Advisory Board

The challenges in securing and delivering Major Events are increasingly demanding, exacting and competitive with international rights owners requiring: Significant host nation investment and commitment; high quality delivery standards; ever evolving commercial and operational assurances.

To meet these demands, a high-calibre Advisory Board provides advice to NZ Trail Runs Ltd, the owner of the Tarawera Ultramarathon. In establishing the operating model for delivery of Tarawera Ultramarathon, ensuring the most appropriate governance framework is the most important organisational factor in increasing the likelihood of the following:
– Successfully delivering the Event (i.e. financially and operationally);
– Taking full advantage of the opportunities and benefits;
– Managing associated risks.


Chair – Mark Copeland
Mark Copeland is a senior New Zealand commercial lawyer and company director. He is the founder and director of commercial law firm Mark Copeland Lawyers, with offices in Rotorua and Auckland.

He has acted for a wide range of clients, from private individuals to government entities and major international corporations, advising on all aspects of commercial, property and sports laws.

Mark is passionate about a wide range of sports, including para-sport, tramping, orienteering, ultra and mountain running, triathlon and adventure racing. He has completed over 40 ultra runs in New Zealand and other countries.

He is also one of New Zealand’s leading sports governance lawyers. Among other roles Mark is the current Chairman of the Hillary Outdoors Youth Education Centres NZ, a member of the Legal and Ethics Committee of the International Paralympics Committee, the immediate Past-President of Paralympics New Zealand, an active member of the Australia New Zealand Sports Law Association and a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Mark has performed numerous administration roles for New Zealand sporting bodies over many years, coached several individual and team multisport athletes to high levels of regional and national-level performance and has organised many sports events, including at New Zealand championships level. Special interest within sports law include the application and effect of anti-doping laws within Para sport.

Mark has been involved in an advisory role with the Tarawera Ultramarathon since 2009, He has run the TUM Teams Relay once, and has promised us all that he WILL run the 100Km one day!

Darren McGarvie
Darren helps businesses set and implement strategic plans in his own business Firestation – Bay of Plenty’s only business growth centre, incubator and accelerator operating in Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga and Kawerau.

Darren has had a long and successful career helping businesses develop by working in various corporate roles, primarily in the financial services sector. These roles allowed him to work with a broad range of business people from farmers to entrepreneurs to large corporate entities and local government.

Darren’s corporate career culminated with four years as Bank of New Zealand Managing Partner for the Central Plateau region.

This business had an asset base of $1.4 billion, an annual turnover of $36 million, and thirty banking professionals based Taupo, Whakatane and Rotorua. Darren’s team consistently achieved one of the highest levels of staff engagement, new business acquisition, and client satisfaction across New Zealand.

He has also started businesses in the ICT, construction, and entertainment industries, allowing him to understand from a personal perspective the challenges of entrepreneurship and sustaining successful businesses.

Darren’s passion for entrepreneurship, business education and successful business leadership, motivated him to help establish ‘Rotorua X’. This has become a leading professional networking forum in the Bay of Plenty.

With an established track record in governance Darren is a passionate advocate for developing mentors, advisory boards and independent directors. As well as being Rotorua X Charitable Trust founder and inaugural Board Chair, Darren has also been a member of the boards of Tarawera Ultramarathon, Puma Darts Group, Bay Venues Limited and Te Pae Tawhiti.

Darren has received many awards for his professional abilities, including Rotorua Chamber of Commerce – Emerging Business Leader of the Year and the Institute of Directors – Aspiring Director Award.