Senior Leadership

Find out about the University's Senior Leadership Team, their position in the University’s structure and their background.

Professor Guilford has been Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University of Wellington since March 2014. As Vice-Chancellor, he is Chief Executive of the University, its administrative and academic head, employer of all staff in the University, and Chair of the Senior Leadership Team.

Professor Guilford is responsible to the University Council (of which he is also a member) for ensuring that the University carries out its statutory and contractual functions in teaching, research and community service.

He has led the process of setting the strategic direction of the University through Victoria University of Wellington's Strategic Plan. The Plan, which outlines a 20-year path for the University, is revised every five years. All members of the Senior Leadership Team report directly to the Vice-Chancellor, except the Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Margaret Hyland and the Vice-Provost (Academic and Equity) Professor Stuart Brock who report to the Provost, Professor Wendy Larner.

Professor Guilford was previously the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Auckland and a member of its Senior Management Team. He has successfully led large and complex academic organisations, beginning with the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University.

Professor Guilford holds Bachelor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Veterinary Science degrees from Massey University and a PhD in Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. Earlier in his career, he undertook teaching, research, clinical and leadership roles at the University of Missouri, the University of California, Davis, and Massey University.

Professor Guilford has driven major capital works processes and participated in a wide range of commercialisation processes. He has previously been on the board of a number of companies, research consortia, joint ventures, centres of research excellence, a Crown Research Institute, and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA).

Professor Wendy Larner became Victoria University of Wellington’s Provost in December 2015.

As Provost, Professor Larner is responsible for driving the highest standards of academic excellence across the University and overseeing the achievement of key goals in its Strategic Plan. These include adopting a distinctive academic emphasis, enhancing research quality, quantity and impact, providing a student experience that is second to none, and increasing enrolments of talented students from disadvantaged groups in society.

Senior managers who report to Professor Larner include the Vice-Provost (Academic) and the Vice-Provost (Research), the University Librarian, the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), and the Director, Sustainability.

Professor Larner is an internationally respected social scientist whose research sits in the interdisciplinary fields of globalisation, governance and gender. She completed her BSocSci at Waikato, MA (First Class Hons) at Canterbury, and her PhD as a Canadian Commonwealth Scholar at Carleton University in Ottawa (Canada). She has held academic positions at the Universities of Waikato and Auckland, as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison (US), Queen Mary University (UK), and the University of Frankfurt (Germany).

She is a trustee of the Antipode Foundation and has served on the editorial boards of eleven international journals, the Social Sciences panel of the New Zealand Performance Based Research Fund, and the Archaeology and Geography panel of the UK Research Excellence Framework. She is a member of Main Panel C (Social Sciences) for the next UK Research Excellence Framework.

Her research has been recognised with a range of scholarships and awards, including a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, Fellow of the New Zealand Geographical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2018 the Royal Geographical Society (UK) awarded her the Victoria Medal.

Professor Larner came to Victoria University of Wellington from the University of Bristol where she was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, and Professor of Human Geography and Sociology. In this role she led a series of major academic initiatives, including delivering on institutional restructuring at both school and faculty levels, serving on a wide range of university working groups and committees, initiating university level strategic developments, and chairing regional collaborations in the social sciences.

Professor Larner is currently President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, taking up the role in July 2018.

Professor Margaret Hyland took up the role of Vice-Provost (Research) in August 2018. She was previously seconded to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in the role of Chief Scientist, a position she was appointed to in 2017. Prior to that, from 2013–2017, she was Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland and, at the same time, Director of the Science of Technological Innovation National Science Challenge.

In her role as Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Hyland has responsibility for developing and implementing strategies and processes to achieve the research objectives in the University’s Strategic Plan. She works internally to strengthen research capability, research excellence, mātauranga Māori and impact, and externally with research partners and stakeholders. She is a member of the Senior Leadership Team contributing to the formulation and implementation of University-wide strategies and policies.

Professor Hyland’s team includes the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research, Scholarships and PhD Admissions, the Research Development Office and Research Services. She is Chair of the Research Trust, the University Research Committee and she sits on the board of Wellington UniVentures.

As Chief Scientist for MBIE, Professor Hyland provided science leadership and helped to develop national research, science and innovation strategies and policies and support their implementation.

In her time as Deputy Dean Engineering at the University of Auckland, she led a range of strategic projects including the Teaching Transformation programme and international postgraduate and research activities. She also led an $80 million building project on the University’s Newmarket campus.

