Otago Polytechnic

Our staff

Our friendly community of Māori support staff are here to help you have a great OP experience. Find out about our team. For general enquiries please contact our administrator, Kylie Hohaia: kylieh@op.ac.nz


Rebecca Swindells
Taranaki, Ngāti Tama and Tainui


“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no doubt if you are thinking it, so are others. You have the ability to be anything you want to be!”

Rebecca’s role on campus is Kaitautoko: Māori student support. She is also a qualified Budget Advisor and supports our tauira with scholarship applications, iwi registrations, financial support and advice, programme support and academic support – and everything in between!

Prior to taking on this role Rebecca was heavily involved in the world of student politics and student unions. She studied here at Otago Polytechnic and was the OPSA student president for 3 years.

She loves that every day is different in her role. Most days involve spending some time in Poho – the Māori student space – where she supports students through their studies. The highlights of her job are watching students reach their potential, seeing them complete their qualification and helping them when they are in need. 



Rebecca Williams
Whangai, whose dad is Kai Tahu, Puketeraki.


“Go for it – education changes lives and the environment here at OP is really supportive.”

Rebecca is the Tumuaki of Te Punaka Ōwheo. Her role is to ensure that the centre fulfils its objective: 'To have Māori participate and succeed at all levels of learning'. Day to day this can mean anything and everything from working alongside students to ensuring financial targets are met. 

Originally from Waikouaiti, Rebecca spent a lot of time at Huirapa Marae in Karitane growing up. She was OPSA president in 1994 and 1995 and the Aotearoa Polytechnic Students’ Union’s president in 1996 and 1997. Previously, she held roles as Manager of the Dunedin Community College and as the Events and Community Development Manager at the Dunedin City Council.

Rebecca loves making a difference to Māori students. She enjoys working at Otago Polytechnic, where she has a real opportunity to change lives.



Chris Roy


Its all about whanaungatanga.” Chris is Kaitautoko at Te Punaka Ōwheo. He came on-board in January 2017 to cover for Rebecca Swindells when she went on maternity leave. Chris will do anything within his means to help, support and assist tauira/learners during their time at Otago Polytechnic. 

A painter by trade, Chris has a huge amount of experience in the Social Services and has many connections around the country that he uses in his day to day mahi. Chris loves hunting, diving and the outdoors. He is also a mean cook and you may be lucky enough to sample his kai at our Wednesday lunches in Poho. Chris loves his job and being able to help learners reach their fullest potential.



Kylie Hohaia
Taranaki, Ngāti Tama and Tainui


Kylie is Te Punaka Ōwheo’s administrator. She came on board in November 2016, also as cover for Rebecca Swindells’ maternity leave.  Kylie is one of Otago Polytechnic’s success stories. She graduated in the Certificate in Foundation Studies Level 2 in 2014, before moving on to Business Administration and Computing Levels 3 and 4 in 2015. Kylie is mum to Wyatt and Belle and also works part time at the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association. Kylie loves meeting and getting to know the students and enjoys the variety that position has to offer. Kylie works 10 hours a week at Te Punaka Ōwheo.