Megan Pōtiki takes leadership role at Te Pūkenga

May 26, 2023

Kāi Tahu academic Megan Pōtiki has been appointed regional co-lead for Te Pūkenga’s Region 4, which spans the Kāi Tahu takiwā.

Te Pūkenga is the new education provider, which merged 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and 11 transitional industry training organisations. It is required to operate in a way that allows it to develop meaningful partnerships with Māori employers and communities and to reflect Māori-Crown partnerships.

Megan Pōtiki (nee Ellison), who hails from Ōtākou and is of Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Waitaha descent, is excited by the role and acknowledges the Kāi Tahu representatives that were involved in and supported the appointment process.

“I am deeply honored and excited to take on this role,” said Megan Pōtiki.

“I’m an Otago girl. My bones are on the land here. I’m passionate about our region and I think there’s a uniqueness to each region that needs to be really considered. Kai te hikaka katoa ahau kia mahi tahi me tōku iwi kia eke whakamua tātou mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.”

Megan Pōtiki says her focus is ensuring vocational education is relevant and accessible for all people in New Zealand but particularly, Te Waipounamu.

Before this appointment, Megan was Manukura Tuarua – Mana Taurite (Deputy Chief Executive, Partnership and Equity) at Otago Polytechnic. She holds several governance roles, including at the Dunedin City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

To go with that leadership experience, Megan brings strong academic credentials to the new role. She has taught in various institutions, including Queens High School, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (prior to it merging with Aoraki to become Ara), and both Canterbury and Otago universities.

Her research interests include the historical demise of te reo Māori at Ōtākou, traditional mōteatea and new waiata composition, takiauē (death and māori customs pertaining to the dead), and the written Māori archives that focus on Kāi Tahu.

She will co-lead with Darren Mitchell (Ngāti Kahungunu), who has 22 years of leadership experience at Ara Institute of Canterbury.

“I am excited to work with Darren and learn from his breadth of skills. I know we will complement each other well. I am particularly excited about leading and working with kaimahi and ākonga within our region.

Te Pūkenga Pourangi Ako Gus Gilmore says the co-leads in each of the organisation’s four operational regions will be instrumental in nurturing the partnership between Māori and Te Pūkenga.

“Together each pair will lead their region’s kaimahi to transform the way vocational education and training is delivered. They will build partnerships with hapū, iwi, employers, local communities and stakeholders, including Regional Skills Leadership Groups.”

An appropriate name for Region 4 will be considered with the iwi in due course.