Cathryn Lancaster

Principal Consultant | Kaiwhiriwhiri Mātāmua

By contributing not only her own deep experience and expertise but also her extensive networks, Cathryn connects clients with the right people, knowledge, and insights to solve their problem . 

Cathryn is a highly experienced finance and economics professional, with a knack for quickly getting to grips with complex problems and framing them in a logical way. Her talents are particularly valuable in times of change and uncertainty – she helps clients eliminate ambiguity and develop a better, more targeted response to their problem. 

With Cathryn, clients get not just her own considerable expertise they also get the benefit of her strong connections with a range of organisations in Aotearoa, both inside and outside government. She’s able to tap into her networks among local-government and NGO leaders, and she also has a private-sector background, and so understands the issues businesses face. 

Cathryn has a close knowledge and understanding of what’s happening in New Zealand’s regions, particularly in the South Island, and is a big believer in the importance of the regions for the national economy. As a Cantabrian now living in Wānaka, Cathryn has a vested interest in seeing organisations thrive in Te Wai Pounamu.  

Cathryn has brought her expertise and connections to bear across a range of work, including business cases, funding advice, planning and budgeting, and value for money assessments. She helps clients make good investment decisions and improve organisational performance. She’s been successful at interpreting and navigating the complex world of central government for clients outside Wellington, helping them to find practical, innovative solutions for their problems.  

A natural relationship builder, Cathryn draws on her own experiences as a director, general manager, and senior consultant in order to better understand her clients’ organisations and the different roles within them 

Cathryn has also lived and worked in the UK, the US, and Australia, and so brings an international perspective. A lot of that time was spent working within multinationals, successfully supporting them to improve their financial performance and get into new markets. 

Outside work, Cathryn enjoys making the most of the Central Otago lifestyle with family and friends. This is usually on the lake, in the mountains, or around the table. She likes reading political biographies and following elections and, when small-town life gets too much, travelling overseas. 

Examples of Cathryn’s work 

  • Developing business cases to support pragmatic investment decisions in the urgent context of the Canterbury redevelopment after the 2010/11 earthquakes – this included Christchurch central-city anchor projects, Lincoln University and AgResearch facilities at Lincoln, TePapa Hauora Health Precinct, and commercial property development 

  • Developing the Implementation business case for redeveloping Scott Base in Antarctica – the business case required innovation in all aspects, from construction methods to commercial risk allocation for shipping logistics 

  • Improving planning, budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes, to help her clients better manage their organisational performance – this has included EY (global budgeting process), NewSouth Wales Health (activity-based costing), DHL (global information systems) and Auckland Council (financial planning processes) 

  • Reducing the cost of service for the New South Wales Treasury through an expenditure review, as part of this state government’s efficiency improvement programme.

Cathryn’s qualifications 

Cathryn has a BCom from the University of Otago and is a chartered management accountant.