Te Pūkenga ex-deputy CEO appointed to university role

The University of Otago has appointed Dr Megan Gibbons as its new health sciences pro-vice...
The University of Otago has appointed Dr Megan Gibbons as its new health sciences pro-vice-chancellor. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Following the downfall of Te Pūkenga New Zealand, former deputy chief executive Megan Gibbons has popped back into the education fold relatively quickly.

She has been named as the University of Otago’s new health sciences pro-vice-chancellor.

Dr Gibbons has a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Auckland, and was formerly the executive director of Otago Polytechnic before she left the role in December 2022, to become Te Pūkenga’s deputy chief executive, responsible for the organisation’s research structure and strategy.

Dr Gibbons said she was excited about taking on the challenges of heading the largest academic division of New Zealand’s oldest university.

"I have a passion for education and health, and this role allows me to bring both together at a time where there are challenges in both areas.

"I will be working to ensure the division is future-focused and Te Tiriti-led, enabling us to build on our reputation and ranking."

The Division of Health Sciences incorporates the Faculty of Dentistry, Otago Medical School (in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington), School of Pharmacy, School of Physiotherapy, School of Biomedical Sciences, and the divisional office.

"I am looking to work with all of our campuses to ensure consistency and collaboration are a focus, while building our profile and accessibility to the communities and industries we are part of," she said.

"This will include maintaining and developing relationships with mana whenua to ensure that their expectations and aspirations are part of our future.

"There is also a very important role in advocacy and agency to ensure that our research findings are informing policy, practice and providing expert opinions nationally and internationally."

Her appointment comes after major changes in the University of Otago’s senior leadership team.

Prof Helen Nicholson said Dr Gibbons had a wealth of experience and expertise in the tertiary and health sectors.

"We know Otago will benefit from this knowledge as we implement and embed the recommendations from the current structural review of the Division of Health Sciences, along with continuing our work towards Vision 2040 and our strategic plan to 2030, Pae Tata."

Dr Gibbons will start in the role on April 29.