Governance Group

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Dr Will Edwards - Chair

Dr Will Edwards is a Director of Taumata Associates, a Māori public health research and development consultancy based in South Taranaki. As the previous chair of Te Korowai o Ngāruahine, he led the Iwi Data Leadership Group for the National Iwi Chairs’ Forum representing 75 iwi.

Will serves on a number of boards including Te Korowai o Ngāruahine, Parinihi ki Waitotara Incorporation, Tuiora, and Taranaki Futures. He also serves on the boards of New Plymouth’s Te Kopae Piripono Māori immersion early childhood education centre, the Hāwera High School Board of Trustees, and Te Reo o Taranaki.  He is Chair of the Tangahoe Tribal Trust, is on the Health Research Council of New Zealand Māori Health Committee, and is a co-investigator on the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.

His PhD in Public Health focused on Māori Positive Ageing. Will descends from Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Tāngahoe, Pakakohi and Ngāti Ruanui iwi.

Professor Helen Nicholson

After graduating from the University of Bristol, Professor Helen Nicholson worked as a doctor in hospital and community settings before taking up an academic position in the Department of Anatomy at Bristol. She moved to the University of Otago in 2000 to become Professor of Anatomy and subsequently became head of the Department of Anatomy. In 2007 she was appointed Dean of the Otago School of Medical Sciences (now School of Biomedical Sciences), and in 2011 was the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) for six months.

Professor Nicholson was appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) in February 2014. In this role she was responsible for the strategic development of the University’s international profile involving recruiting and supporting international students; enriching the internationalisation of the curriculum; and fostering partnerships with some of the top universities in the world so that the University of Otago sustains its role as a leading teaching and research organisation in the international arena.

Professor Nicholson was appointed inaugural Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) in mid-2015, a role that focussed on strengthening external engagement, raising the profile of the University of Otago and attracting high quality domestic and international students to study at Otago. Helen was Acting Vice-Chancellor at the University of Otago from March 2021 to the end of January 2022 and is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Her current external appointments include membership of the Council of the National University of Samoa, the Governance Group of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge and the Executive of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists.

Dr David Schaaf

Dr David Schaaf has a Public Health background. He is currently working at Te Aho o te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency. Prior to that, he was at Counties Manukau Health DHB working as a Public Health Advisor and also managed the Pacific Workforce and Health Gain teams.

David was contracted in 2015 by the Ministry of Health to implement ‘Ala Mo’ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Well-being 2014 – 2018′, the Ministry’s strategic document for monitoring the Health Sectors performance on improving the health of Pacific people in New Zealand.

He moved from Auckland to Wellington in 2008 to work at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs as Principal Research Analyst before joining the Ministry of Health. Prior to this, David was a senior research fellow at the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland. His research interest has been on chronic disease prevention.


Adrienne von Tunzelmann

Adrienne von Tunzelmann has served on a variety of government and non-profit boards and charitable trusts, which has included the board of Pharmac, an interest she has continued as an appointed member of Pharmac’s Consumer Advisory Committee. Her other governance and community roles include the boards of Age Concern NZ (national Vice President) and Osteoporosis New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty DHB Consumer Council  and the Tauranga Community Housing Trust (Patron).

Following her 14 years serving on the Council of Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, she has taken up an appointment as the Council’s External Adviser. Past roles have included President of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, trustee of the University of Waikato Foundation and Bay of Plenty Community Trust and Chair of the NZ Women’s Refuge Foundation.

Her professional position as Principal Consultant with independent public policy specialist firm McKinlay Douglas Ltd follows a senior executive career in the public sector and in Parliament, with experience in government policymaking and legislation.

Adrienne holds Masters degrees in Economics (Canterbury) and Public Policy (Victoria) and is a Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors. She was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for her services to governance and the community in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Glenis Philip-Barbara

Glenis Philip-Barbara (Ngāti Porou Ngāti Uepōhatu Clan McDonald) has a lifelong interest in the sustainability of Māori knowledge systems and practices, especially te reo Māori, and has worked in the public service for thirty years in a range of leadership roles spanning education, research, language revitalisation, and child welfare.

She Chairs Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival Board and serves on the Board of SuperGrans Tairāwhiti, Tōnui, and Tairāwhiti Museum.  She is also a member of the Veterans Affairs Board.

She was appointed inaugural Assistant Māori Commissioner for Children in November 2020 at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Glenis is a certified Executive Coach, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology & Māori Studies, a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Supervision and a Master’s Degree in Professional Creative Practice.

Professor Les Oxley

Professor Les Oxley is Professor in Economics, University of Waikato; Adjunct Professor, Curtin University; Affiliate at Motu; Research Associate, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA); and Research Affiliate, Centre for Economic History (CEH), Australian National University (ANU).

He is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) and his research interests include time series econometrics; economic history; the economics of innovation; health economics; energy economics; environmental economics and economic well-being. He was Chair of the Business and Economics Panel of the 2018 PBRF research assessment exercise.

He is Co-Editor in Chief and joint Founding Editor of the Journal of Economic Surveys and a Board Member of the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (NZIER). He has published on a wide range of topics and won six Marsden Funded research projects.

Rauru Kirikiri

Rauru Kirikiri is of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent and is a fluent speaker and writer of te reo Māori. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Auckland in 1970.

His early career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Māori Affairs from 1973 through 1989 was followed by 13 years as Treaty Responsibilities Manager at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. This position was groundbreaking in heralding a concerted move towards more meaningful Māori engagement in science research. At the time Rauru was closely involved in setting Government guidelines and practices for the inclusion of greater Māori focused intervention in science funding. In 2004 and 2005, he was co-opted to the Royal Society Te Apārangi as an advisor on Māori issues.

The following year, he set up his consultancy in Wellington, focussing on Te Ao Māori environmental management issues, economic development, and education. His subsequent journey included membership of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the Board of the Allan Wilson Centre for Evolutionary Biology and as a trustee of the World Wildlife Fund. Currently, Rauru is on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago and the Council of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne.

Rauru is a qualified and very active Resource Consent Commissioner, and in 2020 was appointed as a Companion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.