NorthTec appoints new Director – Māori Success and Equity

17 December 2021

NorthTec appoints new Director – Māori Success and Equity

NorthTec has appointed Whangārei-born Kelly-Anne Panapa (Te Uri o Hau and Ngāti Whātua) as its new Director – Māori Success and Equity.

Kelly-Anne, who was welcomed with a pōwhiri at Te Puna o Te Mātaraunga Marae this week, trained as a teacher and has a strong background in the tertiary education sector.

She comes to NorthTec after 14 years in the polytechnic sector having worked at Unitec in Auckland, Toi Ohomai in the Bay of Plenty and recently with Te Pūkenga turning soil in preparation for planting in the Learner Journey and Experience workstream. 

Kelly-Anne said she is thrilled about her new role at NorthTec and moving back to Te Tai Tokerau. “I share the vision of most people in the region, to see Te Tai Tokerau flourishing! For everyone to flourish, we need to see Māori determining their own futures and thriving. My personal contribution and mission in this role is to see Māori enjoying educational success as Māori at NorthTec and throughout the region. There are lots of systemic breakdowns in the education system that contribute to inequities. That is where my work will start.”

Describing herself as a “natural educational systems thinker”, she added: “I look for the unnecessary barriers in the system and try to do my best to remove the barriers.”

Kelly-Anne was born and raised in Whangārei until she moved to Auckland with her whānau in her teens. She has wanted to return home to the North for some time, and was delighted to be appointed to this role.

She said: “I am a sucker for an audacious vision – that is what motivates, inspires and drives me. It has been in my plans to return home, and I always look for that in any opportunities. That is definitely what I’ve seen in what NorthTec is weaving together for the learners that will be the future of this region.

“I’m also really driven and excited by strong values-based leadership and that’s definitely what I’ve observed at NorthTec.”

Toa Faneva, Te Ahurei Chief Executive, welcomed Kelly-Anne to the NorthTec whānau. He said: “Kelly-Anne’s skills and experience in developing Māori educational success will be critical as we move forward as part of Te Pūkenga. Her appointment is timely and will assist NorthTec to make the changes needed to boost the achievements of our Māori learners.”


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