The Dean’s Office is the managerial and administrative hub of the University of Otago Business School and the Division of Commerce. On this page you'll find brief profiles and contact details for:
Reception / general enquiries
Ground Level, Commerce Building
Cnr Clyde St and Union Pl East
PO Box 56
Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce)
Following 20 years at the Dunedin School of Medicine Robin joined the Otago Business School in December 2016 as the School's Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, after a long relationship with the School through joint research projects and working on various boards and committees.
Robin is Co-Director of the Centre for Health Systems and Technology (CHeST)—that spans the Business School and the Division of Health Sciences at Otago.
He was a Senior Fellow at the Boston University Health Policy Institute from 2009–2013, and a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in 2008–2009, working with colleagues from Boston University and Harvard University. In 2014, he was NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Past positions include lecturing and research posts at the University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong, and teaching at the University of Texas and Harvard University.
Robin has authored over 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and several books and chapters. His current research interests include: comparative health policy, health system and quality improvement, clinical governance, primary care, population based health funding formulas, and health information technology.
Robin is the elected President of the 140-member Association of Asia-Pacific Business Schools (AAPBS) for 2020-2022.
Associate Dean – Pacific (part-time)
Esmay is the Associate Dean – Pacific, appointed to the Division of Commerce in December 2017. Her role is to provide leadership and strategic advice in the Business School on all matters relating to the University’s Pacific Strategic Framework 2013–2020. She is based in the Dean’s Office and is currently the only Pacific staff member employed in the Business School.
Esmay is also is responsible for supporting all Pacific students in the Division, she has experience teaching as a Professional Practice Fellow at the University College of Education responsible for coordinating and teaching Pacific content. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Ako Aotearoa Pacific Professional Development Fund Award and is a member on the Ako Aotearoa Pacific Peoples’ Caucus.
Associate Dean – Academic (part-time)
Richard leads teaching and learning activities in the Business School, with a particular focus on undergraduate. He is involved in oversight of the regulations for papers and degrees and involved in the academic boards in the Business School and the University. He has an input into the student facing services the Business School and University offer.
Richard belongs to the Department of Management. He is a Chartered Manufacturing Engineer and has held several technical and managerial positions within Aerospace manufacture. After spending more than thirteen years in the UK Aerospace industry, Richard moved to academia.
Associate Dean – Postgraduate Research
Associate Professor Lisa McNeill is responsible for the oversight of the Business School’s Postgraduate research programmes. She supervises the admission of students into the postgraduate programmes and leads initiatives involving postgraduate programmes, including curricula, recruiting and student relations.
Lisa teaches Innovation & New Product development, and Advanced Research Methods in the Department of Marketing, and her research focuses on sustainability in consumer behaviour, innovation and brand development, retail atmospherics and consumer decision making.
Associate Dean – Research (part-time)
Kirsten leads the Business School’s research committee; liaises with staff to support and to encourage new research initiatives; and represents the Business School in the wider University (and beyond).
Kirsten teachers Societal Issues in Marketing and Consumer behaviour in the Department of Marketing. Her research explores the influence of marketing on well-being, in particular, that of vulnerable individuals; it raises ethical and regulatory concerns and stresses the need for businesses to be proactive in protecting individuals who lack agency.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to research policy.
Dr Rafaela Costa Camoes Rabello
Research Fellow (from August 2019-June 2024; on parental leave until October 2021)
Rafaela is currently part of a team of social science researchers – the Building New Zealand’s Innovation Capacity team (BNZIC) within the Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI), Science National Challenge. Within SfTI Rafaela supports research around human and relational capacities to use physical sciences and engineering for economic growth.
Rafaela holds a PhD in Social Investment in the oil and gas sector and a Master’s degree in Education, awarded by the University of Otago, New Zealand. Rafaela also holds a BA in Psychology from the University Center of Brasilia, Brazil. Rafaela has worked within the fields of corporate social responsibility – in the oil and gas sector in the Amazon (Brazil) – and education for more than 10 years. She has published in the areas of: corporate social responsibility; social investment in the oil and gas sector; higher education; and social science in the science and innovation sector.
Dr Jin Yi (Louisa) Choe
Associate Dean – Māori. Manutaki Tuarua – Māori
Katharina started in the Dean's Office in April 2017 with a focus on providing leadership and strategic advice to the Business School in all matters relating to the University’s Māori Strategic Framework.
Katharina joined the University in 2008 after five years with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as education manager and project consultant. Prior to that she had been in the teaching profession in management roles. Dr Ruckstuhl has Honours and PhD degrees through Otago’s English Department and post-graduate qualifications in Education through Massey University.
As a Senior Research Fellow, Dr Ruckstuhl is leading a number of research projects, including in the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge. She is the Vision Mātauranga leader of the Challenge and co-leads the Building New Zealand’s Innovation portfolio. Her broader research focuses on innovation and Māori business, resource extraction, energy transition and Māori policy.
Associate Dean – International
Associate Professor Leah Watkins is responsible for developing the internationalisation strategy for the Otago Business School. In liaison with DVC External Engagement and the International Office, this role includes oversight of the student exchange programme, as well as other international initiatives that build the international focus of students and staff at Otago Business School. An important part of the role is academic leadership of international initiatives, ensuring the best use is made of both existing networks and establishment of new international collaborations.
Leah is based in the Marketing Department, where she teaches Consumer Behaviour, Market Research and Marketing Communications. Her research area focuses on two main areas: Culture and Consumer Behaviour – specifically the influence of culture on consumption and cross cultural research methodologies; and Marketing and Society - specifically consumer values and lifestyles, sustainable consumption, and children’s consumer socialisation.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to international collaboration, research and teaching.
Associate Dean – Postgraduate Programmes (part-time)
Neil chairs’ the Business School’s Postgraduate Teaching & Learning Committee; and liaises with Department’s to support developments and quality in the taught postgraduate programmes.
Neil works in the Department of Tourism. His research encompasses a variety of interests that utilise tourism and leisure experiences as a cross-disciplinary lens through which to view behaviour; with a particular emphasis on children and families, identity formation, risk, gender, animals (particularly, but not exclusively, dogs) and animal rights, zoos, freedom, and sex and the sexual.
Feel free to contact him directly on issues related to taught postgraduate programmes.
Senior Manager Client Services
As Senior Manager Client Services, Kath's role is to ensure the smooth running of the Business School. Leading the professional staff in the Dean’s office, she is responsible for the administrative management of the Business School.
Lead Administrator Client Services
Brenda supports the Departments of Accountancy & Finance, Economics, Tourism and the DBA, MBA and Executive Programmes. She is passionate about supporting the Client Services administrators in each of those areas, to ensure the smooth operation of the departments. In addition to supervising the teams, a large part of the role involves dealing with recruitment for each of the departments.
Lead Administrator Client Services
Melissa supports the Departments of Information Science, Management, and Marketing. She is committed to supporting her team of administrators and her Departments to ensure the continued smooth operation of these areas. Her background in Course Advice and Course Management activities, as well as both programme and University admission processes, gives her a foundation of knowledge that further adds to the support she can provide.
Melissa is working towards the completion of her Master of Arts in Gender Studies, looking at the impact of the masculinities presented by David Bowie.
Adviser, Marketing Services
Jenna provides advice and support to portfolio leaders and managers within the Division of Commerce. Her role is to support the strengthening of strategic and operational marketing endeavours. Jenna works collaboratively with the Divisions Communications Advisor, and the wider Marketing Services team who deliver the provision of marketing services.
Kelsey started her journey with a Bachelor of Communication at Auckland University of Technology, before completing a Masters in the same field. Her thesis was on the topic of Public Relations and Future Emerging Technologies, both of which are areas of great interest to her. Prior to joining Otago University’s Communications Advisory team, she worked in communications roles at Fletcher Building, Whakarongorau Aotearoa (NZ Telehealth Service) and others.
Development Manager, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO)
Graeme is a Development Manager within the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO) and is embedded in the Division of Commerce. He coordinates and supports the strategic fundraising projects by working with faculty within the Business School to nurture mutually beneficial relationships with alumni, stakeholders and friends. Graeme has a wide experience of working with and within Government organisations and tertiary institutions around the world and has spent most of his career in the Middle East. Graeme is currently an Executive Committee member for the New Zealand chapter of Educate Plus.
Graham's role is to provide strategic financial and non-financial information to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Director Administration, and to ensure the funding allocation, budgets, compliance issues and other financial activities of the school are coordinated effectively. He also provides support and advice to the Departments managing the financial resources within the School.
