Southern Institute of Technology has appointed Ngāi Tahu’s Dr Keri Milne-Ihimaera to the new role of general manager – Māori development.
The institute says the new role reflects SIT’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and its commitment to raising achievement outcomes for Māori students.
The role will focus on building closer relationships with iwi in the region and foster Māori development across the organisation, to ensure positive outcomes for students.
Dr Milne-Ihimaera is has had over 16 years of experience in roles as a school principal, general manager and executive director, where she provided a Māori woman's perspective – as a mother, wife, and grandmother - in education, leadership, people and strategy.
Dr Milne-Ihimaera was a principal of Moerewa School, which was put under statutory intervention between 2012 and 2014 when it refused to follow the Education Ministry orders to close its senior unit. She wrote about those events in her doctoral thesis at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuirangi in 2018. She has since worked as a consultant.
SIT says it will benefit from Milne-Ihimaera’s ability to navigate, understand and implement mātauranga, including Tikanga Māori and, with a focus on ensuring positive outcomes.
“Teaching and education are in my blood and are my passion and purpose,” she says.
“This has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge into other industries to develop programmes and educate and mentor others in a supportive and safe way.”
SIT chief executive Onno Mulder says by bringing a highly accomplished Māori leader on board as GM – Māori Development, SIT intends to lift support services available to Māori ākonga, empowering them to reach their full potential.
Milne-Ihimaera recently relocated from Auckland to Southland and lives in Bluff. She is based at SIT’s Invercargill campus.