About Us

About Populous People

populous people Rachel Cornwall
Rachel Cornwall

Founder Rachel Cornwall is genuinely curious about what makes us all tick and absolutely committed to seeing people and organisations adapt and grow – that filters right across the team at Populous People.


At Populous we live and breath our philosophy of Find, Keep, Grow.


While Rachel C has vast experience in search and recruitment, and loves seeing people and organisations adapt and grow. The same is to be said for People Strategy Associates Mardi Thompson – Jopling.

Mardi Thompson – Jopling
Mardi Thompson – Jopling

Together we have placed an extensive and wide range of talented New Zealanders throughout the country over the past 15 plus years. Rachel C has particular strength and reach into the executive and governance level roles, whilst Mardi is expert in searching and placing in the leadership through middle management and support levels.


Our search and appointment experience ranges from directors in publicly listed companies to executives in engineering, plant, operations and finance, sales & marketing and support specialists in some of NZ’s most understated but successful primary sector and social service businesses.


Whether it’s the hard to find people, in engineering, infrastructure and local government, or supply short accountants, finance managers and ever elusive top quality admin support people that we cannot live without – finding them, and helping them and you to develop and partner in long-term people success is what motivates  us every day.

Tiana Rutene
Tiana Rutene

Tiana Rutene, known to many as “TJ”, is our Service Manager. She is our most recent addition – joining us in May 2021. Already we can’t live without her. Tiana, an Otago Grad and a proud product of East Coast Wairoa,  has a huge affinity with the primary sector. Her rural background lends itself so well to our philosophy at Populous where we are determined to see provincial New Zealand develop its’ young leaders. TJ’s Food Science and Commerce background saw her post grad working in the red meat and fresh produce sectors, so we feel lucky to have her knowledge and engaged approach in our team. She pretty much keeps the Populous People crew humming, playing a lead role in optimising our service delivery, as well being actively involved in our search strategies, and candidate and client engagement. It’s notably very handy having a millennial right across the desk too!

Kim Matthews

Kim Matthews is another very special member of the Populous People team, having worked alongside Rachel as her Finance Associate (and commercial guiding light) for the last 13 years. Kim is our resident CA qualified, KPMG trained Finance Associate. She is expert in her capacity as our Financial Controller and in all things relating to internal controls. Kim has had a working partnership with Founder Rachel Cornwall dating back nearly thirteen years. She is a huge resource for us internally, and a great source of knowledge and guidance when required in any finance and accounting related searches. Kim is originally from Auckland, but made the move to Hawkes Bay to pursue career and lifestyle opportunities. She’s nailed both. And now is such an important part of the Populous People fabric, that she now works remotely from Mt Maunganui. Her financial reporting, leadership, guidance and transparency is that integral to us that we just couldn’t let her go!

Haylee Foskett
Haylee Foskett

Haylee Foskett joined the team in January 2022 after returning to the Hawkes Bay with her young family in tow.  Haylee has strong background in HR, with over 15 years’ experience working in a variety of commercial businesses and public sector organisations in NZ and Australia.  She completed her honours degree in strategic HR management at Waikato University and has been immersed in all things people leadership ever since.  Haylee has been in some key HR & People Manager, and HR Business Partner roles before joining the team at Populous People. She has extensive people strategy and recruitment experience.  She has sourced and recruited for roles across all levels, from general management through to administration.  She has an eye for what ‘good looks like’ and prides herself on building enduring relationships, with both clients and candidates.

Finding people, keeping people and seeing people, organisations, communities and our economy grow – that’s what gets Populous People out of bed each day.

“Where does that come from? My good old-fashioned work ethic, and genuine desire to do good! My origins are in small town provincial NZ, and I’m a proud Otago University graduate with a career that’s exposed me to broad range of corporate, commercial and community experiences, here in NZ and abroad. I’m a long-time fan of the pace and diversity of urban NZ, but I’m also an Auckland escapee now firmly nestled in Hawkes Bay.


Over the years I’ve been tempted to detour off into leadership roles but I can’t go past the satisfaction of helping multiple businesses and communities achieve more, by partnering in people strategy. I can’t and won’t ever be able to shrug off my absolute determination to make sure small and large, start-up or established businesses, across all sectors and industries can source the talent, skills, expertise and leadership that is required to take them and their teams into the future.”


– Rachel Cornwall