Otago Polytechnic

Council members


  Kathy Grant (Chair)
Ministerial Appointment

Kathy Grant was appointed by the Minister of Tertiary Education to chair the Council from 1 May 2010, having previously been a member of the University of Otago Council and chair of the Council of the Dunedin College of Education. Kathy is also a director of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, deputy chair of Sport Otago and a Board member of the Dunedin Sinfonia.  In 2015, the Minister of Health appointed Kathy as Commissioner of Southern District Health Board following the disestablishment of the Board.  Her “day job” is as a solicitor in the legal practice of Gallaway Cook Allan. Kathy is an Otago person, born and bred and has lived in Dunedin since the 1970’s when she was a University student. When not at work, she enjoys the challenge of rural living.

  Gillian Bremner (Deputy Chair)
Ministerial Appointment

Gillian Bremner is the Chief Executive of Presbyterian Support Otago. She is currently a director of Cosy Homes, Habitat for Humanity and Just Housing, and has previously served on the Council of the College of Education prior to its merger with the University. She is a member of the Institute of Directors. Gillian has worked as a registered nurse and midwife and subsequently health management roles prior to her role at Presbyterian Support and appreciates the important education role the Otago Polytechnic plays in the health workforce. Gillian sits on the Finance and Audit Committee of the Polytechnic Council as well as the Council representative on the Student Subcommittee. Gillian is married with one son and enjoys the great outdoors that Otago offers with a railway cottage (previously the Train Inspector’s house!) right on the rail trail in Ranfurly.

  John Christie
Ministerial Appointment

John Christie is currently the Director of Enterprise Dunedin which looks after the marketing, branding and economic development of Dunedin City. Prior to taking up the role with Dunedin City Council, John was Chief Executive of the Otago Chamber of Commerce. He has held governance roles in a number of organisations including New Zealand Chambers of Commerce, Warbirds over Wanaka Ltd, Southern Health Services Ltd, BIZ Networks Ltd, 4Trades Apprenticeship Trust, Southern PHO Community Advisory Board and the Dunedin Shanghai Gardens Trust. John is married to Teresa and has three children. 

  Mike Horne
Ministerial appointment

Mike Horne is the Office Managing Partner for Deloitte in Dunedin. He has a strong governance background in both direct Board roles and as an advisor to a wide range of organisations. These organisations span many different industries, disciplines and life-cycles. Mike is passionate and proud of the Otago region and gives significant time to various community and economic initiatives aimed at boosting the future prospects of the region. He is married with two boys and enjoys all sports, and getting into the outdoors.

  Paul Allison
Council Appointment

Paul was appointed to the Council in August 2013.
He resides in Central Otago and is Chief Executive of Central Lakes Trust. Paul was previously Chief Executive of Sport Otago from 1993 until 2007. His current governance roles include being a Board member of Sport NZ, Regional Chair of Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and a Trustee of the NZ Winter Games.
Paul also has an extensive background in the sport sector and the media with over 20 years involvement in radio and television broadcasting. He has called many famous sporting events from the commentary box and has been an international television commentator at Commonwealth and Olympics Games. He represented New Zealand in the marathon during the 1980’s and 1990’s and won the Pacific Rim Marathon title in Long Beach, California in 1993.

  David Higgins
Council Appointment

David was appointed to the Council in 2014 and is a graduate of Otago Polytechnic, graduating from the past School of Maritime Studies. He grew up in Moeraki, where he spent his early adult years as a commercial fisherman, prior to moving to Christchurch to establish Ngai Tahu Fisheries Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Te Runanga or Ngai Tahu. After 20 years in Christchurch David returned home to Moeraki where he continues his role as Upoko Runaka. David is the current Moeraki representative on the Tribal Council of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. He is the representative of the four Arai Te Uru Runaka on the Otago Polytechnic Council and Chair of the Komiti Kawanataka.

  Dr Peter Coolbear
Council appointment

Peter is the director of Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. He took up this role in July 2007, having previously been deputy chief executive at Manukau Institute of Technology. Peter has a background as a teacher and researcher in plant science, and has considerable experience working with international students. From the mid-90’s he held a series of management positions in the NZ polytechnic sector and in government. He has previously served on the Council of Otago Polytechnic, the City of Manukau Education Trust, the Board of ITPQ and was a member of the New Zealand’s national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards selection panel for several years. He is presently chair of NZCER (the New Zealand Council for Educational Research), a Council member of Tai Poutini Polytechnic and a member of the Adult and Community Education Professional Development Steering Group. His outside interests include art, antiques, grandchildren and soccer (not necessarily in that order).

  Darren Evans
Council Appointment

Darren is the Chief Operating Officer of Calder Stewart Group. Calder Stewart are a large national Construction and Property Development business based in Milton in South Otago. At Calder Stewart, Darren is responsible for Strategy, People & Safety, Information Technology and Finance. Prior to joining Calder Stewart, Darren was a Partner in a Chartered Accountancy Practice, specializing in external assurance, internal audit, corporate finance and business turnaround consulting. Outside of work Darren splits his time between Macandrew Bay and Lake Hawea, exploring the great outdoor life Otago has to offer with his wife and two young boys.