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College Director Appointment Announced

24 January 2018

College Director Appointment Announced

The Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development has announced the appointment of Dr Cheryl Stephens to the position of College Director.

College Chairman, John Heremia, said Dr Stephens was appointed following a robust and comprehensive recruitment process which had attracted a range of high quality domestic and international applicants.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Stephens. She is a career educationalist whose academic record and achievements, research background, senior leadership experience, and community contribution made her a stand-out candidate,” said Mr Heremia.

“She brings those qualities together with a life-long commitment and contribution to iwi development through education at both the national and international levels, including through her work as Education Commissioner for the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.”

Dr Stephens said the appointment was the highlight of a career dedicated to education, academic leadership and research. She spent 15 years at Te Whare Waananga o Awanuiaarangi in senior executive roles which included Deputy CEO, Executive Dean Academic, and Academic Registrar, four years as Director for the National Institute of Maaori Education, and three years leading her own consultancy Te Horomai Consulting Ltd, specialising in the professional development of teachers with Ngaa Puumanawa e Waru Education Trust and adult educators in the tertiary sector.

Her governance roles have included Teach First NZ, the NZ Council for Educational Research, and the Ministry of Education’s Maaori Research Advisory Group. She has also held several NZQA and NZTC accreditation advisory roles and her book, Diversity in Community – Indigenous Scholars Writing (co-authored with Dr Mere Keepa), was a finalist in the 2017 Ngaa Kupu Ora Awards.

“I trained as a teacher at Waikato University back when Sir Robert Mahuta was based at its Centre for Maaori Studies. I saw the goals, vision and foresight to achieve mana motuhake that he and the iwi had and I believe that I now have a contribution to make to support that within the framework of education,” said Dr Stephens.

“I see opportunities for the College to fulfil its role to lead and deliver the tribe’s action research agenda, to develop more exceptional and relevant leadership programmes, work with international indigenous communities for mutual learning and development opportunities, to take the next step up from its MBA programme to develop a doctoral programme, and to access education and research funding opportunities,” she said.

For Dr Stephens, who is Te Arawa and Taranaki, this appointment represented an exciting new career opportunity for her whaanau and an opportunity to “give back”. Her husband, Blake Stephens, affiliates to Paarawera Marae (Ngaati Korokii, Ngaati Hauaa) and their children have benefited from tribal grants to fund their tertiary education.

“I am humbled to take up this position and look forward to honouring the vision and aspirations for the College which are founded in the legacy of the Raupatu settlement and in the dreams that both Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and Sir Robert held for it.”

Mr Heremia acknowledged and thanked Tuti Cooper who had served as Acting College Director since April 2017 following the departure of Academic Director Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai.

Dr Stephens will commence her new role on Monday 12 February 2018.


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