Associate Finance, Divisional Finance (Humanities and Commerce)
Richa’s role is to provide a range of financial advisory activities including month end accounting, financial reporting and analysis, budgeting and forecasting. Monitoring cost saving initiatives and efficiencies. She also provides support and advice on operational matters to department heads within the school.
Specialist, Academic Committees and Services
Rebecca is the Specialist, Academic Committees and Services, embedded within the Division of Commerce.
Rebecca’s responsibilities include supporting staff within the Division through the academic approvals process by advising and assisting in the preparation of academic proposals, servicing the Commerce Divisional Board and University Committees, assisting with Annual Programme reporting, the GYR process, External Moderation, and Course Variations for undergraduate students.
Pacific Islands’ Student Academic Adviser (part-time)
Esmay is passionate about the retention and academic success of local and international Pacific students. Esmay’s role is to liaise with academic departments and Student Services with respect to any issues relating to Pacific students and their course of study. Esmay supports both staff and students in the Business School and has a network of contacts with other divisions around the University.
Business Accreditation Manager
Theresa is responsible for the management of the School’s accreditation and Assurance of Learning (AoL) process, and provides support to the academic leaders. The School holds discipline and School specific accreditation including EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Executive Assistant to the Dean/PVC (Commerce)
Casey provides executive assistance to the Dean/PVC. The role includes handling correspondence, ensuring all activities comply with University and Business School policy, and providing general administrative support to the PVC.
Internship Programme Manager
Julie is responsible for coordinating the Business School's Internship Programme. She liaises closely with students interested in the prospects of an internship, and connects with the New Zealand business community, meeting business people to talk about the Internship Programme and other opportunities on offer through the Otago Business School. Julie manages the Commerce Employability Programme, designed to assist Commerce students prepare for the workforce, liaising closely with the Career Development Centre when delivering this series of events.
Divisional Kaiāwhina Māori
Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe is the Divisional Kaiāwhina Māori and is here to help students:
- access academic and pastoral support, particularly with Te Huka Matauraka (the Māori Centre)
- provide assistance with advocacy and scholarships
- liaise with departments regarding things Māori
- support Te Tai Tuarā, the Business School Māori students association
- support and run programmes of particular interest to Māori students
Pacific Student Support Facilitator (part-time)
Mary Jane joined the Pacific team in 2020 as the Pacific Student Support Facilitator. Her role is to provide pastoral support in the Business School for first and second year Pacific students, as well as facilitate academic support for Pacific students. She is based in the Pacific Room on the Ground Floor as part of the Dean’s Office and reports to the Associate Dean Pacific.
Mary Jane is one of our very own graduates after completing a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Academic Adviser International
Associate Professor Kate Wynn-Williams is the first point of contact for most international enquiries and is responsible for coordinating and overseeing international activities within the Otago Business School from an operational point of view. She assists with the development of strategy and policies, and their implementation, and also provides a liaison function between the Otago Business School and the International Office, as well as within the Otago Business School.
Kate joined the Otago Business School International team after teaching for 22 years in the Department of Accountancy and Finance. She is now based in the Dean’s Office of the Otago Business School.
Academic Leader International (part-time)
Dr Mariela Carvajal is an Academic Leader International at Otago Business School and is responsible for providing academic support to international students. Working as a complement to the International Office, she assists students regarding study programmes, course planning and academic information. Her role also includes to seek professional existing support and services within the University to help international students.
Mariela works in the Department of Accountancy and Finance. She teaches Financial Accounting at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and her research interests are in the areas of financial reporting, accounting disclosure, environmental accounting and corporate governance.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to international students, teaching and research.
Academic Leader International (part-time)
The academic leader international carries responsibilities for international student support and liaison with existing activities from International Office and elsewhere on behalf of the Otago Business School. The primary focus for this role is academic support for international students at OBS, to be available for international students seeking advice regarding their programme of studies.
Raymond Xia received his education in China, UK and NZ so he is familiar with international study experience. After spending ten years in global companies in China as a head of marketing, Raymond moved to academia. He now is based in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme. He teaches and supervises the DBA students, and his research investigates consumer behaviour through cultural lens. Raymond is also the committee of Dunedin Shanghai Association.