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Waiariki CEO to lead Abu Dhabi University

Waiariki Institute of Technology Council
Media Statement
For immediate release
Friday, May 27 2006

Waiariki CEO to lead Abu Dhabi University

Waiariki Institute of Technology (Waiariki) CEO is the first ever polytechnic CEO to be appointed in the role of vice-chancellor at an international university. Waiariki’s Dr Reynold Macpherson has been appointed as Chancellor and CEO of Abu Dhabi University (ADU) in Dubai, the equivalent to a vice chancellor in an American style university. The Waiariki Council are celebrating his appointment and recognising the quality of his contribution.

“Dr Macpherson has been the CEO of Waiariki since early 2002 and his leadership has touched every aspect of life at Waiariki. Our Council and Te Mana Matauranga members wish him all the best with his new challenge in the Emirates,” said Deryck Shaw, Chair of Waiariki Council. “His leadership has helped Waiariki achieve a financial turn around and he has a list of notable achievements that he can be proud of”.

Some of these achievements include helping gain $5 M for a National Centre for Excellence for Wood Processing Education and Training (the Radi Centre), a $1 M upgrade of the Nursing and Health Studies building, the 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2003 attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark, fighting to retain the preventative policing programme for Maori youth – Mau Rakau, sponsoring the largest Moodle conference ever held, and gaining a major expansion of 5.1 EFTS for the Waiariki Iwi Regeneration Initiative in a challenging political climate.

“I will be forever grateful to the Waiariki rohe for the welcome and trust they showed in me, and all they have taught me,” said Dr Macpherson.. “For example, Waiariki Council and Te Mana Matauranga had developed innovative Treaty-compliant joint governance. I was able to assemble a brilliant team of senior managers. The culture of Waiariki is unique; staff are innovative and students enjoy the benefits of biculturalism in all aspects of campus life”.

After 30 years overseas, and five years at Auckland University, Dr Macpherson said he always felt at home in Rotorua and Waiariki, especially on Tangatarua, Waiariki’s marae. “Waiariki is creating professionals that will have the knowledge, skills and intercultural subtlety to succeed anywhere in the world. I am so proud of them and their tutors. It is critical that the new funding system coming recognises and funds Treaty commitments”.

“Dr Macpherson has played a major role in lifting management capability, developing stronger systems in school performance and providing greater levels of internal and external accountability” according to Mr Shaw. “The education environment has also experienced significant changes during recent years, including the formation of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the introduction of the Charter and Profiles which influenced the strategic planning, curriculum development and budgets, all in a highly political context at a national level”.

Gaining a deeper understanding of Muslim values and Arabian cultural norms in higher education are at the top of the list as Dr Macpherson prepares to start his new role in late July. “I’m going to help unify all staff, and focus capital works on the achievement of ADU’s vision. We need to build executive information and support systems that can manage accelerating demand, steepening growth and strong strategic investment. It will be a little different that Waiariki, but I believe that anyone who can run a New Zealand regional polytechnic at a surplus in the current policy and funding context is well prepared to run an international university,” said Dr Macpherson.

The Abu Dhabi University opened its doors in September 2003 to advance the social, educational, cultural and economic interests of the United Arab Emirates. It plans to build a world-class university on three sites in phases over the next 10 years. It will have 10,000 students, 650 faculty, 650 faculty support staff and 500 general support staff. The three campuses will also house knowledge sector enterprises such as training and continuing education, research, business incubation, hospital, kindergarten, primary and secondary schooling, staff housing and executive training.

“It is the second appointment of a New Zealander in recent times to university leadership overseas,” said Dr Macpherson. “I had the good fortune to watch John Hood turn Auckland University around. While I am not in the same class, other New Zealanders might now consider their international opportunities. I would also be happy to host Kiwis as they come through the Middle East, and ADU has some great jobs on offer at their web site”.

Waiariki has been well served by Dr Macpherson during his time at Waiariki and while he will be a loss, Council is confident that Waiariki has a vibrant future serving the needs of our region in the years ahead. Council has every confidence in the management team and it will be business as usual in the months ahead as Waiariki embarks on the appointment of a new CEO.


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