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The role of the Vice-Chancellor

The role of the Vice‑Chancellor
Te tūraka o te Tumu Whakarae

Kaweka Matua

Ko tā te Tumu Whakarae kawe ko te ārahi me kā whakahaereka katoa o te Whare Wānaka, te whakaū o te Whare Wānaka ki ōhona haepapa Tiriti o Waitangi, ā, ko te whakatau hoki o te hapori whānui. E noho ana te tūka nei ki raro i te Rūnaka Matua o te Whare Wānaka, ka mahi kātahi ki te Tumu Mātāmua, te Rūnaka me te kāhui hautū. Me ārahi e te Tumu Whakarae te hapori o te Whare Wānaka kia whaoa ai te aruka, kia whakatinana ai kā wawata o tō te Whare Wānaka anō āpōpō.

Continue reading in te reo Māori

Key responsibilities

The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the University, the University’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi commitments, and its engagement with the wider community. Reporting to the University Council, the Vice-Chancellor works closely with the Chancellor, Council, and executive team. The position is accountable for leading the University community to shape and realise the University’s future.

Treaty partnership

  • Advance the University’s partnership with Mana Whenua, Iwi and Māori to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ensure Treaty-compliance, and progress implementation of the University’s Māori Strategic Framework, including the achievement of the University’s Māori development and engagement goals.

Strategic leadership

  • Provide inspirational and effective leadership which ensures that the University of Otago’s international reputation as a premier research-led university is further advanced.
  • Implement and contribute towards a vision and strategic direction for the University that builds on existing strengths, past successes and the direction articulated in the current shaping of the University’s Vision 2040 strategic agenda.
  • Ensure an outstanding student experience, including the provision of learning opportunities which equip students to confront effectively an uncertain and complex future.
  • Oversee planning to develop and maintain the University’s infrastructure across all its campuses.
  • Enhance the University’s position as an international leader in researching and advancing economic, environmental, and social sustainability (having regard to and promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030).
  • Stimulate a culture of high engagement, collegiality, equity, inclusion and performance in which staff and students are encouraged to reach their potential and are valued for the diversity of their knowledge and perspective.

Operational leadership

  • Lead the academy so as to continually enhance the University’s strengths in research, teaching and service.
  • Provide effective financial oversight and management consistent with the University’s strategic priorities and goals, and the financial targets approved by the University Council.
  • Ensure continued success in attracting, retaining, and nurturing outstanding staff and students.
  • Lead the University so as to promote the University values of respect, integrity, curiosity and community.
  • Actively engage with staff and students to ensure a shared commitment to the vision and goals of the University.
  • Ensure efficient and effective administration to support the core mission of the University.


  • Promote active engagement with Māori and Pacific peoples, locally, nationally and regionally in order to support and deliver outstanding education and research outcomes and improve equity.
  • Ensure active community engagement and outreach across Aotearoa New Zealand on issues affecting the common good.
  • Significantly enhance the University’s international partnerships with leading universities and research institutions to expand academic and research programmes.
  • Develop and forge relationships across countries and sectors – including working with all levels of government, relevant public bodies and commercial entities – to strengthen the relevance and value of the University’s endeavours.
  • Work with alumni and with potential benefactors across Aotearoa New Zealand and throughout the world to increase philanthropic contributions to the University.
  • Advocate for both the University of Otago and the broader interests of the Aotearoa New Zealand Tertiary Education sector nationally and internationally.

Personal and professional attributes

The personal and professional attributes of the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago are expected to include:

Strategic and operational leadership

  • Outstanding record of inspirational strategic leadership and executive management in a comparable complex multi-partner and stakeholder environment.
  • Proven record in developing, planning and executing transformative strategies at a relevant level of scale and complexity.
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing excellence in education and research, in its multiple forms, and a sound understanding and appreciation of the role of a major research university in an international context.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead successful change, including cultural change, to advance the University’s national and international standing and influence.
  • Exceptional capacity to lead dynamically, with a high degree of visibility and broad and collegial consultation, and with engagement in the development and implementation of the University’s mission, goals and objectives.
  • Commitment to providing a high-quality student experience and an understanding of the factors that shape this.
  • Evidence of strong strategic acumen with regards to human, financial and physical resources and commercial decision-making.

Aotearoa New Zealand and cultural and social engagement

  • Ability to lead change needed to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to ensure that the University meets its obligations in relation to Te Tiriti in everyday practice.
  • Ability to support and advance the aspirations, interests and work of Māori and Pacific peoples and a sound understanding of the wider Asia-Pacific region.
  • Understanding of cultural and societal influences in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Cultural competency and a record of realising strategies targeted at promoting diversity and inclusion and of advancing equity across the breadth of the University.
  • Engagement with societal issues locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

External relations

  • Extensive record of establishing significant and lasting relationships, such as with alumni, government, industry, international partners, other higher education institutions, and professional and community leaders.
  • Knowledge of the challenges, trends and nuances of the national and global Higher Education landscape, alongside the ability to navigate the relevant policy environment and influence debate at the highest level.
  • Passion to nurture and advance partnerships locally and to play an active role in the local community.
  • Commitment to, and experience of, fundraising and establishing philanthropic partnerships with donors and alumni.

Personal academic standing

  • Profile to command the respect of high-performing academic and professional staff, and an understanding of the nature and processes of academic life (preferably but not necessarily demonstrated through a high-level academic leadership position within the University sector).

Personal values and attributes

  • Mana and manaakitanga; proven ability to uplift, honour and support others.
  • Strength to take difficult decisions after due discussion and consultation.
  • Openness to a diversity of opinions and perspectives.
  • Outstanding communication skills.
  • Exemplary personal qualities of authenticity, integrity, collegiality, empathy, dynamism, persistence, resilience and judgement.