Transitional Leadership Team

Te Kāhui Manukura

Our interim leadership team continue to support our day-to-day mahi and maintains important relationships with our valued, local and regional stakeholders. This team will be in place as we transition into the broader Te Pūkenga structure over the coming months.

Meet the team

Chris Williamson

Executive Director

Chris is a proud staff member of Otago Polytechnic and has been here for 18 years. In that time, he's had multiple roles. His current role of Executive Director is exciting and he hopes to get the opportunity to work with all staff across the institution to continue with our excellent outcomes for learners. 

His initial qualification was in counselling and he's worked in this space for more than 25 years. 

He mainly grew up in Dunedin and gained his tertiary education at Otago University (three quals) and Otago Polytechnic (two quals). His two boys have left home and one is doing his Masters at Victoria University and the other just finished his Bachelor of Social Services here. His wife works at Otago University and they both believe education is an opportunity to create change. 

Chris is a member of: 

  • New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) 


  • University of Otago, Masters of Education, Endorsed in counselling with credit (1997) 
  • University of Otago, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, with credit (1994) (Education) 
  • University of Otago, Bachelor of Arts (1993) (Major in Education) 
  • Otago Polytechnic, Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching (2011, level 7) 
  • Otago Polytechnic, Certificate in Mata a Ao Māori (2012, level 4) 

Janine Kapa (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha)

Deputy Chief Executive, Māori Development / Kaitohutohu (currently seconded as the Kaikōkiri Te Pae Tawhiti in the Tiriti Outcomes Business Group)  

Janine has been passionately involved in Māori education for more than 30 years, both regionally and nationally.   

With a background in teaching, research, project management, communications, strategic development and senior leadership, Janine co-founded a bicultural communications consultancy in Wellington in 1999 and has worked across a number of central government agencies. After returning to Te Waipounamu in 2003, Janine worked for her iwi as the Ngāi Tahu Education Manager and has held several senior leadership roles at the University of Otago before joining the executive leadership team at Otago Polytechnic in 2017.  

Janine is currently involved in the following boards:  

  • Chair – A3 Kaitiaki Ltd.   
  • Chair – Araiteuru Kōkiri Training Centre   
  • Director – Takarangi Ltd. 


  • University of Otago, Bachelor of Education (1993)   
  • Dunedin Teachers' College, Diploma in Teaching 

Brayden Murray

Deputy Executive Director - Learner Experience 

Brayden has been at Otago Polytechnic for 10 years in roles ranging from Student Advisor, Team Leader, Director Learner Services and now Deputy Executive Director: Learner Experience. 

Brayden’s career in education has spanned teaching in Japan, working for the Ministry of Education, Ngai Tahu Development Corporation, Careers New Zealand and Otago Polytechnic. 

Brayden believes education can be a key to transforming the lives of ākonga, their whānau and communities. 

Brayden is also a member of: 

  • Moana House Charitable Trust Board 
  • Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy Consultative Body (Chair)


  • Dunedin College of Education, Diploma of Teaching 
  • University of Otago, Bachelor of Education (Major in Physical Education)

Mark Cartwright

Deputy Executive Director – Academic Delivery 

Mark has been at Otago Polytechnic for the past two years as the Head of College for Engineering, Construction and Living Sciences (ECL). Mark came to Otago Polytechnic after working for 10 years in the Construction Work-Based Learning sector with BCITO where he held various roles including the Southern Region Area Manager. He also spent a year setting up the New Dunedin Hospital Job and Skills hub as the General Manager for Workforce Central Dunedin. 

Mark is a strong advocate for life-long learning which is demonstrated by the various qualifications he has obtained since moving to New Zealand 20 years ago from North Wales, and he recently completed an Executive Master of Business with First Class Honours through Massey University. 


  • Massey University, Executive Master of Business Administration (First Class Honours) (2019 – 2022) 
  • Massey University, Certificate in Business (2019) 
  • Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (Ara), National Diploma in Business (2018) 
  • BCITO/Otago Polytechnic, National Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) (2015 -2018) 

Max Sims

Deputy Executive Director – Operations 

Max has had a relationship with Otago Polytechnic since 2017 having been a key member of the founding team at Te Pa Tauira – Student Village. During this time Max established a new community from its inception and guided it to become the successful home and hub it is today. In 2022 Max became a formal member of Otago Polytechnic as the Director of Accommodation.  

With a background in education Max is passionate about guiding our ākonga through their journey to success both personally and academically.  


  • Bachelor of Education Studies (2013) 
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching (2014) 

Shaun Tahau

Deputy Executive Director - Tiriti and Partnership 

Mai Maketu ki Tongariro 

Ko Tauhara te maunga 

Ko Taupō-nui-a-Tia te moana 

Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi 

Ko Ngāti Tūtemōhuta te hapū 

Ko Pakira te whare tīpuna 

Ko Te Rangitāhau te rangatira 

Ko Shaun Tāhau tōku ingoa 

Shaun has been working in tertiary education for almost 12 years. Prior to starting at Otago Polytechnic, Shaun worked at the University of Otago in the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit as a Kaiārahi. In this role, Shaun provided pastoral and academic support to young Māori leaders wanting to gain entry into the health professional programmes.  

Shaun began at Otago Polytechnic in 2014 where he started as a Liaison Advisor in Marketing and Communications. In 2018 Shaun moved into the Office of the Kaitohutohu where he advised on strategy and developed Otago Polytechnic’s Māori Language Strategy, the first of its kind in the tertiary sector. In 2021 Shaun moved roles and became the Tumuaki Whakawhanake: Director for Māori Capability where Shaun led out on Priority 2 of the Māori Strategic Framework (MSF).  

Shaun is dedicated to breaking down barriers for Māori in tertiary education, in particular his two sons, and will continue to do so in the role of Deputy Executive Director Tiriti and Partnership.  

Shaun is a member of: 

  • Institute of Directors New Zealand (MinstD)  


  • Otago Polytechnic, Master of Professional Practice with Distinction (2022) 
  • University of Otago, Bachelor of Arts (2011) (Major: Māori, Minor: Business Management)   

Rachael Jenkins

Deputy Executive Director – Engagement 

Rachael has occupied a range of roles during her 10+ years at Otago Polytechnic, all in the area of engagement. As Deputy Executive Director she has oversight of liaison activity, community sponsorships, events, marketing, external and internal communications, creative design, website, internationalisation, and our registry, enrolment and student management processes. 

Rachael is passionate about providing an exceptional experience for our prospective ākonga, influencers, stakeholders and connecting with our community, creating mutually beneficial relationships. 

Rachael is also a:

  • Board member at Kaikorai Primary School 


  • University of Otago, Bachelor of Arts  

Te Pūkenga

Te Tīma Arataki - Leadership Team

Our executive leadership team guide our mahi to realise the vision of Te Pūkenga - a new way of learning that recognises the value of all people, and enables everyone to realise their value. For the good of all Aotearoa New Zealand. For now and for generations to come.

Learn more about Te Pūkenga Te Tīma Arataki here

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