Board of Commissioners

Board of Commissioners

Last updated 7 July 2020
Last updated 7 July 2020

The Tertiary Education Commission (the TEC) is governed by a Board of Commissioners.

 Our Board:

  • sets our strategic direction, makes decisions about funding allocations and provides guidance on our operations
  • monitors the performance of the Chief Executive and the organisation
  • oversees management of strategic risk.

Jenn Bestwick, Board Chair

“As the major investor in tertiary education in New Zealand, TEC plays a crucial role in creating and shaping opportunities for all learners, tertiary education providers and employers. Increasing the potential of the employees, business owners, entrepreneurs, community and business leaders, academics and researchers of the future by growing their knowledge, skills and training, is why I put my hand up to Chair the Board of TEC”


Jenn has extensive governance experience including roles at Ara Institute of Canterbury (formerly CPIT), Southern Response Earthquake Services and Development West Coast. She is a member of the NZQA Board. Jenn’s leadership of CPIT during its merger with Aoraki Polytechnic established a high-level of credibility within the tertiary sector.

She is currently an associate with the Project Office, where she provides strategic and business case development capability. She has proven experience in strategic planning and in senior strategy management roles across the health, tertiary education, natural resource management, science and research, and tourism sectors.

Alastair MacCormick, Commissioner

Alastair MacCormick, TEC Commissioner

Alastair has extensive experience in education and business and has been a Commissioner on our Board since June 2017. He is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland, having been 14 years Dean of Business and Economics before becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Over the last 15 years Alastair has been active with innovation in New Zealand, ranging across IT, biotech and health. 

He was appointed to the NZ Government Innovation Board on its establishment in 2011 and continues to be a member of the Callaghan Innovation Grants Committee.

Dr Wayne Ngata, Commissioner

Dr Wayne Ngata, TEC Commissioner

Wayne has an intimate knowledge of the challenges Māori face in achieving equity and has exceptional understanding, qualifications and experience in mātauranga Māori. In 2021 he received the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for service to Māori and education, in the New Years Honours.

He was previously Board Chair of Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), has been the Head of Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Raukura/Chief Advisor Te Ao Māori at the Ministry of Education and a Principal Investigator with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (New Zealand’s Māori Centre for Research Excellence at the University of Auckland).

Wayne brings with him a high level of mana and will be a strong advocate for our Māori learners.

Kirk Hope, Commissioner

“People are our greatest asset and the drivers of our economy.  Business needs a training and development system to ensure everyone can reach their potential and New Zealand continues to prosper”. 

Kirk Hope, TEC Commissioner

Kirk is a qualified barrister and solicitor with extensive corporate management experience. He is currently Chief Executive of Business NZ. Kirk has had numerous government appointed roles where he has represented the views of businesses. Kirk has an extensive background in financial management and his ability and depth of knowledge of business and industry networks will add enormous value to the TEC Board.

Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater, Commissioner

"I am on the TEC Board because I truly believe in the power of education to transform individual lives, whānau, and communities." 

Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater,  TEC Commissioner

Vivien is an independent consultant specialising in brand strategy, change management, partnership development and strategic advocacy.

She has a strong background in senior management and governance, holding roles at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Auckland University of Technology.

She also helped set up Mai FM.

John Russell, Commissioner

"Timely, empowering lifelong learning for all Aotearoa. What a privilege to be able to contribute to an outstanding team working with great purpose and effectiveness."

John Russell, TEC Commissioner

John has three decades of experience as a secondary school principal and has a great deal of knowledge about the transition from school to training and employment. He is passionate about the role of TEC.

Throughout his career in educational leadership John has been committed to achieving equity and excellence for all, with a particular focus on raising Māori achievement and building whole community capacity.

John has an ongoing role with Evaluation Associates, where he works with principals on strategic leadership and capacity building, developing culturally responsive teaching practice, and robust appraisal practices.

John spent 29 years as a secondary school principal at Mana College, Kāpiti College and most recently Naenae College. He retired as principal of Naenae College in 2017.

John was the 2016 Kiwibank | Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to the Naenae Community and to education.

Nancy McConnell, Commissioner

"As stewards of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tertiary education and careers systems, we need to evolve and monitor an agile framework that effectively meets learner, employer, industry and community needs for flexible lifelong learning, sustainably and equitably."

Nancy McConnell, TEC Commissioner

Nancy has worked extensively across the construction, infrastructure and property industries, and has led initiatives focused on empowerment through education, particularly improving success for Māori and Pacific people.

Nancy has worked extensively in external and internal communications leadership across the construction, infrastructure and property industries.

She has been part of corporate leadership teams, and established, directed and managed a public relations and communications business. She is part of a number of governance boards, primarily public-private partnerships focused on raising employment, training and learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific people.

Nancy leads Hawkins (part of Downer NZ) community initiatives which focus on empowerment through education, particularly improving success for Māori and Pacific people.