Bay by Erica Brewster who has recently started with Colliers as the National Rural Brand Manager.

Originally from Central Hawke’s Bay, and a recent returnee following twenty years in the UK, Brewster will leverage her international brand and client services experience and her understanding of the Colliers brand to activate and implement a cohesive national marketing strategy.

“Since starting with Colliers I have been impressed by the organisation’s dedication to its clients and commitment to success,” Brewster says.

“The rural and lifestyle sector in New Zealand has some deeply passionate people and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved in one of the biggest growth industries in the country. There is a great amount of untapped potential in the marketing space for rural and agribusiness and I am looking forward to putting together some exciting projects in this space.”

Mark Synnott, Colliers New Zealand CEO, says these are strategic appointments that have been made to strengthen Colliers’ existing rural and lifestyle network, and grow the organisation’s capacity to deliver trusted property advice for its clients.

“Agriculture has long been one of the foundations of New Zealand’s economy, and the rural property sector provided almost $15 billion in property transactions in the past 12 months to August 2021, according to the latest REINZ statistics,” Synnott says.

“Colliers’ focus on the rural and lifestyle sectors has expanded rapidly in recent years and has been identified as a major driver of revenue for the Colliers New Zealand business in the 2025 business plan.

“I congratulate James on his promotion and welcome Erica to Colliers, I have great confidence in their ability and believe they will make a significant impact in the rural, agribusiness, and lifestyle sector.”

Related Experts

James Nilsson

General Manager

Hawke's Bay (Rural)

James has recently joined Colliers as the dedicated General Manager for the Central NI Region to support the alignment and expansion of the commercial and agribusiness growth opportunities throughout the Eastern and Central North Island. James has strong links with the commercial, farming and financial services sectors as well as 18 years experience owning and operating his own agribusiness venture from offices  locally and abroad.

His previous background in banking, investment management, and running an internationally recognised NZ brand, provides the commercial experience in helping lead an international brand locally excites me.
Through his expertise, knowledge base and the local and international networks he maintains, he prides himself on being able to identify relevant opportunities throughout the regions.

His philosophy of building a team is similar to a sport he is passionate about - “in a company, we are all in the same boat, and what can be achieved and accomplished working as a team is far greater than any effort as an individual within the crew”.

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Hadley Brown


Hawke's Bay (Rural)

Raised in Hawke’s Bay, Hadley has spent much of his working life in the agricultural industry.  After completing a Diploma in Agricultural Business, Hadley started work in the stock and station industry based in the Bay of Plenty. He travelled extensively overseas and set up a farming business while living in England. Returning to New Zealand, Hadley worked as a Rural Finance Manager before embarking on a very successful rural real estate career.

Hadley’s successful background in the industry has seen him develop a wide skillset along with a client base that covers the globe.  His years of specialized experience in rural property marketing and sales have resulted in an outstanding track record of over $300,000,000 in sales. These results place Hadley in the top tier of agents nationwide.

Having established Colliers Rural Hawke’s Bay in 2014, Hadley was appointed National Director of Colliers Rural and Agribusiness in 2017 and continues to foster and develop the TransTasman relationship and foreign interest investment in respect of rural industry assets.

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Ruth Hodges



Ruth commenced her career in rural real estate in August 2009 before establishing the first Colliers Rural and Agribusiness franchise in New Zealand with Shane O’Brien in September 2014. Her experience and acumen led to a role operating at a national level, spearheading growth in Colliers’ Rural business between 2018 and 2021.

Now based in the Southern-Lakes district, Ruth is Managing Director of the Otago and Southland Rural business, of which she was one of the co-founders in January 2019.

Growing up on a large-scale, high-country farm in Central Otago set the foundation for Ruth’s involvement in the rural industry throughout her working life. After achieving a first-class honours degree from Otago University, Ruth commenced a career in rural finance that spanned nine years with the National Bank. She then joined the progressive new dairy company, Synlait, as Business Development Manager, focusing on growing their farming assets via key acquisitions around the Canterbury region.

Ruth is also involved in the rural building industry with her husband Nigel, and the experience of the incredible highs and lows that this industry has encountered over the past 13 years has honed her management and problem-solving skills to the highest level.

As a rural real estate professional, Ruth's strategy is based around the cornerstones of people and their farming businesses.  Focussing on these rather than solely the physical assets is key to how she achieves positive outcomes regardless of market conditions. Her underlying principles of trust and integrity ensure she continues to form long-lasting, genuine relationships and she applies an open, honest approach to all situations.

Furthermore, Ruth's comprehensive understanding of an often complex and evolving rural market together with her ever-present proactive attitude allow her to provide solutions that go beyond the traditional real estate model.

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Mark Synnott

Chief Executive Officer | New Zealand


Mark joined Colliers International in 1989, when the company was first established in New Zealand. He assisted in establishing the leasing and agency side of the business in Auckland.
In 1994 Mark was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Colliers in New Zealand. Since then, he has grown the Colliers team in New Zealand from 65 to 650 staff.

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