Dr Linda Sissons was Chief Executive of the Wellington Institute of Technology from 2000 to 2015, and spent the past four years leading education and training bodies in the Primary Sector – Taratahi Agricultural College (2015-2016) and the Primary Industry Training Organization (2016-2019). Most recently a member of the NZIST Establishment Board, Linda co-led the Board’s workstream on Mobilising the New World which developed advice for the incoming Council and Chief Executive of NZIST.
Chief Financial Officer
Brian’s role is to ensure that UCOL’s ‘back office’ keeps everything running smoothly, so teaching staff can focus on their students.
Brian comes to UCOL with a diverse range of experiences. Some of his favourite opportunities have included being a part of the Governance Working Group for the Rotorua Lakes restoration project, helping establish Meridian Energy, supporting more than 400 clients during his time at KPMG, and receivership work where he’s led business on the brink back to success. Brian has improved systems and built strategy for the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, ESR, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and Palmerston North City Council.
Brian holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University (Accountancy), and has completed additional training with London School of Business and ISL.
Executive Director Community Engagement
A proud member of UCOL’s team for over 19 years, Christine is a friendly, familiar face to many. Christine’s role focuses on providing strategic communications advice and planning, covering everything from proactive stakeholder engagement to research, brand management, staff communications, media relations, publications and incident/crisis communications. Current projects include initiatives that strengthen UCOL’s engagement with staff and students and improving feedback loops
Christine holds a Bachelor in Applied Management, and is a certified member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). This is a not for profit organisation, incorporating individuals, governments, institutions and other entities from around the world that affect the public interest. Christine is trained in IAP2 Engagement, and is also an accredited and longstanding member of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand.
Executive Director – Business and Industry Partnership
A UCOL graduate herself, Jazz has over 20 years’ experience in marketing, communications and advancement – working in private, public, non-profit and higher education sectors. Her experience has seen her grow her stakeholder engagement skills as well as alumni engagement, brand management, community engagement, social media, analysis, event management and fundraising. For the last decade, she has also been leading and developing high performing teams. As an innovative problem-solver, she identifies business problems, formulating sound project management, marketing and communication plans to achieve tangible results, backed up by strong analysis and metrics.
She grew up in Wairarapa and moved to Australia for a while before returning home. Her public speaking has seen her present at conferences in Australia and New Zealand, on data segmentation, profiling of stakeholders and relevance of communications and marketing channels and tactics – wrapping up with the correlation they have on the results you achieve and the ROI you are after.
Executive Director Quality and Academic Assurance
Gianetta’s professional goal is to enable students to become autonomous, lifelong learners. With her background in tertiary teaching, she’s leading UCOL’s efforts to continuously improve students’ experiences at an organisation-wide level.
Gianetta has held leadership roles focussed on this since 2000, across three polytechnics. She has a keen interest in applying curriculum alignment to the design of tertiary and vocational education, and in hybrid learning strategies that optimise educational technology.
In addition to her strategic responsibilities, Gianetta leads several teams. These include Te Atakura (UCOL’s relationship-based teaching coaches), Learning Technologies, Curriculum and Academic Services, and the Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning.
Gianetta holds a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Massey University) and initially worked in production horticulture, including developing her own small orchard. She also has a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership (Massey).
Pouārahi, Executive Director Te Mana Tauira
Teina Mataira has more twenty five years’ experience in the polytechnic sector, having held roles in foundation education, teaching, lecturing, student support and education management at AUT, MIT and EIT (Tairawhiti). He has been a part of UCOL’s team for more than 15 years.
Key projects that Teina has been involved in include developing the Raukura Maori student support programme, Te Akakura (UCOL’s relationship based learning approach) and He Kakano Rua (a cultural competency framework for staff development). Teina has also visited and presented at a number of educational institutes in Australia, the United States and Taiwan.
Teina is a member of the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), Ako Aotearoa’s Maori Caucas (Te Runanga Maori) and helped establish the national forum of Maori Executive Directors (Te Tira Manukura).
