Greta Gordon

Collaborative governance in the New Zealand public sector: Enabling participation

Greta Gordon SOG PhD Student
Greta Gordon, PhD student in Public Management


Supervisors: Associate Professor Chris Eichbaum and Professor Michael Macaulay


Born and raised in Northland, Greta's first degree was a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Waikato. Following that, she fell into government work, eventually completing a Masters in Public Management through Victoria University of Wellington. Greta has continued to work throughout her PhD studies, including for Housing New Zealand Corporation, the Ministry of Social Development, and as a contractor for the Ministry of Justice, ACC and BRANZ. She is Mum to a teenage girl, so juggles work, study, motherhood and life in general.

In 2010/11, Greta was involved in setting up a new approach to service delivery in the New Zealand social sector. This was a cross-agency, collaborative effort, aimed at achieving better outcomes for young people and the most difficult job she had ever done. Collaboration across the public sector was incredibly challenging and relationships between central government and communities took intense effort to build. Thinking there had to be a better way led her to this PhD research.


BCMS, Waikato
MPP, Victoria University of Wellington

Research interests

Greta's research examines how government works with communities to reduce long-term unemployment. It involves two case studies: the Community Employment Group and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. Both of these initiatives represent true partnership between government and communities, one through fieldworkers and the other through local government. She is looking at the leadership of these initiatives, how accountability was managed and the processes government and communities used to work together. Her favourite element to date has been interviewing people who are truly passionate about making New Zealand a better place. Greta's ultimate goal is for her PhD study to help government better understand how to tap into this passion and enable people to live the very best lives they can.