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Executive Leadership Team

Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Portfolios: Regional Centre of Expertise Otago

Megan is a successful educator who won the Ako Aotearoa National Award in Excellence in Tertiary Teaching in 2016. Prior to her current role she was the Deputy Chief Executive for People and Performance. Megan has expertise in academic leadership, with strengths in curriculum development and leadership development. She completed the Educational Leadership Programme at Harvard University in 2019. She is a New Zealand Athletics coach, and well recognised within Otago Sport. She is a judge for the annual Otago Sports Awards.

Megan is a member of the following Boards:

  • Athletics Otago
  • Otago Boys High School
  • Wildlife Hospital
  • Open Education Foundation
  • TANZ eCampus


  • Ph.D. (Biomedical Sciences), The University of Auckland, 2014
  • GCTLT, Otago Polytechnic, 2009
  • M.Sc. (1st class Hons) (Nutrtitional Science), Massey University, 2003
  • PG.Dip.Diet. (Distinc), The University of Otago, 1996
  • B.App.S (Human Nutrition), The University of Otago, 1994


Philip Cullen

Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Operating Officer

Portfolios: Corporate Services, Campus Services, Te Pā Tauira, Capital Planning, Special Projects, Information Systems and Support, Performance Excellence, Marketing, Sales and Communications

Philip is an experienced leader in financial and business management. Prior to joining Otago Polytechnic Philip worked at The Ministry of Agriculture, the University of Otago and Presbyterian Support. 

Philip is a member of, or advisor to, the following Boards:

  • Otago Polytechnic Auckland International Campus (OPAIC) 
  • Education Foundation 
  • Open Education Resource universitas (OERu)
  • Future Skills
  • I Am Capable 


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Otago
  • Bachelor of Commerce, University of Otago


Janine Kapa

Deputy Chief Executive: Māori Development/Kaitohutohu
Portfolios: Māori Student Success. People & Culture

Janine has been passionately involved in Māori education for over 25 years; in the compulsory and tertiary sectors, from the classroom to the board room, both regionally and nationally. With a background also in social research, project management, communications and strategic development, Janine co-founded a bicultural communications consultancy in Wellington in 1999 and from then until 2003 worked in a number of central Government agencies, e.g.: ETSA (now the TEC), the Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kōkiri and NZQA. On returning to Te Waipounamu (the South Island) in 2003, Janine has worked for her iwi as the Ngāi Tahu Education Manager (2003-2005), and more recently, held leadership roles at the University of Otago (2007-2017), firstly as Acting Director then Deputy Director of Māori Development, and more latterly, as the Associate Dean Māori in the Otago Business School.

Janine is a member of the following Boards:

  • Chair – A3 Kaitiaki Ltd 
  • Chair – Kōkiri Training Centre 
  • Otago Youth Wellness Trust
  • KUMA (Southern Māori Business Network)
  • Janine is also the Otago Polytechnic representative on the Grow Dunedin Partnership Steering Group


  • Bachelor of Education, University of Otago, 1993 
  • Diploma in Teaching, Dunedin Teachers’ College, 1992


Oonagh McGirr

Deputy Chief Executive: Learning and Teaching Services 
Portfolios: Global Engagement, Education for Sustainability, Learning and Teaching Development, Research and Postgraduate Studies, Open Education Resource universitas, Professoriate, Worked-based Learning (CapableNZ and EduBits)

Oonagh is an experienced leader in pedagogy for higher education. She has experience in learning and teaching in an international setting across several disciplines and in undergraduate and postgraduate education. A research-active academic, Oonagh is well-informed in matters of pedagogic innovation – notably assessment, teaching methodologies, quality enhancement, widening participation, professional development, employability and e-learning, sustainability and diversity for higher education. Oonagh has led academic staff capability building in a variety of higher education institutions, and her field of research is higher education teacher identity in practice, and academic leadership practice. An accomplished linguist, Oonagh is fluent in several languages. In 2018 Oonagh completed Leadership Training at CICAN Leadership Institute, Quebec.

Oonagh is a member of the following Boards / organisations:

  • Director – Malcam Trust
  • Director – Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust
  • Director – Trelic Education Services
  • Director – Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) Working Group
  • Director – Open Education Foundation
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts


  • Master’s Degree in Higher Education, London South Bank University, 2011
  • Diploma Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching, University of Cambridge, 1998
  • Certificate of Language Teaching to Adults, University of Cambridge, 1996
  • BA Hons Modern Languages, University of the West of England, 1990


Chris Morland

Deputy Chief Executive: Learner Experience
Portfolios: Learner Services, Schools and Colleges

Chris is a successful tertiary sector leader with expertise leading others in curriculum development, learning support and facility development and management. He has had lengthy leadership roles at a senior level and has a career-long interest in inclusive and accessible tertiary education for all. 

Chris is a member of the following Board:

  • Director – SIGNAL (South Island ICT Graduate School)


  • Tutor Training Certificate, Christchurch Polytechnic, 1991
  • Master of Education, University of Western Australia, 1981
  • Master of Physical Education, University of Western Australia, 1980
  • Diploma in Teaching, Christchurch Teachers College, 1976
  • Diploma Physical Education, University of Otago, 1975


Lauren Warren

Laura Warren

Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture and Safety
Portfolios: People and culture, safety and wellbeing 

Laura has considerable expertise in Human Resources, particularly in tertiary education environments. She worked in HR management roles at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (2008-2015), and the University of Otago (2016-2019) before joining Otago Polytechnic in 2019 as Director People and Culture. Laura has particular expertise in change and transition management, employment relations, and leadership coaching and support.

Laura is a member of the following Boards and committees:

  • Otago Branch President, Human Resources Institute of New Zealand
  • Intern Director, Delta

Laura has the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology), University of Otago, 2006 
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Management), University of Otago, 2006