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Ako Aotearoa announces new Board Chair

18 October 2022

Strategic Leadership and Change

Ako Aotearoa and host organisation Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa are pleased to announce the appointment of Derek McCormack to the role of Chair of the Ako Aotearoa Board.

A new member to the Board, Derek was appointed to the position succeeding Dr Alison Kuiper, who had been Acting Chair since the start of this year.

“I am looking forward to contributing as Chair to the mahi of Ako Aotearoa, and I thank Alison for her leadership of the Board over the past nine months,” says Mr McCormack.

“Derek’s experience embraces the breadth and depth of the Tertiary Education sector in New Zealand, and he is passionate about supporting high-quality tertiary teaching,” says Host Organisation representative, Massey University Provost, Professor Giselle Byrnes, who confirmed the appointment.

Derek began his tertiary career as a Biochemistry teacher at Otago University and then Otago Polytechnic.  He then took on the role as national leader of Association of Staff in Tertiary Education, one of the two education unions that later combined to create the current Tertiary Education Union.  Moving then into education management, Derek became one of the architects of the transformation of Auckland Institute of Technology to Auckland University of Technology, becoming its Vice Chancellor in 2004. For the next 18 years, he led the advance of the new university into a major contributor of excellence and equity in higher education. 

Derek has served on numerous governance and advisory boards, often as Chair, from institutional Academic Boards and Councils to national bodies such as the Authority for Advanced Vocational Awards, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the Committee on University Academic Programmes, and Universities New Zealand, as well as various community and private education boards.  Derek’s governance experience also extends to the health, arts, and sport sectors at local and national levels.

“My team and I really welcome the rich experience Derek will bring to the role of Ako Aotearoa Board Chair,” says Helen Lomax, Tumuaki of Ako Aotearoa. “I also thank Alison for ably stepping in as Acting Chair after the resignation of former chair Dr Graeme Benny in late 2021 to relocate to the United Kingdom.”