Otago University appoints new chancellor

Trish Oakley. Photo: Otago University
Trish Oakley. Photo: Otago University
The University of Otago has named the replacement for outgoing chancellor Stephen Higgs.

The new chancellor is Forsyth Barr executive Trish Oakley who is stepping up to the top role after two years as Mr Higgs' deputy.

Ms Oakley, who starts on October 1, has served as a University Council member since 2018 and pro-chancellor since 2022.

“I am grateful to the people I share the council table with for their ongoing contribution and look forward to continuing to work with them and our vice-chancellor on our strategy,” she said.

The university has been going through changes in leadership with Grant Roberston set to become vice-chancellor on July 1.

Mr Higgs will retire from the University Council on September 30, at the end of his 12-year constitutional maximum term. 

Invercargill chartered accountant Ross Jackson has been appointed by the government to fill Mr Higgs' vacant seat on council.

As chancellor, Ms Oakley will chair the University Council and also has a ceremonial role, conferring degrees and awarding diplomas at graduation ceremonies.