Otago Polytechnic Subsidiary Board of Directors appointed


Otago Polytechnic Subsidiary Board of Directors appointed

March 17, 2020 | 7 min read

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology Establishment Board (the Establishment Board) is today announcing directors for the boards of subsidiary Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), effective from 1 April 2020.

The following people have agreed to serve as directors on the board of Otago Polytechnic from 1 April 2020:

Tony Allison – Chair

Megan Potiki (Kāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa) – Deputy Chair

Paul Allison

Michael Collins

Karen Coutts (Ngāi Tahu, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki)

Adam La Hood

“The appointment of this Board of Directors is a significant step forward in the journey towards a cohesive, sustainable vocational education system,” says Establishment Board Chair Barry Jordan.

“In making these appointments we have balanced the need to ensure continuity of operation with sound local and regional relationships. We are delighted with the diversity of thought within each board, alongside the complementary skills and experience that will drive positive outcomes for their respective communities.”

The Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act requires that the initial board for each subsidiary ITP comprise at least four and no more than eight directors, of which at least half must reside within the region that the subsidiary primarily serves.

Otago Polytechnic Board Chair Tony Allison says, “I am genuinely excited about the opportunity that the reforms create for Otago Polytechnic and our current and future students, and I look forward to seeing how the whole region is positively impacted by the changes.

“Otago Polytech is an important part of the Dunedin fabric, a major contributor to the Otago region, New Zealand and further afield. We have fabulous staff and a great culture – we're good at being innovative, inclusive, and collaborative.”

To further drive the shift from competition to operating as one regionally accessible network of provision, the Establishment Board has decided that one NZIST Council member will be a director on each subsidiary ITP board. Each board may also receive a ‘cross-Board appointee’. These names will be confirmed in April.

The Establishment Board based its approach to the appointment of directors on the Treasury framework used to appoint directors to the boards of Crown companies. More than 370 expressions of interest were received over the Christmas and New Year period.

All appointments to subsidiary boards are subject to ratification and approval by the NZIST Council on 1 April 2020. Members of this Council will be confirmed by the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, before the end of March.

Tony Allison – Chair


Tony is the former CEO of Night ‘n Day and is now an independent professional director and consultant. He serves on multiple boards, including Delta Utility Services Limited, Smith City Limited, Dunedin International Airport Limited along with other advisory boards.

Tony has worked with Otago Polytechnic on its Edubits product and is currently the independent chair of the Edubits advisory board. His executive career includes senior positions in large accounting and legal firms along with a major construction and development company. Tony is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors.

Megan Potiki – Deputy Chair

Megan hails from Ōtākou and is of Kāi Tahu and Te Ātiawa descent. She currently lectures at the University of Otago in the school of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous studies and is working towards completing her PhD.

Her research interests are focused on the loss of te reo Māori at Ōtākou and the written Māori archives of the past that have a particular geographical focus on her tribal region of Kāi Tahu in the South Island of New Zealand.

Paul Allison  MNZM

Born and bred in Otago, Paul has widespread governance experience having served on boards within the health, retail, education, energy, sport, and community funding sectors.

He has over 20 years leadership experience as Chief Executive of sector-leading organisations as well as an extensive background in sport, communications, and the media, with more than 30 years involvement as a television and radio commentator.

Paul resides in Central Otago and was first appointed to the Otago Polytechnic Council in 2014. He is also a former New Zealand athletics representative, notching up 13 victories over the marathon distance.

Michael (Mike) Collins

Mike’s purpose statement is to ‘Inspire Self Belief in Others; Enabling Transformational Change and Fulfilment’. He is the Executive Director People, Culture and Technology at the Southern District Health Board. Previously Mike was the Director of the Learning Environment and the Director of Service Excellence at Otago Polytechnic with a passion for creating dynamic working environments.

Having worked with boards and executive teams Mike acknowledges a successful organisation requires a clear strategy with innovative aspirations supported by people working within an empowering culture. Mike believes positive transformational change is possible, to dream big, believe in yourself, trust the collective intelligence of those around you and anything is possible.

Karen Coutts

Karen (Ngāi Tahu and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) brings senior governance experience in the public sector and for iwi. Her governance roles range from NFP to at-scale public entities and oversight of diverse economic portfolios, including Chair and on Audit and Risk Committees.

She has worked as a public servant in the health-social sector as well as in statistics and technology, and economic development, specialising in Māori economic development. Her interest in the reform of vocational education stems from the opportunity to develop a workforce fit-for-purpose in a technology-based 21st century and the economic benefits this will bring New Zealand.

Adam La Hood

Adam is a fully qualified Chartered Accountant with extensive financial experience both here in New Zealand and Overseas in a diverse range of industries. Along with the financial experience his executive and corporate background brings a skill set in strategy, risk management, health and safety, and internal controls. Adam is also a Director on the Dunedin Venues Management Limited Board and the Chief Financial Officer for Cook Brothers Construction.

Born and bred in Dunedin, he is passionate about the city being a great place to work and live. Adam sees Otago Polytechnic as a key asset to the city and wants to see its continued success within the tertiary sector.