Recognising departing tertiary leaders across Aotearoa

December 19, 2022 | 4 min read

At the end of 2022, a number of our leaders across Te Pūkenga will finish their contracts.

Deputy Chief Executive Ako Delivery Gus Gilmore acknowledges the service and contributions of those leaders across the network, who have played vital roles in leading their people through significant change.

"Both COVID-19 and the Reform of Vocational Education have presented significant opportunities for our sector - but they have also been challenging for our people. Experienced leaders across our Network have supported our 10,000 kaimahi (staff) through a period of substantial change," Mr Gilmore says.

"They have been instrumental in guiding campus-based and online vocational education for many years and have been champions for their regions and communities."

Those leaders who are not returning in 2023 are:

  • Alex Cabrera, Tai Poutini Polytechnic
  • Dr Caroline Seelig, Open Polytechnic
  • Chris Collins, EIT
  • John Snook, WITT
  • Keith Ikin, MIT and Unitec
  • Wayne Jackson, NMIT.

In addition, Linda Sissons from UCOL will take on a project role as Chief Advisor Portfolio Strategy for Te Pūkenga, supporting the Academic Centre and Learning Systems group.

"I acknowledge the work that Alex Cabrera has done on the West Coast to ensure that people have access to a wide range of programmes and supports across a dispersed region. His work to connect with others across the sector has delivered tangible benefits to learners up and down the Coast. Alex, like his peers, has a broad depth of vocational education and training experience, particularly in regional polytechnics."

"Open Polytechnic’s Dr Caroline Seelig finished with the distance learning organisation on 9 December 2022. She led Open Polytechnic since 2009, including through a significant digital transformation, and was a champion of educational performance through distance and open learning."

"Chris Collins served as Chief Executive of EIT for 18 years. In that time, he has passionately worked to ensure the people of Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay have access to high quality tertiary education. He also played an important role as a senior rangatira across the vocational education and training sector, with a particular focus and passion in research."

"John Snook has led WITT since 2019 and brought with him experience from across the vocational education sector. During his time at WITT he has advocated for the communities and people of Taranaki."

"Keith has co-led MIT and Unitec as Pou Hautu, in the first te Tiriti-based co-leadership model to be implemented in vocational education. Throughout his career Keith has demonstrated a fierce passion, dedication and commitment to advancing the aspirations of Māori. I was personally delighted to have served alongside Keith and I particularly acknowledge his mana, collegiality and passion for tauira māori success."

"Wayne Jackson came into NMIT at a really challenging time - COVID-19 had recently arrived in New Zealand and the Reform of Vocational Education was underway. He has provided stability and reassurance to the Nelson and Marlborough regions and continued to meet the unique needs of these regions."

In October, Te Pūkenga confirmed it would move to a regional delivery model with four regions bringing together delivery across campus-based, in-work and online learning. The detailed design of the regional model is underway."

"Interim leadership will be in place to support these divisions while we work through the transitions to our new regional structure as Te Pūkenga. This will provide stability and continuity for our day-to-day operations, for teaching and learning, over this period."

Interim leadership arrangements include Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga at MIT and Unitec, Dave Christiansen at EIT and Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Angela Beaton at WITT, Alan Cadwallader at Open Polytechnic, Brian Trott at UCOL, Jase Tibble at Otago Polytechnic and Olivia Hall at NMIT.