Otago Polytechnic

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Executive Leadership Team


Phil Ker
Chief Executive

Phil is a successful tertiary manager and teacher with expertise in curriculum development, assessment of student learning and leadership. He has had a lengthy teaching career including teaching economics, accounting, management and tertiary teaching practice; and has had a career-long interest in leadership and leadership development, and in the professional development of tertiary educators.

Phil is a member of the following Boards:

  • Director - TANZ (Tertiary Accord of New Zealand)
  • Director – Ako Aotearoa
  • Director – Malcam Trust


  • Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University, 2001
  • MEd (Administration) - First Class Honours, Massey University,1995 
  • Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Auckland, 1973 
  • Trained Teachers Diploma, Auckland College of Education, 1973


Jo Brady
Deputy Chief Executive: People, Performance and Development
Portfolios: People & Culture, Performance Improvement, External Relations, Communications and Marketing, Business Development, Sustainability 

Jo is an experienced leader with a broad experience base in the education sector with expertise in Business Development, Marketing, Communication, External Relations, Campus Development, Alumni and Philanthropy. Jo has held numerous Governance and Advisory Board roles, which most recently included Educate Plus and Signal. Jo’s past roles include Director: Alumni & Development at Lincoln University, Executive Director of the University Foundation, Business Development, Management, Marketing and Communications for The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Investment Management for TEC and Director of Development & Community Relations for St Margaret’s College. Jo is a Fellow of Educate Plus.

Jo is a member of:

  • Te Au Turoa Environment Strategy Governance Board
  • Otago Polytechnic Education Foundation
  • Dunedin Wildlife Hospital Trust
  • GradDip. Marketing
  • F.Edplus


Janine Kapa
Deputy Chief Executive: Māori Development/Kaitohutohu
Portfolios: Māori Student Success 

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:

  • Director – A3Kaitiaki Ltd
  • Director – Otago Youth Wellness Trust 
  • Director – Te Kupeka Umaka Māori ki Araiteuru (KUMA), the Southern Māori Business Network 
  • Director – Te Tapuae o Rehua


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


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


Philip Cullen
Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Operating Officer
Portfolios: Corporate Services, Business Services, Campus Services, Commercial Operations, Childcare, Capital Planning, Special Projects, Information Systems and Support

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 the Chair of City College and a member of the Synod Otago Grants Committee.


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



Oonagh McGirr
Deputy Chief Executive: Learning and Teaching Services 
Portfolios: Quality Services, Learning and Teaching Development, Internationalisation, Research and Postgraduate Studies, Secondary – Tertiary Provision, Professoriate.

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. Her field of research is higher education teacher identity in practice. An accomplished linguist, Oonagh is fluent in several languages. Oonagh is a 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