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Our people in Communications

The team in the Communications Office has a wide variety of skills and experience in media relations, social media, and writing for all types of situations and audiences. We can provide expert knowledge and support across a range of communication initiatives.

Director of Communications


Megan McPherson

Director of Communications

Megan has worked in media and communications since 1993, and started at the University in 2008. Her previous roles have included the Medical Council of New Zealand, British Airways (London) and Presbyterian Support Otago. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, from the University of Otago. She also has certificates in journalism and public relations from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Journalism.

Tel +64 3 479 5452
Mob +64 21 279 5452

Jenny O'Docherty ImageJenny O’Docherty

Executive Assistant to Director Communications

Tel +64 3 479 5730

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Media Engagement Team


Jo Galer

Team Leader Media Engagement

Jo has been with the University since 2009 in a media liaison, communications advisory and writing role. Her background is in journalism and public relations, starting as a newspaper reporter in 1989. Her past positions have included media liaison and adviser for the New Zealand Police, and journalist for publications including the Otago Daily Times, the West Australian and the Taieri Herald. An Otago alumna, Jo has a First Class Honours degree in History, and a Certificate in Journalism from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Journalism.

Tel +64 3 479 8263
Mob +64 21 279 8263
Web University media releases

Liane Topham Kindley image

Liane Topham-Kindley

Senior Communications Adviser

Liane is an experienced news journalist having worked for newspapers, magazines and news websites for more than 25 years. She joined the External Engagement Communication team early in 2018 after several years working for the Health Media Limited, which produces the country’s national newspapers and news websites for GPs and pharmacists, New Zealand Doctor and Pharmacy Today. Liane has also worked as a freelance journalist for a variety of publications and as an independent contractor for the University of Otago writing the very first few issues of our e-newsletter, Otago Connection. Liane began her journalism career as a Cadet Reporter at the Otago Daily Times and later graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Wellington Polytechnic.

Tel +64 3 479 9065
Mob +64 21 279 9065
Web University media releases

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Mark Hathaway

Senior Communications Adviser

Mark joined the University in 2018 as a Communications Adviser, coming from TVNZ where he was the Dunedin-based reporter for One News. Mark has 15 years media experience behind him, ranging from a student TV presenter in Dunedin, radio copywriter in Auckland, sports reporter for TVNZ in Wellington plus various freelance roles across the media spectrum. He holds a National Certificate in TV, Theatre and Radio from Aoraki Polytechnic.

Tel +64 3 479 5016
Mob +64 21 279 5016
Web University media releases

Kelly-Ann Tahitahi (2019)

Kelly-Ann Tahitahi

Kōrero Kaitohutohu Māori | Māori Communications Adviser

Mā tōu rourou mā tōku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive.

In 2019, Kelly-Ann joined the University as Māori Communications Adviser. Of Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Waikato-Tainui descent, Kelly-Ann has a background in Teaching te reo Māori and Māori Performing Arts. An Alumna of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Māori Studies 2012.

Tel +64 3 479 9139

Matiu Workman image

Matiu Workman

Kōrero Kaitohutohu Māori | Māori Communications Adviser
Returning late September 2020

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people!

Of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa descent, Matiu has spent seven years working as a reporter across a number of print, radio and online platforms. He was previously a radio and video journalist with Newstalk ZB and the New Zealand Herald, and spent time in Rarotonga at Cook Islands News. He has also spent five years as a sports writer. An Otago alumna, he graduated with a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies (Distinction) from the University in 2016. He also holds a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from AUT University.

Ellie Rowley image

Ellie Rowley

Communications Adviser (part-time)
Returning late September 2020

Ellie has a background in print journalism, having worked four years as a general reporter at the Otago Daily Times and two as an advertising features writer. She has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Film and Media, from the University of Otago, and a Diploma in Journalism (Print) from Aoraki Polytechnic.

Lydia Anderson ImageLydia Anderson

Communications Adviser (part-time)

Lydia joined the University in 2019 as a Communications Adviser, coming from a background in journalism. Her past positions include Otago/Southland regional reporter for RNZ, and deputy website editor at 3 News (now Newshub). She has also worked for wire services New Zealand Newswire and APNZ. Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in International Relations from the University of Canterbury, and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Massey University.

