Our Board of Directors


Adam La Hood (Chair)

CA, BCom, DipGradAcctg, MINSTD

Adam is a Chartered Accountant with extensive financial experience both here in New Zealand and Overseas in a diverse range of industries including Construction, Mining, Hospitality, Insurance, Social Housing, and Financial Services. Along with the financial experience his executive and corporate background brings a skill set in strategy, risk management, health and safety, and internal controls. Adam also serves on the board of Dunedin Venues Management Limited and is the Chief Financial Officer for Cook Brothers Construction. Being born and bred in Dunedin he is passionate about Dunedin being a great place to work and live and sees Otago Polytechnic as a key strategic asset for the city.



Paul Allison


Paul resides in Central Otago was appointed to the Otago Polytechnic Council in 2014. He has wide spread governance and business experience having served on boards within the health, retail, education, energy, sport and community funding sectors. He also has over 20 years’ leadership experience as Chief Executive of sector leading organisations. He is currently chairman of Infinite Energy Limited, the Otago Rugby Union’s board appointments panel, is a director of Waitaki District Health Services Limited, Central Otago Health Services Limited, University Bookshop (Otago) and is also a member of The Lion Foundation South Island grants committee. Paul has previously been a board member of Sport NZ and is a life trustee of the Halberg Foundation. He has an extensive background in communications and the media sector with over 30 years involvement as a television and radio broadcaster.

In 2015 Paul was recognised for his services to sport when he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.



Mike Collins


Mike Collins is the Executive Director People, Culture and Technology at the Southern District Health Board. Previously Mike was the Director of the Learning Environment and the Director of Service Excellence at Otago Polytechnic with a passion for creating dynamic working environments. Having been a CIO for 20 years and working in executive teams Mike believes a successful organisation requires a clear strategy with innovative aspirations supported by people working within an empowering culture.



Maryann Geddes

BCom, Dip.BS (Dispute Resolution) MINSTD

Maryann is based in Queenstown and worked in a senior management role in the tourism industry for 25 years, primarily in human resources, training and development, risk and compliance. Maryann has a Ministerial appointment to the Council of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and is a Director of SIT Invercargill, ARA Christchurch, Otago Polytechnic and ServiceIQ. Other governance roles have included a Ministerial appointment to the Establishment Board of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, RNZRSA, Tourism Industry Association, Southland Otago Employers Association, Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation, and the Hospitality Standards Institute.



Justin Lester

LLB and BA (German), University of Otago, LLM, Heidelberg University

Justin has extensive government and private sector governance and management experience. Justin served as Mayor of Wellington and previously as Deputy Mayor. He now serves as the Board Chair of Weltec Whitireia, is a Board Member at Otago Polytechnic, Chair of Storbie, an Ambassador with Simplicity Kiwisaver and the Government Director at Dot Loves Data. Justin has a Masters in Laws from Heidelberg University in Germany and conjoint Laws and Arts degrees from the University of Otago.



Karen Coutts

Karen Coutts


Karen Coutts is a professional governor having previously been a senior public servant. Her current governance roles include the New Zealand Parole Board, HSNO Committee EPA and Moeraki Representative, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Director Transparency International NZ. Previous roles include Hospital Advisory Committee, Capital and Coast DHB, Deputy Chair Wellink, Chair He Oranga Pounamu. Her management roles have been in within government at the operational and policy management levels which included significant direct work with Ministers and Cabinet as part of her machinery of government experience. Her earlier career was in social services/health but laterly was in economic development including being an advisor at the Reserve Bank NZ.She has had over-sight of large and diverse economic portfolios through her management and governance roles. Karen brings a skill set in Māori –particularly economic – development, strategy, governance data, regional infrastructure, diversity of population and business interests and climate change responses. Her interest in ROVE stems from this opportunity to develop a workforce fit-for-purpose in a technology based 21st century global economy and the economic benefits that will come to NZ to be inclusive of all citizens.

Karen affiliates to Ngāi Tahu (primarily Moeraki and is on the Executive Rūnanga Committee as Treasurer) and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki.