Relationship Managers

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere Hononga

Last updated 27 September 2023
Last updated 27 September 2023

Our Relationship Managers are our key leads to build and sustain effective relationships with tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and regional stakeholders. They engage and collaborate to provide quality investment and career information to ensure that providers and all New Zealanders are best equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for lifelong success.

Te Hira Pere – Manager Business and Partnerships

“Education is the beacon that liberates minds from the shadows of ignorance, empowering individuals to break free, soar to new heights, and sculpt the destiny of a liberated, enlightened society.”

Growing up on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana, under the loving guidance and wisdom of his grandparents, Te Hira was immersed in the richness of te ao Māori. Those formative years instilled in him a profound appreciation for his language, identity and culture. They ignited within him a fierce passion for fairness, social justice and equality for all.

Throughout his professional journey, he has dedicated himself to dismantling barriers and promoting equitable practices. He has tirelessly advocated for the voices and perspectives of our most marginalised communities to be heard and genuinely integrated into decision-making processes.

Te Hira brings with him a wealth of experience from his time at WorkSafe, where he was responsible for leading the iwi Māori Partnerships Programme, and in particular, his support towards the formation and implementation of WorkSafe's Māori engagement and equity strategy which focused on bridging the equity divide for Māori. He also led the negotiations for strategic partnerships arrangements with iwi and Māori entities to co-design and co-implement health and safety initiatives and programmes of work that address Māori health and safety inequity.

Te Hira holds directorship positions within Māori land trust and iwi governance bodies, including a past role as Chair of Ngāti Ruapani ki Uta ki Tai. Beyond this, his professional journey includes independent consultancy work across various Crown and iwi entities providing advice on Māori policy, CrownMāori relations, strategic engagement, capability uplift and treaty settlements.

Te Hira Pere embodies a commitment to weaving together diverse threads of knowledge and culture within the Tertiary Education Commission, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable tertiary education system for all.

Sandra Ramsay – Manager Relationships (Investment)

“We are the listeners, talkers and connectors who keep learners at the centre. We will support TEOs to deliver to all learners in line with the TES and TEC’s objectives, as well as making sure investment plans are delivered to meet their commitments to TEC.”


Sandra joins the TEC following a diverse career path that includes work for the United Nations, various public and private sector roles, and most recently working with science faculties at a range of universities.

"Tertiary education has always been special to me. I was the first person in my family to go to university and it had such a positive impact on my life. Education is empowering, and it benefits many. I love being able to contribute to the education sector and form meaningful connections with our customers  it’s why I come to work each day."

Sandra enjoys liaising with a broad range of people, establishing strong business connections, and leading the way for her team to grow and develop their own roles.

“My goal is to support my team to have a toolbox of knowledge at their fingertips, so they can do the very best for our customer. Whether it is within a team in an organisation or working with external stakeholders, it’s all about connections  ensuring a flow of information, and establishing trust and rapport.”

For Sandra, heading back to university as an adult student was a particularly steep learning curve, but one that highlighted the transformative powers of education. “I started my masters degree in my mid-30s, with a young family. Working, looking after kids and attending university evening lectures was very challenging, but it changed my life and broadened not just my skills but my general knowledge. It gave me a true appreciation of lifelong learning. Education is for life.”

Relationship Managers Investment

Kim Ulberg – Principal Relationship Manager Investment

“It’s been my life’s work to make the tertiary system perform better and be more responsive by the time my grand-kids get to tertiary study.”

Esther Calley – Principal Relationship Manager Investment

"I have been with the TEC for over 20 years since migrating to New Zealand from Scotland. The opportunity to make a difference for learners continues to keep me committed to the work of the TEC. It is a huge privilege to support TEOs as they put their energies into transforming the lives of our learners."

Mele Ha’amoa ’Alatini – Relationship Manager Investment

"I want to see a future where all learners achieve to their full potential. I will develop and foster effective relationships with TEOs especially in relation to the investment it receives from us. For me, this relationship will be one where there’s a clear line of sight – for the learner, and how we can best facilitate and support their journey, to be one that is fruitful and successful."

Si'u Tupolo – Relationship Manager Investment

“My passion for education grows more with every success story I hear from tertiary education organisations (TEOs), learners and our communities. As an immigrant from Samoa, I have great admiration and appreciation for the work of the Tertiary Education Commission. We support the tertiary sector, enabling opportunities for all New Zealanders, especially our Māori and Pacific learners. I am privileged to be part of such a journey.”

Conrad Herewini – Relationship Manager Investment

"I want to ensure all New Zealanders are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for life-long success. As a TEC RM I will support our customers to actively manage their allocated portfolios. I will work collaboratively to ensure all learners, through their TEO, gain maximum benefit from TEC’s investment, funding and services."

Kazlo Evans – Relationship Manager Investment

"I have come to the TEC to try to influence the sector at a national level. All people deserve to enjoy a successful learning experience. I will develop strong relationships with our customers to get an in-depth understanding of the investment into all our providers."

Rick Zwart – Relationship Manager Investment

“I am committed to supporting the system implement the objectives of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES). As a Relationship Manager, this means actively monitoring government investment and supporting TEOs with strategic advice. I aim to support TEOs make a transformational difference to the lives of all learners.”

Sarah Chesney – Relationship Manager Investment

"Encouraging and supporting life-long learning at all levels is hugely important to me. I want to see TEC’s investment empower learners to realise their study goals – for themselves and their communities – and I enjoy working closely with tertiary education organisations to facilitate this."

Relationship Managers Business and Partnerships

Chris Travers – Principal Relationship Manager Business and Partnerships

"I enjoy working with people across the education to employment system who are passionate about increasing the wellbeing of New Zealanders through fulfilling career opportunities. My goal is to ensure people have the best information to secure work where their skills are valued, and strengthen connections with their communities."

Jennifer Ross – Principal Relationship Manager Business and Partnerships

"My focus is to create better connections between people, projects and initiatives both regionally and nationally. I want to help build a skilled workforce and enterprise capability that results in sustainable prosperity and wellbeing for the Tai Tokerau, Northland region."

Aaron Megchelse – Relationship Manager Business and Partnerships

"My vision is to contribute to positive all-of-system collaboration across the region. I will engage with our customers to champion the intrinsic value of each learner whatever age and stage they are in life. All people have individual and collective significance that contributes to the important role they can play within New Zealand society."

Frances Fuamatu – Relationship Manager Business and Partnerships

"I want to engage and build strong connections with our education, community and workforce stakeholders to champion the career aspirations of all New Zealanders. Together, we will work towards an equitable system for all learners particularly Māori and Pacific. We will enable and guide the lifelong learning and career development planning of all learners, so they reach their full potential."

Erin Keyworth – Partnership Manager Business and Partnerships

"I am passionate about education and the difference it can make in someone’s life, and beyond that, in our communities. As a Partnership Manager I look forward to exploring how TEC can partner with different organisations, agencies, and groups that share our values and goals."

Stephen Geddes – Relationship Manager Business and Partnerships

“I am passionate about helping all Kiwis gain meaningful employment, which in turn creates strong and resilient communities. Education is the enabler of that dream. William Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”. Through my engagements, I strive to fan the flames of ongoing learning, and of individual and group aspirations that create a more prosperous New Zealand.”