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:

  • Robin Brockie – Chair
  • Lyal French-Wright - Deputy
  • 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

Robin Brockie - Chair

Robin Brockie is a recently retired partner of the chartered accounting practice of Staples Rodway Taranaki Limited (formerly with Ernst & Young). Mr Brockie’s governance experience includes roles with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, Venture Taranaki Trust, Tui Ora Limited, Anglican Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki and the Taranaki Arts Community Trust. He received a Queen’s Service Medal in 2016 for services to the community.



Lyal French-Wright

Lyal French-Wright has been CEO of the Taranaki law firm, Govett Quilliam, since 2012. At Govett Quilliam, his focus is on the strategic vision, implementation of the strategic plan, and the growth and development of the firm. Before this, Mr French-Wright was Executive Principal of the Al Khor International School in Qatar and the Headmaster at New Plymouth Boys' High School.


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!


Allie Hemara-Wahanui

Mai Parininihi ki Waitotara, Tihei Mauriora
Allie has a long history in Māori development having worked for the public and private sectors growing Māori
capability. She is the General Manager – Stakeholder Engagements for Parininihi ki Waitotara Inc (PKW) and was motivated to join Council because of WITT’s ongoing commitment to Taranaki and the strategic flagships. Her whānau whakapapa to Ngaruahine where she was actively involved in negotiating a treaty settlement for Ngaruahine after completing the fisheries settlement as well. Allie is also an MBA student
with Massey University.
Nō reira te te mounga, mai ngā kete e toru, ka hāpaitia te whānau


Cassandra Crowley

Cassandra Crowley joined the WITT Council in 2013 after returning to Taranaki after 16 years away from the region. A Chartered Accountant and Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, Cassandra is an independent director on Student Job Search Aotearoa and the industry training organisation the Skills Organisation. Cassandra is also and is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand Council. She is the Kaitumuaki for Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust based in Hawera. Cassandra’s vision for WITT is that it is a sustainable institute that is supported by, and delivering to the needs of, the entire Taranaki community.


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.


Ross Dingle

Ross is CEO of TenderLink a digital procurement platform provider owned by Fairfax Media. Ross is responsible for strategic direction and overall management of operations across Australia and New Zealand.
Previously, Ross has held senior finance and operations positions at Fletcher Challenge Energy, KCL Property, and Doctor Global. Ross has a strong interest in seeing the youth of Taranaki succeed through education and sport. Previous posts include Chairman of Spotswood College Board of Trustees, and West End School Board of Trustees. Ross is currently President of Taranaki Triathlon, and Patrol Director at New Plymouth Old Boys Surf Lifesaving Club.