Tel +64 3 479 8200
Mob +64 21 279 8200

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Samuel White

Social Media Adviser

Samuel comes from a background in journalism, photography and digital media. Before joining the communications team, he worked at the Otago Daily Times as a regional reporter. He has a Bachelor of Digital Media, Graduate Diploma in Dramatic Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism. Samuel maintains the University’s main social media accounts and monitors online activity for it.

Tel +64 3 479 5479
Mob +64 21 279 5479

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Communications Advisory Service

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Fiona Clarkson

Manager, Communications Advisory Service

Fiona is a former print journalist and communications specialist with almost 30 years of experience. She joined the University in 2012 as the Postgraduate Communications and Marketing Co-ordinator, moved into marketing as a Marketing Specialist and now heads the Communications Advisory Services unit. Fiona’s passion is organisational communication, particularly internal communications and external reputation-building and she is proud to lead a team of experienced advisers with the aim of adding value to the University.

Tel +64 3 471 6272
Mob +64 21 279 6272

Craig Borley ImageCraig Borley

Communications Adviser (Division of Health Sciences)

Craig joined the University in 2019. He has been a health and science journalist since 2006 and has worked and written for several major publications including the New Zealand Herald, North and South and the Otago Daily Times.

As well as a career in journalism Craig worked for several years in health communications at DHB level.

He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland majoring in Archaeology and English Literature, and a post-graduate journalism diploma from AUT University.

Tel +64 3 479 4144
Mob +64 21 279 4144

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Margie Clark

Communications Adviser (150th Anniversary)

Margie has held a variety of journalism and communications roles in New Zealand and the UK. She started her career as a reporter for The Press in Christchurch in 1985 and went on to work as a feature writer for magazines and the Greenpeace UK press office in London, then as communications director for Greenpeace NZ. She has been editor of the Central Otago Mirror, worked as a contributing writer for North and South magazine and freelanced for a variety of publications.

She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Canterbury, studied journalism at polytech in Auckland, and completed a post-graduate honours programme in journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Tel +64 3 479 4021
Mob +64 21 279 4021

Kerry Dohig image

Kerry Dohig

Communications Adviser (Shared Services)

Kerry joined the University in 2018. Since 1995 he has worked in various media and communications roles, including Radio Otago news editor, destination marketing officer for New Plymouth, seven years in Wellington in marketing and communications roles, and more than 13 years in local government communications. He has a degree in commerce and administration from Victoria University of Wellington, and a National Certificate in Journalism from SIT.

He currently works for the Shared Services Division, and the Alumni Office.

Tel +64 3 479 8336
Mob +64 21 232 2047

Sean Flaherty ImageSean Flaherty

Communications Adviser (Projects)

Sean has 30 years’ experience in journalism in New Zealand and the UK. His previous roles have included Online Editor and Head of News at the Otago Daily Times. He has worked as a communications adviser for the Southern District Health Board and as a freelance writer. Sean is responsible for communications on the University’s major building and IT projects and is based in the University of Otago Project Management Office.

Tel +64 3 479 5305
Mob +64 21 279 5305

Guy Frederick image

Guy Frederick

Communications Adviser (Sciences)

For the last decade Guy has worked as an editorial photographer and writer primarily for the magazine market. During this time he was awarded the NZ Mental Health Media Grant for a project exploring personal mental health stories as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, and more recently visited Scott Base on the Antarctica NZ’s Community Engagement Programme. The visit to the great white continent was perfectly timed at the end of completing Otago University’s Masters in Science Communication, where he further developed story-telling skills across various mediums. Guy’s research and interest in place based experience has recently been published in The Polar Journal.

Tel +64 3 479 7688
Mob +64 21 279 7688


Gail Goodger

Communications Adviser (Operations and Capital Projects)

Gail worked for both newspaper and radio as a journalist and chief reporter for more than 20 years, from 1989. She was also a communications adviser for the Otago District Health Board. Gail has a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Otago, and a National Certificate in Journalism from Aoraki Polytechnic.

Gail is the key contact for media inquiries about major building projects, accommodation services, health and safety, sustainability, information technology, and student services including cafes and retail outlets. She also provides communications advice to the University's operational departments.

Tel +64 3 479 8946
Mob +64 21 279 8946

Lea Jones ImageLea Jones

Communications Adviser (Business)

Lea is a former print journalist and journalism lecturer with more than 22 years’ experience. She joined the University in 2018, having spent the previous seven years as the lecturer and programme co-ordinator of the Otago Polytechnic Diploma in Journalism. Prior to that Lea had roles as a journalist, editor, sub-editor and copy-writer at daily and weekly newspapers and radio.

Tel +64 3 479 4969
Mob +64 21 279 4969

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Cheryl Norrie

Communications Adviser (Wellington)

Cheryl is a highly experienced print media journalist who began her career at the Gore Ensign and the Otago Daily Times. Her work has been published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines including the Dominion Post, the science journal Nature Biotechnology and the Australian Journal of Pharmacy. More recently she has been writing for the Dominion Post’s advertising supplements department and covering New Zealand affairs for the German Press Agency (DPA). She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Canterbury.

Cheryl works part-time providing communications for the University of Otago, Wellington, one of four component schools that make up the University of Otago Medical School.

Tel +64 4 385 5999 ext 6787
Mob +64 21 249 6787


Sam Stevens

Communications Adviser (Humanities)

Sam is a University of Otago alumnus, with a BA and postgraduate diploma in Religion. He also has a journalism qualification and has worked as a reporter on a daily newspaper and as a freelance magazine writer. Before joining the Communications Office, Sam was a Marketing and Communications Officer in Otago’s Division of Humanities.

Tel +64 3 479 8143
Mob +64 21 279 8143

Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas

Senior Communications Adviser (Christchurch)

Kim has worked across the fields of journalism, marketing and communications for more for more than 25 years. Her roles have included newspaper reporter, communications consultant, and marketing manager for arthouse film and publishing companies. For the past ten years she has been based at the University of Otago’s Christchurch health campus where she helps its researchers and health educators share their stories.

Mob +64 27 222 6016

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Online and print publications


Lisa Dick

Otago Bulletin Board Editor

Lisa is an experienced journalist, with a background in television, radio and print. She has worked as a reporter for TV3, Radio New Zealand, Dunedin's Channel 39 and the Otago Daily Times. She has an honours degree in neuroscience and psychology from Otago and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Canterbury University.

Lisa works part-time, writing stories for and editing the Otago Bulletin Board.

Tel +64 3 479 4378
Mob +64 21 279 4378
Web Otago Bulletin Board


Karen Hogg

Editorial Manager

Karen’s journalism career spans a variety of newspaper news editing and feature-writing roles, as well as freelance magazine work. An Otago alumna, she has an Honours degree in Political Studies. She has been working in marketing and communications at the University since 2003.

Karen is responsible for editing key corporate publications, including the Otago Magazine, the multi-award-winning He Kitenga research highlights book and the University’s Annual Report.

Tel +64 3 479 8679
Web Otago Magazine, He Kitenga and Annual Report

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Christian Macfarlane

Internal Communications Adviser

Christian has worked in communications roles for the past seven years, specialising in Internal Communications for the past four years. Christian moved to New Zealand in February 2019 from Glasgow, Scotland where he worked as an Internal Communications Adviser for the national water provider Scottish Water and as Multimedia Producer for Pernod Ricard, the second-largest wine and spirits company in the world.

Having graduated with a BA(Hons) in Filmmaking and Screenwriting, Christian has a passion for storytelling and promoting the fantastic work of his colleagues through film and other digital media platforms. He currently works as an Internal Communications Adviser, responsible for media monitoring, reporting and analysis, emergency communications and video production.

Mob +64 21 279 0405

Brittany Pickett 2019 image

Brittany Pickett

Internal Communications Adviser

Brittany is a former Stuff journalist and joined the University in 2019. She started her journalism career at the Invercargill Eye in 2014, before moving to The Southland Times and then to the Otago Southland Farmer, where she acted as editor from May 2016 to June 2018.

She also worked as a freelance writer, with a focus on writing features for the Dairy Farmer magazine. She has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History, minoring in Writing, from the University of Otago. She also has a diploma in journalism from Aoraki Polytechnic.

Brittany’s focus is on undergraduate student communications.

Tel +64 3 479 8529
Mob +64 21 279 1742
Web Otago Connection

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