Professor Hyland led the successful bid for the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge, which brings together 13 research organisations and over 100 researchers, and secured $33 million over five years to develop and execute strategic direction for the challenge.

Earlier in her career, Professor Hyland served as Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Auckland and Associate Dean, Research, in the University’s Faculty of Engineering.

Originally from Canada, she holds a PhD from the University of Western Ontario and has spent her research career specialising in aluminium technology, and the chemistry and engineering of material surfaces.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineering and, in addition to her numerous teaching awards, was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pickering Medal for excellence in technology by the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2015.

Professor Hyland has as an impressive track record in external research funding, having secured NZ$39.1 million over the last 11 years as a Principal Investigator, and been an Associate Investigator on a number of other projects.

Professor Stuart Brock became Victoria University of Wellington’s Vice-Provost (Academic) in May 2019.

In his role as Vice-Provost (Academic), Professor Brock has responsibility for overseeing all aspects of learning, teaching, and the student experience at the University. This includes implementing the education strategy, which is part of the University’s Strategic Plan. Professor Brock convenes numerous University-wide committees, including Academic Committee and the Learning and Teaching Committee.

A number of Directors report to Professor Brock, including Sue Walbran (Director, Academic Office), Pam Thorburn (Director, Student Academic Services), Julia Innocente-Jones (AVC International), and Jeff Ashford (Director, Centre for Life Long Learning).

Professor Brock has held a number of leadership roles within the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences including Head of Philosophy, Deputy Head of School (HPPI), Associate Dean (Students), Associate Dean (Academic Programmes), and Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research). Most recently, he was Acting Director of the Miramar Creative Centre from 2017–2018 and is Programme Director for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics programme from 2018–2019.

Professor Brock continues to work as an academic philosopher. His research is primarily in the areas of metaphysics and aesthetics, with a particular focus on fictionalist views. He completed a BA (Hons) at Monash University, an MA at the Australian National University, and a PhD at Princeton University. He is currently the CEO of the Australasian Association of Philosophy, the peak body for philosophy in the wider region. He also continues to teach and coordinate courses for the University’s philosophy programme and is a Primary Investigator on a Marsden Grant looking into the relationship between our attitudes to religion and morality.

As Vice-Provost (Academic), Professor Brock continues to work collaboratively with academics and professional staff across the University, making a strong contribution to achieving the goals in our Strategic Plan.

Blair McRae (Kahungunu ki te Wairoa) was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) of Victoria University of Wellington in April 2019. Prior to this he was Assistant Vice-Chancellor (International Engagement) at the University.

Blair’s role is to lead the external engagement functions of the University, which focuses on the development, maintenance, and promotion of deep and long-lasting international and domestic linkages. These will in turn drive improvements in the University’s reputation, rankings, research opportunities, and student numbers.

Prior to joining Victoria University of Wellington, he worked for an Australian university supporting, establishing, and maintaining sustainable long-term relationships both domestically and internationally. During this time, the university enjoyed a period of significant growth in terms of income, research, student numbers, and reputation. Through his Australian experience and having worked with the World Bank on development projects in Asia, Blair has maintained close working relationships in that region with a particular focus on China. Blair has also held senior roles in the government, transport, technology, and services sectors and has been a member of various boards including technology-based start-ups, construction, commodity export, and education services focused industries.

Blair is a Chartered Accountant (NZ), a Fellow of CPA Australia, has completed the Advanced Personal Leadership Programme at the Henley Business School (UK) and holds a Masters in International Business Management.

Professor Rawinia Higgins (Tūhoe) was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) / Tumu Ahurei of Victoria University of Wellington in 2016. She was previously the University’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori Research) and Head of School for Te Kawa a Māui / School of Māori Studies. Professor Higgins came to the University as a senior lecturer in 2009 after holding academic positions at the University of Otago for 12 years. Her research expertise is Māori language revitalisation and, more specifically, language planning and policy.

Professor Higgins is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, a board member of Te Mātāwai, Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence), and is the Deputy-Chair of the Māori Knowledge and Development PBRF portfolio.

In 2015, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the Māori Language Advisory Group which shaped the Māori Language legislation enacted in April 2016. Te Mātāwai was created as part of the new legislation and governs the Māori Language Strategydedicated to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities. In 2017, Rawinia was awarded the Te Waitī award for te reo and tikanga at the Matariki awards.

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), Professor Higgins provides strategic leadership to assist the University in achieving the goals set out by its strategic plan as they relate to growing Māori opportunities and success. In 2016, she successfully launched the Māori outcomes framework, Mai i te Iho ki te Pae.

