Tō Mātou Poari

Our Board

Ako Aotearoa’s governance board is a nine-person board, representing leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand’s fields of tertiary sector teaching and learning, research, and Māori education.

They guide our organisation, providing strategic leadership and performance monitoring.

AKO Staff Profiles graeme benny

Dr Graeme Benny

Board Chair

Board chair, Dr Graeme Benny, is the General Manager of the Health Group at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd.

He is a Massey University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and microbiology and a Master of Science (Hon) in biochemistry. In addition, Graeme has a doctorate in clinical biochemistry from Auckland University.

Graeme has enjoyed a global career, working for United States-based biotechnology company Invitrogen, a New Zealand-based animal pharmaceuticals and therapeutics supplier, Counties-Manukau District Health Board, Auckland District Health Board, Metlifecare, the New Zealand Blood Service and the New Zealand Defence Force.

More recently, Graeme was Chief Executive for Careers New Zealand and Director of Health Workforce New Zealand.

Ako board Jenny harre hindmarsh

Dr Jennie Harré Hindmarsh

Board member

Board member Dr Jennie Harré Hindmarsh is an independent consultant and part-time Ngāti Porou Hauora research coordinator focused on the fields of adult and community education; workplace and professional education; and research and evaluation.

Jennie is a graduate of Massey University, with a BA Hons (Education), as well as LSE University of London and Victoria University of Wellington graduate, where she achieved a MSc (Social Work) and a PhD (Education), Tohu Māoritanga.

Jennie has 40 years' experience in tertiary education, specialising in social services, health, culture and heritage.

Her former positions include 15 years as a university lecturer and ten years in national directorship positions, leading quality improvement strategies and providing oversight of in-service education and qualifications programmes.

Greg Durkin

Board member

Board member Greg Durkin is Group Manager, Stakeholder Engagement at the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).

Former Chief Executive of the Flooring ITO, Greg has served on a number of educational boards and advisory panels for organisations such as the Industry Training Federation, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Tertiary Education Commission and Ministry of Education.

Greg has a Diploma of Primary Teaching and bachelor's and master's degrees in education. His main research interests include the fields of cognitive psychology and experiential and workplace learning.

To date, his career has spanned the business, academic and not-for-profit sectors. He is an advocate for research into tertiary educational improvement and member of the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Awards Panel, a position he's held since 2008.

Ako board Peter stevens

Dr Peter Stevens

Board member

Board member Dr Peter Stevens is Chief Executive of GS1 New Zealand and sits on the GS1 Global Advisory Council.

Peter chairs both the Victoria University Business School board and the Hutt Valley High School board. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Hons), a PhD and a post-graduate diploma in marketing.

Before joining GS1, Peter worked in senior roles at KPMG Consulting, Standards New Zealand and Apple New Zealand. Previously, he was a senior lecturer in IT marketing at Victoria University of Wellington and adjunct professor in Information Systems and Computing at Unitec.

Peter is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (United Kingdom) and a professional member of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Marketing Association.

AKO Staff Profiles margaret taurere

Dr Margaret Taurere

Board member

Ngati Kuri / Ngati Porou / Te Aitanga a Hauiti

Board member Dr Margaret Merimeri Taurere was previously a lecturer at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and is presently a teacher/counsellor at Te Kura Taumata o Panguru.

Margaret has enjoyed a long career in education, teaching at both primary and secondary school levels and working in Māori student recruitment and retention and for the Equity Office at the University of Auckland.

She has a doctorate in education and a master’s degree in counselling. During her career, she has developed an interest in support for Māori students in secondary and tertiary education, as well as support for Māori staff in education.

Margaret helped establish the Tertiary Education Māori Liaison Network and has worked with Māori liaison colleagues to create collaborative models for Māori student recruitment. Margaret has held national positions with the Tertiary Education Union and the Tertiary Education Commission, representing Māori interests.

Ako board gabrielle wall

Dr Gabrielle Wall

Board member

Board member Dr Gabrielle Wall is a director of D&G Consulting Ltd, with a doctorate in psychology and a master's degree in applied psychology.

As director, she provides strategy, research and training services to the education and health sectors, with her research covering topics such as best practice governance, modern learning practices, critical thinking skills and culturally-responsive teaching and learning.

Gabrielle has helped the Ministry of Education develop guidelines on the relationship between property design and student learning outcomes. She is in a research partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tūāhuriri, looking at how to raise student achievement for Māori students by increasing the use of culturally-inclusive critical thinking skills.

Her background spans the farming, property development and forestry industries. She is a director of Te Namu Timber and an intern director with City Care.

AKO Staff Profiles Jacqui poutu

Jacqualene Poutu

Board member

Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Uepohatu, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Hine

Board member Jacqualene Poutu is passionate about ensuring that Māori have a clear pathway back to whānau, hapū and iwi with skills, knowledge and abilities to contribute to kaupapa going on at home.

She has a background in tertiary education working with Māori students, staff and whānau as well as contributing to policy and tertiary investment in government.

She is currently the deputy chair of the Ako Aotearoa Board, Māori Caucus Member and Tuia te Ako Committee Member. Currently, she is in the revitalisation community working for te reo Māori through policy at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission).   

AKO Staff Profiles Rawiri Taonui

Dr Rawiri Taonui

Board Member

Te Hikutū, Ngāti Pākau and Ngāti Korokoro; Te Kapotai, Te Uri-o-Rata and Ngāti Paeahi; Ngāti Rora; Ngāti Whēru; Ngāti Te Taonui.

Rawiri is an independent writer, researcher and advisor on Māori, Indigenous and Inter-cultural human rights. He was New Zealand’s first Professor of Indigenous Studies. Rawiri is a well-known political writer who has written over 400 newspaper and magazine articles and book chapters, winning seven writing awards.

Dr Taonui has presented at the UN Experts Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He is a member of the Tribunal to Investigate Claims of Genocide in El Salvador.

Dr Alison Kuiper

Board member

Board member Dr Alison Kuiper is an independent consultant and researcher, with a strong commitment to improving educational quality for learners and teachers.

She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Honorary Senior Principal Research Fellow of The University of Sydney, Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

She has served as a board member for the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Agency and the New Zealand National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women.

She has a bachelor's and master's degree (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, a doctorate from Lincoln University and a post graduate diploma from SFHEA.

Alison has held lecturing and management positions at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (now Ara Institute of Technology), Lincoln University and The University of Sydney.

Ako board jill mccutcheon

Dr Jill McCutcheon

Board member

Board member Dr Jill McCutcheon is the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor - College of Health, at Massey University.