Thu 1 Dec 2016

Back home for new execs

WITT is bringing Taranaki talent home to fill two posts and complete its executive team.

 Rod Bentham, on WITT's staff from 1999 to 2007 will return as its new Academic Director and Dion Maaka, formerly with Parininihi ki Waitotara, has been named new Chief Financial Officer.

Dion Maaka fills the position vacated when Joel Lieschke left earlier this year to take up a position in Canterbury while Rod Bentham's appointment sees a return to a full time academic director after a period in which the position was shared between contractors and senior academic staff.

Rob Bentham was born and raised in Spotswood and holds a Master of Public Management from Victoria University's School of Government.

His previous work at WITT was primarily as a programme leader in broadcasting and included a role as acting head of Media and Communication

He has spent almost 10 years in a leadership role at NZQA where main highlights have included leading the implementation of the mandatory review of qualifications in key discipline areas, such as business and teacher education and contributing to the design and implementation of Youth Guarantee initiatives.

"I'm excited about bringing the skills and knowledge gained from working on a wide range of education initiatives and reform to the Academic Director position at Witt," he said.

"I'm looking forward to working with the team to ensure learners have the best possible education experience when they choose WITT."

He said it was a bonus for him and wife Lianne to return to "the lifestyle capital of New Zealand".

WITT chief Barbara George said Rod Bentham  would oversee the academic compliance aspects of WITT and its quality.

"In other words, getting the business as usual right and implementing a robust plan to lift our performance and sustainability as an institute that thrives into the future."

Dion Maaka (Ngaruahine iwi) has been a chartered accountant for 15 years and is a former Stratford High School student whose qualifications include a Bachelor of Business Studies major -  accountancy and Postgraduate Diploma in AgriCommerce from Massey University.

He worked overseas in Melbourne and London for a decade in financial roles before returning to Taranaki as Parininihi ki Waitotara's General Manager, Corporate Services

 "I have a passion for all things Taranaki and I'm proud to be employed as the new Chief Financial Officer for WITT," he said.

He and wife Clare and children Jake and Aliyah come to WITT after a year in Dublin.

Barbara George said Dion Maaka will oversee WITT's business development to ensure its sustainability, and business intelligence to ensure its viability.

"This appointment completes the executive team at Witt. It has taken some time to find candidates with the right capability and fit, to ensure that Witt not only survives, but thrives.

"A major criteria for these two roles was that the successful candidate had Taranaki hearts," she said.

 Both men start their new roles in January