Executive Director People & Capability
Dan Lester’s role involves leading the People & Safety agenda across all of UCOL’s campuses. He provides leadership across the employment relations, talent acquisition, remuneration and organisational development fields, with a key focus is on building internal organisational capability, competency and culture.
With almost 20 years’ experience in Human Resources Dan has held various senior leadership roles for large multinational and global companies across New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and South East Asia. Dan has a Bachelor of Business from Massey University, majoring in Human Resource Management and International Business Studies.
Campus Manager Whanganui
Bronwyn has a Bachelor of Applied Management majoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship awarded by Otago Polytechnic. Bronwyn is a successful businesswoman, event organiser and owner of an events venue, Heritage House.
Bronwyn’s extensive career in the security industry led to legislative change to introduce Home Detention Monitoring to New Zealand and Mandatory Industry Training for Security Guard Licensing. During this time Bronwyn was a member of Strategic Planning for Security Training’s development of Security Industry Unit Standards for NZQA and represented the security industry on the Selection and Performance Panel for Skills Organisation Board. She was also an International Outreach Board Member for CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association), which is based in the United States, developing worldwide monitoring station standards.
For more than 20 years Bronwyn chaired various industry and professional organisations through change management, including the Chamber of Commerce, NZ Security Association, and St John where she received a royal honour for services to the organisation.
Carrie joined UCOL after 25 years in the public service in both local and central government. She served 19 years in the NZ Police in Wellington and Wairarapa regions, holding senior roles such as Response Manager, Prevention Manager and Acting Area Commander. She also worked in leadership, management and command training capacities at the Royal NZ Police College where she led promotion courses and senior leadership courses, as well as exam preparation and moderation. Her last six years were spent in local government in Wairarapa where she was the Community Services and Facilities Manager, Chair of Youth 2 Work Wairarapa and on the steering group to create the Wairarapa Economic Development strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminology and Education from Victoria University.
Kaiwhakahaere Horowhenua Campus
Kua roa a Yvonne e kawe ana i ngā kaupapa hūhua mo tona hāpori, tōna hapu/iwi, tōna anō hoki whanau. He Poutokomanawa a Yvonne ki roto i ngā kaupapa ka whai waahi atu ia. Yvonne has strong networks in the Horowhenua together with 20+ years of experience and a proven track record as a key liaison person for the organisations she’s worked with.Before being selected as the Kaiwhakahaere (Horowhenua campus liaison), she was employed as the Transition Coordinator for the Horowhenua-Kapiti region. During this time, she’s played a key role in developing relationships with our local colleges and strengthening their partnership with UCOL. It was through her proactive approach and relationships that we saw Te Kura a Iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano send their students to undertake USKILLS courses for the first time in 2019.
Yvonne has always believed in increasing her knowledge and has over the years completed numerous educational qualifications including the Certificate in Small Business Management (Level 4), Certificate in Applied Business Growth (Level 5), Certificate in Money Management (Level 3), and Diploma in Youth Work (Level 6) to name a few.
Her involvement and relationships with local iwi has strengthen her knowledge and understanding to ensure that we continue to uphold the mana of Iwi and UCOL collectively. She is actively involved in a number of community sporting initiatives including organising multiple Muaupoko-Horowhenua basketball teams to compete at Māori Basketball Nationals. She’s even successfully developed Touch Rugby clubs in New Zealand as well as Australia.
Her ‘Let’s make it happen’ approach is among the key characteristics that contribute to the success of our Horowhenua presence.
Executive Dean-Health, Social Services & Appl Sciences
A life-long learner, Penny is a Registered General Obstetric Nurse with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, a Diploma in Tertiary Teaching (Stage One) and a Masters of Management. A member of Nursing Education in the Tertiary Sector NZ (NETS), Penny has held senior positions in education and management at MidCentral District Health Board and UCOL. These positions include management in hospital and community services at MidCentral District Health Board and Executive Dean at UCOL. Penny holds memberships in several voluntary groups, including Manawatū Cancer Society (Governance), Ozanam House Trust (Governance) and Soroptimist (Good for Women) International. Spending time with her large family is a significant feature of her life which means that she is always busy doing something!
Executive Dean Humanities & Business
Executive Dean Engineering & Applied Technologies