Mon 27 Mar 2017

New researcher for WITT

WITT’s new Research and Innovation Manager is tasking herself with getting the polytech’s students and staff competing for funding at a national as well as an international level.

Lily George will be welcomed to WITT at 9am on Monday with a powhiri having completed her last day at Massey this week.

The end of a near-22 year journey in Auckland at Massey signals the start of a step onto new ground.

Despite sharing the same surname with WITT chief Barbara George, a Taranaki native, Lily George says Taranaki will be fresh fields for her.

She has been recruited to help drive research and innovation and assist staff and students compete for research funding domestically and internationally.

“The opportunity I saw in coming to WITT was the challenge and also the chance to be creative and innovative. I look forward to the opportunity of advancing the research culture and systems that currently exist at WITT.’’

Barbara George said she was thrilled to have Lily George joining the WITT team.

“In our recruitment we look for those talented professionals who see our challenges as opportunities and want to take a team approach to excellent outcomes for our learners.  We will learn a lot from Lily, and she will learn from us too.  It’s another great milestone in the WITT story.”

Lily George say the move south puts greater distance between her and her three grandchildren – “but you have an airport.’’

She entered the education sector late in life as a single mother relying on a benefit– and echoes the comments of many later starters by acknowledging it opened doors she never imagined stepping through. She gained her doctorate in social anthropology in 2010 following research with Awataha Marae in Auckland that explored innovation of Māori tradition through three periods of cultural renaissance.

Her investigations into Maori women’s experiences of incarceration encouraged the Corrections Department to develop new rehabilitation approaches and she has also developed two suicide prevention programmes for young people.

Dr  George, of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine and Ngātiwai, also uses her research skills to build research capacity and capability in Tai Tokerau and plans to continue doing so. She gained a Strategic Innovation Fund grant last year to run Te Tai Tokerau Research Symposium in Whangarei to encourage engagement between people in Northland communities and Māori researchers located in tertiary institutions.

Massey staff from Auckland will be present at Monday’s powhiri.