Professor Higgins graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a Diploma in Māoritanga / Tohu Māoritanga and a Bachelor of Arts and has a PhD from the University of Otago. She also holds a RSA/Cambridge CELTA qualification.

Mark Loveard has been Victoria University of Wellington’s Chief Operating Officer since November 2015.

Mr Loveard provides strategic leadership ensuring that business fundamentals are optimised and effectively integrated across the organisation to maintain a supportive platform for academic success. The Chief Operating Officer portfolio encompasses Property Services, Information Technology Services, Finance, Planning and Management Information, Legal Services, Strategic Projects, Safety, Risk and Assurance and Student and Campus Living.

Mr Loveard gained a BA (Hons), 1st Class from the University of Exeter, UK and an MBA (with distinction) from Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, United Kingdom and NZ, and the Institute of Directors.

During his career, Mr Loveard has held a range of senior executive and consulting positions within international mobile, banking, consulting and energy companies. He has also run his own software and consulting business. He came to Victoria University of Wellington from Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited, where he was the Chief Financial Officer and also General Manager of Shared Services.

Les Montgomery has been Victoria University of Wellington’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since December 2017.

In that role, Mr. Montgomery oversees the University’s financial planning, investment and performance management to ensure the University’s growth and development aspirations will be realised. He also provides financial advice to stakeholders and leads the University’s high-performing Finance Team.

Mr. Montgomery is a results-driven, experienced Chartered Accountant with an outstanding track record in leadership roles in challenging, complex environments. He is passionate about developing high-performing teams and improving employee engagement levels.

Prior to joining the University, he was Group CFO for Enable Fibre Broadband, a high-growth public-private partnership. He has also held a number of leadership roles for Telecom (now Spark New Zealand) and, earlier in his career, worked for KPMG in New Zealand and internationally.

Mr. Montgomery gained a Bachelor of Business Studies (Accountancy) and a Diploma of Business Studies (Finance) from Massey University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies from the University of Waikato.

Annemarie de Castro was appointed as Director, Human Resources (HR) in June 2004, having previously been Director, Human Resources at Massey University. In her role, Ms de Castro provides HR leadership and contributes to the achievement of Victoria University of Wellington’s strategic goals through advancing and supporting the development of staff capability and capacity. Attracting, developing, rewarding and retaining talented, highly qualified academic and professional staff is a key priority for the University.

Ms de Castro leads the HR team providing strategic and operational advice to the Senior Leadership team, Deans, Heads of School, Central Services Directors, Managers and staff in relation to recruitment and retention, organisational development, performance development and management, HR reporting, employment relations, staff wellness and payroll services.

During her time in the University sector, Ms de Castro has led the HR work associated with three mergers: Palmerston North College of Education with Massey University; Wellington Polytechnic with Massey University; and the Wellington College of Education merger with Victoria University of Wellington. Ms de Castro’s previous career was in private sector HR management roles in the Plumbing Trades and Merchandising, Timber Production and Merchandising and Horticultural Marketing industries.

Ms de Castro’s governance experience includes time as a regional representative on the Wellington Employers and Manufacturers Association Board including a two-year term as Vice-President, followed by a two-year term as National President of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, council member of UCOL (the former Manawatu Polytechnic) and a 3-year term on Te Mana Whakahaere (Board Member) of Te Wananga o Raukawa at Otaki representing Victoria University of Wellington. Ms de Castro is currently a member of the Steering Group for the University sector’s New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme, a very successful programme for senior academic and professional women, supported by the Vice-Chancellors at the eight New Zealand Universities.

Ms de Castro has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Massey University and is a Chartered Fellow of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand.

In her role at Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Jennifer Windsor works to promote the value of studying the humanities, social sciences, education and creative arts. She sees these areas of scholarship as being vital to helping students understand themselves and others’ perspectives—and that these areas also are key to help address the complexities of global challenges—in line with the University’s strategic goals.

Professor Windsor joined Victoria University of Wellington at the beginning of 2015 from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota where she was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programmes and a member of the Senior Leadership Team. In this role, she led the vision and priorities for several collegiate offices that support all aspects of undergraduate education and student services in the humanities, social sciences and arts. Previously, she was Head of School of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (2002-2008), Chair of the College’s Council of Heads of School (2003-2005), and a member of University Faculty Governance (2005-2008).

