WITT Council

Welcome to the WITT Council

WITT Council is the governing body of the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki.  The WITT Council is constituted as follows:

Members appointed by the Minister of Tertiary Education :

  • Mary Bourke – Chair
  • Elanga Ekanayake
  • Ruakere Hond

Four members appointed by the WITT Council:

  • Allie Hemara-Wahanui
  • Cassandra Crowley
  • Rex Hendry
  • Ross Dingle


Duties of the WITT Council include:

  • Ensuring the institution attains the highest standards of excellence in education, training and research;

  • Acknowledging and adhering to  the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi;

  • Encouraging community involvement in the institution;

  • Striving to maximise the educational potential of all who choose to come to WITT;

  • Ensuring WITT does not discriminate unfairly against any person;

  • Overseeing the institution’s operation in a financially responsible manner that ensures the efficient use of resources and maintains the institution's long-term viability.


Members of the WITT Council also have obligations under the Education Act 1989, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, the State Sector Act 1988, the Crown Entities Act 2004 and the Official Information Act 1982.

Functions & duties of the WITT Council as stated in the Education Act 1989 are to:

  • Appoint a Chief Executive in accordance with the State Sector Act 1988, and monitor and evaluate his or her performance;

  • Prepare and submit a proposed Plan if the institution is seeking funding under a mechanism that provides for funding via Plans;

  • Ensure that the institution is managed in accordance with the Plan; and determine policies to implement that Plan;

  • Determine, subject to the State Sector Act 1988, the policies of the institution in relation to the management of its affairs;

  • Undertake planning relating to the institution's long-term strategic direction.

For details of the Council’s obligation under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, the State Sector Act 1988, the Crown Entities Act 2004, and the Official Information Act 1982 please follow this link http://www.legislation.govt.nz/default.aspx



Meet the Council

Mary Bourke - Chair

Mary Bourke understands well the concept of long term viability and its importance to WITT.  She also holds strong views about the importance of WITT to the whole  region.  Self-employed, specialising in independent facilitation she chaired the Taranaki District Health Board, is presiding member of the Lotteries Community facilities and Special Projects committees, and sits on the TSB community Trust, the Bishop’s Action Foundation, the F&E Rodie, Taranaki Families/Whanau, and Audio History charitable Trusts and has been involved with the Taratahi Taranaki Advisory Committee.  She wants WITT to become Taranaki’s tertiary education provider of first choice primarily for learners and importantly for prospective staff members.


Rex Hendry

NZSSM, B.A.(Soc), Dip Mgt.

“I would like to see WITT as the best little polytech in the country – a vibrant and dynamic place for students to learn and an enjoyable place for staff to work.” Rex took up growing garlic and lavender in 2005 after 35 years full-time work. He was previously an Area Manager for the Department of Conservation in Taranaki, the Operations Manager at Scott Base in Antarctica, and has also worked as a local authority planner, a professional outdoor instructor and an electrician. He is a member of the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board and a Director for LandSAR New Zealand.


Sriyan Elanga Ekanayake

Elanga Ekanayake was appointed to the WITT Council by the Minister for Tertiary Education in May 2010. He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a Fellow Chartered Secretary and a Certified Management Accountant of Australia.

Elanga was the Chief Financial Officer of Powerco Limited, the second largest energy distribution company in New Zealand for over 20 years and retired from this position just prior to joining the WITT Council. He has also worked in Papua New Guinea for many years as a Consultant Accountant of an Asian Development Bank project.

It is Elanga’s aspiration to see WITT and its wholly owned subsidiary NZIHT becoming premier tertiary education providers in Taranaki and beyond maintaining very high quality academic standards, financial stability and good governance.


Ruakere Hond

Tēnā koutou taku nui, taku rahi kei te kūreitanga o Taranaki nei puta atu ki ōna pāranga huhua noa.

My whānau connections are Taranaki. I firmly believe the distinctive form of our local language, culture and history is a critical factor for Taranaki Māori communities to be fully engaged in education.  I have been keenly involved with adult education in the community and institutions since the 1980’s, especially in reo Māori immersion teaching and community development. It is inspiring to see the progress of Māori studies in WITT, which continues to be innovative and forward thinking. This supports WITT in being a pivotal facilitator of significant social, cultural and economic achievement in Taranaki by working alongside community initiatives and playing a major part in responding to local aspirations for growth and development. 

Heoti anō rā e ōku karangamaha, rarau mai ki tēnei puna mātauranga.  Mā wai kē te puna nei e hurahura? Māu, māku, mā tātou!