Our Board of Directors

At Otago Polytechnic, our vision is to be recognised nationally and internationally as New Zealand’s leading polytechnic.

Adam La Hood (Chair)

CA, BCom, DipGradAcctg, MINSTD

Adam is a Chartered Accountant with extensive financial experience both here in New Zealand and Overseas in a diverse range of industries including Construction, Mining, Hospitality, Insurance, Social Housing, and Financial Services. Along with the financial experience his executive and corporate background brings a skill set in strategy, risk management, health and safety, and internal controls. Adam also serves on the board of Dunedin Venues Management Limited and is the Chief Financial Officer for Cook Brothers Construction.

Being born and bred in Dunedin he is passionate about Dunedin being a great place to work and live and sees Otago Polytechnic as a key strategic asset for the city.

Mike Collins


Mike is the inaugural Chief Executive of Business South Inc. following the merger of the Otago Chamber of Commerce and the Otago Southland Employers Association, bringing together nearly 300 years of combined experience in the south.

Previously Mike was Executive Director People, Culture and Technology at the Southern District Health Board, the Director of the Learning Environment and the Director of Service Excellence at Otago Polytechnic with a passion for creating dynamic working environments.  Mike is also a Director of the Otago Polytechnic subsidiary of Te Pūkenga.

Mike brings a strong strategic focus and believes in promoting efficient and transparent communications, focusing on people at the centre of all decisions, the strength of partnerships and co-designing successful pathways for individuals, teams, organisations, and communities.  Mike shares a common purpose - how to add value to the business sector and wider community.

Paul Allison


Paul resides in Central Otago was appointed to the Otago Polytechnic Council in 2014. He has wide spread governance and business experience having served on boards within the health, retail, education, energy, sport and community funding sectors. He also has over 20 years’ leadership experience as Chief Executive of sector leading organisations. He is currently chairman of Infinite Energy Limited, is a director of Central Otago Health Services Limited, University Bookshop (Otago) and is also a member of The Lion Foundation South Island grants committee.

He also currently Chairs the Audit & Risk Committee. Paul has previously been a board member of Sport NZ and is a life trustee of the Halberg Foundation. He has an extensive background in communications and the media sector with over 30 years involvement as a television and radio broadcaster.

In 2015 Paul was recognised for his services to sport when he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.


Maryann Geddes

BCom, Dip.BS (Dispute Resolution) MINSTD

Maryann lives in Christchurch and worked in a senior management role in the tourism industry for 25 years, primarily in human resources, training and development, risk and compliance. Maryann has a Ministerial appointment to the Council of Te Pukenga and is a Director of Work Based Learning, SIT Invercargill, ARA Christchurch, Otago Polytechnic and ServiceIQ.

Other governance roles have included a Ministerial appointment to the Establishment Board of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, RNZRSA, Tourism Industry Association, Southland Otago Employers Association, Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation, and the Hospitality Standards Institute.

Justin Lester

LLB and BA (German), University of Otago, LLM, Heidelberg University

Justin has extensive government and private sector governance and management experience. Justin served as Mayor of Wellington and previously as Deputy Mayor. He now serves as the Board Chair of Weltec Whitireia, is a Board Member at Otago Polytechnic, Chair of Storbie, an Ambassador with Simplicity Kiwisaver and the Government Director at Dot Loves Data.

Justin has a Masters in Laws from Heidelberg University in Germany and conjoint Laws and Arts degrees from the University of Otago.

Karen Coutts


Karen Coutts is an independent governor having previously been a senior public servant. Her current governance roles include the New Zealand Parole Board, HSNO Committee EPA, Iwi Co-chair Otago Regional Skills Leadership Group, Chair Life Unlimited, FOMA Executive and  Director Transparency International NZ. Previous roles include Moeraki Representative-Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Executive Committee-Te Runanga o Moeraki, Hospital Advisory Committee-Capital and Coast DHB, Deputy Chair Wellink and Chair He Oranga Pounamu.

Her management roles have been in within government at the operational and policy management levels which included significant direct work with Ministers and Cabinet as part of her machinery of government experience. Her earlier career was in social services/health but laterly was in economic development including being an advisor at the Reserve Bank NZ.

She has had over-sight of large and diverse economic portfolios through her management and governance roles. Karen brings a skill set in Māori –particularly economic – development, strategy, data governance, regional infrastructure, needs of diverse populations and climate change mitigations within businesses. Her interest in ROVE stems from this opportunity to develop a workforce fit-for-purpose in a technology based 21st century global economy and the economic benefits that will come to NZ to be inclusive of all citizens.

Otago Polytechnic Board meetings

Notice of Meetings

Members of the public are entitled to attend board meetings subject to section 48 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA).  The meeting agenda and associated reports (if any) will be available at least two working days before the meeting on request by emailing ronda.mclaren@op.ac.nz 

Here are details of the meeting scheduled to be held next month. The list is updated every month (not more than 14 days and not less than 5 days before the end of every month as required under section 46(1) of LGOIMA.

Date Meeting Time

23 June 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Puna Kawa, Mason Centre, Otago Polytechnic


21 July 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Central Otago Campus, Cromwell


18 August 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board



22 September 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Puna Kawa, Mason Centre, Otago Polytechnic


20 October 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Puna Kawa, Mason Centre, Otago Polytechnic


17 November 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Puna Kawa, Mason Centre, Otago Polytechnic


15 December 2022

Otago Polytechnic Limited Board
Puna Kawa, Mason Centre, Otago Polytechnic


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