Professor Windsor’s leadership and service is grounded in the commitment that leading universities create new knowledge and art forms and play a significant role in local and global communities. She has served on numerous advisory boards for student learning outcomes, public engagement, and international programmes. While PVC, the Bachelor of Arts and postgraduate offerings have been refreshed, the Wellington Faculty of Education has joined the Kelburn campus, the Miramar Creative Centre has been established and progress is being made to establish a national centre of music in Wellington.

Professor Windsor holds a bachelor’s degree from Cumberland College of Health Sciences (now University of Sydney) and master’s and PhD degrees from Purdue University, Indiana. Her scholarship focuses on monolingual and bilingual language acquisition and disabilities, and she has published extensively on the factors influencing language development. She was named a Scholar of the College at the University of Minnesota in 2007.

Professor Dave Harper has been at Victoria University of Wellington since 1994, and has been the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Architecture and Design since February 2019.

He has held a number of senior roles at the University, including: Head of the School of Psychology, Deputy Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Science, and Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Science.

Professor Harper completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago and graduated with a PhD in Psychology from the University of Canterbury in 1993. His teaching and research expertise spans behavioural pharmacology and the study of learning and memory processes.

Under Professor Harper’s leadership the Wellington Faculty of Science has had strong growth in staff, students and the development of new programmes that spotlight the University’s international leading profile in understanding and mitigating climate change, environment and conservation, materials science for sustainability, biodiscovery and biotechnology, and the engagement of science with society and government decision making.

As Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harper continues to support the Wellington Faculty of Science and its growth and programme development; the Wellington Faculty of Engineering as it expands and diversifies its offering with new programmes in cybersecurity and renewable energy systems; and the Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation as it continues to contribute to building Wellington’s reputation as New Zealand’s hub for innovation and creativity.

Professor Mark Hickford was appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law in May 2015. In his role, he is responsible for the Faculty of Law’s academic programme, ensuring the Faculty maintains and grows its excellent international reputation—in line with the University’s strategic goals. He provides leadership to the Faculty of Law in continuing to lead legal thinking on local, national and global challenges.

Professor Hickford is a leading Wellington public and Māori law issues specialist who has held a range of senior management and leadership roles in the public and private sectors, including being in the Prime Minister’s Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He spent eight years as a Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office, specialising in public law, the Treaty of Waitangi, Crown-Māori relations and natural resources law. During his time in legal practice, he has appeared in the ordinary courts and before specialist jurisdictions such as the Environment Court, the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal. In addition, he worked on a number of Treaty settlement negotiations while in the service of the Crown.

With an extensive research and publishing record, Professor Hickford has published on aboriginal title and customary rights, issues related to the Treaty of Waitangi and the history of New Zealand’s constitution and laws. His book—Lords of the Land: Indigenous Property Right and the Jurisprudence of Empire—published through Oxford University Press in the United States in 2012—was a shortlisted finalist for the best legal book of 2011 in New Zealand.

Professor Hickford has held visiting positions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, as well as the Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington and been a member of the Legislation Advisory Committee.

Professor Hickford graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and has a doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Professor Williamson joined Victoria University of Wellington as Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Wellington School of Business and Government in June 2017. In his role he is responsible for ensuring the Business School continues to build its outstanding national and international reputation and providing the strategic leadership that ensures the faculty makes a significant contribution to achieving the University’s strategic goals.

Prior to joining Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Williamson served on the faculties of the Melbourne Business School in Australia, Rutgers Business School in the United States, the Zurich Institute of Business Education in Switzerland, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia.

Professor Williamson is a globally recognised expert in the area of human resource management. His research examines the impact of ‘talent pipelines’ on organisational and community outcomes. A particular area of focus is how human and social capital influences firm operational and financial outcomes, talent management in the context of new ventures and growth-oriented firms, the role of human resource practices in driving firm innovation and the impact of social issues on firm outcomes.

A passionate educator Professor Williamson has been recognised for his innovative approaches to business education. He is a past recipient of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business Krowe Teaching Award, the Melbourne Business School Senior Executive MBA Teaching Award, the University of Melbourne Award for Excellence and Innovation in Indigenous Higher Education and the Business/Higher Education Round Table CPA Australia/ABDC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business Education Collaboration.

He has provided consulting services in over 20 countries across six continents in the areas of strategic human resource management, managing organisational innovation, employee recruitment and retention, and executive coaching for a range of large and influential organisations and community and not-for-profit groups.

Professor Williamson holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University, Ohio, and a PhD. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.