The Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Council has announced Dr Neil Barns as the interim chief executive for the merged institution.

Council Chairperson Cathy Cooney said the appointment was the next step forward for the new institution.

"As we near the May 1 merger date, it is important to ensure a seamless transition and maintain strong leadership to drive the new institution in its role in enhancing the social and economic development of the wider region," she said.

Dr Barns brings a wealth of experience in tertiary education management. He was previously chief executive of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

He is currently a member of the Education New Zealand board and has been the deputy chair of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology since 2010.


As a consultant Dr Barns has worked with many institutes, central government agencies, and on a range of international education projects.

Dr Barns started his role on March 31 and will support the current chief executives with the various merger workstreams in preparation for May 1.

From that point he will be taking over as interim chief executive of the new institution until the chief executive of the new institution is appointed.

Next steps for the council include holding a series of stakeholder engagement meetings to discuss the intended name of the new institution and its aspirations.

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