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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 Shaw 2020 imageJenny Shaw

Executive Assistant to Director Communications

Tel +64 3 479 5730

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Media Engagement Team

Liane Topham Kindley image

Liane Topham-Kindley

Manager, Media Engagement

Liane is an experienced news journalist having worked for newspapers, magazines and news websites for 28 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 in 1988 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

Lea Jones

Lea Jones

Communications Adviser

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

Ellie Rowley

Ellie Rowley

Communications Adviser (part-time)

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.

Tel +64 3 479 8200
Mob +64 21 278 8200

Lydia Anderson

Lydia 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 4728
Mob +64 21 279 4728

Lorelei Mason (2021)

Lorelei Mason

Communications Adviser (Christchurch)

Lorelei is an experienced journalist having worked in print, radio and television news for over 30 years. Her last position was as Health Reporter/Correspondent for TVNZ’s 1News for 23 years. During this time she won more than a dozen national and international journalism awards. Her prior reporting experience extends to positions at both BBC Television and BBC World Service Radio in London, as a presenter for Sky Television and radio journalist for Newstalk ZB in Auckland, 3ZB and The Press in Christchurch. Since leaving TVNZ a few years ago Lorelei has managed her own Health Public Relations consultancy, representing Kiwi clients from the fields of health research, health charities, NGOs, corporates and health start-ups.

Tel +64 3 364 1199
Mob +64 21 279 2203

jessheadshotJessica Wilson

Communications Adviser

Jessica joined the University in 2022, after more than five years as a print journalist at The Star. She has experience as a general and sports reporter, as well as ad features writer. Jessica graduated from the University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communication Studies. She then went on to gain a Diploma of Journalism from Otago Polytechnic in 2016.

Mob +64 21 279 5016

Communications Advisory Service

Fiona Clarkson image

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

Rebecca Anderson image

Rebecca Anderson

Communications Adviser (Projects)

Rebecca joined the Projects Communications Team at the start of 2022 and works on communications for several IT and campus development projects.

Her background is in print media and freelance writing, editing and media advisory for a diverse array of clients within the private and public sectors.

She brings 20 years' experience communicating on a plethora of subjects for groups within the tertiary education sector, conservation, tourism, construction, transport, clerical, and arts industries.

Rebecca majored in English at Otago and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts and a journalism diploma from Aoraki Polytechnic.

Mob +64 21 279 0126

Margie Clark

Margie Clark

Communications Adviser (Development and Alumni Relations)

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 (Projects Office and Development and Alumni Relations)

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 Enabling Excellence Programme, and the Otago Business School.

Mob +64 21 232 2047

Rosa Marden

Rosa Marden

Team Leader, Projects Communications

Rosa joined the University of Otago in 2021, coming from a background in internal communications and project communications roles. She has worked across both public and private sector, with her previous roles being based in the UK and New Zealand. An Otago alumna, she has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communication Studies as well as gaining a postgraduate diploma in Communication Studies. Rosa currently works as Team Leader, Projects Communications on key projects at the University.

Mob +64 21 279 0392

antonia web

Antonia Wallace

Communications Adviser (Health Sciences)

Antonia joined the University for her current role in 2021. She has experience in a range of communication and marketing roles. Her work has been largely in the public sector, including as the marketing officer for the University of Otago College of Education and communications manager for Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (The Correspondence School). She has also worked as a senior communications advisor in local government. Antonia provides communication advice for the University’s Health Sciences Division.

Mob +64 21 279 4144

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

Cheryl Norrie image

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 4 918 6787
Mob +64 21 249 6787

Sally KnoxSally Knox image (2023)

Communications Adviser

Mob +64 21 279 7757

Sally joined the Communications Advisory Service in January 2023 and has a background in law, politics, education and communications.

Her most recent previous role was as Manager of Communications and External Relations at Presbyterian Support Otago.

She holds degrees in Arts (majoring in Philosophy) and Laws from Sydney University and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Otago University.

Sally works full time and is embedded with the Otago Business School and the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Internal Communications and Channels

Debbie Porteous image

Debbie Porteous

Manager, Internal Communications and Channels

Debbie joined the University’s External Engagement Communication team, Ratonga Pārongorongo, in 2022 as the Internal Communications and Channels manager, after 17 years in journalism. She spent the bulk of that time at the Otago Daily Times and prior to that worked at the Ministry of Health and in Parliament.

Originally from Southland, Debbie has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury and a National Diploma in Journalism from the Southern Institute of Technology. She is passionate about telling and sharing the stories of Otago’s staff and students and proudly leads her team in fostering a sense of community equal to no other university in Aotearoa.

Tel +64 3 471 4539
Mob +64 21 279 0405

Jasmine Grey

Jasmine Grey

Social Media Co-ordinator

Jasmine joined the University in 2021 after moving to New Zealand from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science from Millersville University of Pennsylvania where she studied communications with a focus in public relations. She also has a background in film and previously worked in social media at Millersville University while completing her studies. Jasmine enjoys using her skills to maintain and produce content for the University’s main social media channels.

Mob +64 21 279 1995

korenportraitKoren Allpress

Internal Communications Adviser

Koren joined the University in 2022 as an Internal Communications Adviser after finishing her BVA Hons in painting at the Dunedin School of Art. She has previously worked as a reporter for the Timaru Herald and The Westport News. Koren is from Dunedin originally and completed a BCApSc in Food Science at the University of Otago in 2011, and a Diploma in Journalism from Aoraki Polytechnic (Now Ara) in 2014. She looks forward to helping share the stories of postgraduate students here at Otago.

Mob +64 21 279 5479

Sandra French 2023 imageSandra French

Internal Communications Adviser

Sandra joined the University in 2023, as an Internal Communications Adviser. An MBA, she moved to New Zealand in 2012 to pursue further postgraduate studies and has since worked across multiple industries, including tertiary education, in a variety of communication and marketing roles. She is passionate about the role communication plays in promoting collaboration, diversity, equity & inclusion, and wellbeing.

Tel +64 3 556 5814
Mob +64 21 279 5305

eugeneportraitEugene Yeo

Social Media Co-ordinator

Eugene joined the Communications Team in 2022, preceded by 6 years of other roles within the University. After moving to New Zealand from Malaysia, Eugene completed his Bachelor of Science at Otago where he majored in Psychology. Eugene was previously the editor of Antics (the Otago Tramping Club's Journal of Adventures), and he dabbles heavily in adventure photography and videography, contributing content to brands such as Discovery Channel & McDonald's. Eugene enjoys implementing his skills in visual storytelling and community engagement through the University's social media channels.

Mob +64 21 279 1742

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