The University Advisory Group will provide the government with advice on New Zealand’s university system.

The members, from a variety of backgrounds, are highly respected within their fields. This group will meet regularly to develop their advice and recommendations.

The advisory group members are:

Sir Peter Gluckman (chair)

Alastair MacCormick (deputy chair)

John Allen

Arihia Bennett

Phil O’Reilly

Dame Paula Rebstock

Sir David Skegg

Bella Takiari-Brame

Advisory group members

Peter Gluckman

Sir Peter Gluckman

Chair, Science System Advisory Group
Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Sir Peter Gluckman is the President of the International Science Council (ISC) and the Director of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures.

From 2009–2018, he was the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. During 2014–2021, he was the inaugural Chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA). He was also Science Envoy for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and coordinated the Secretariat of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative. He has written and spoken extensively on science-policy and science-diplomacy and science-society interactions.

In 2021, he was appointed Chair of the International Advisory Group to give independent advice on the assessment of the UK higher education research performance to the Future Research Assessment Programme (FRAP) via the FRAP Board.

Alastair MacCormick

Deputy Chair

Dr Alastair MacCormick, of Auckland, is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland and consultant and director. He was previously the Dean of Business and Economics and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Auckland. Alastair has been a Commissioner on the TEC Board of Commissioners since 2017 and is Chair of the Board’s Risk and Assurance Committee.

Alastair’s other governance roles include Chair of the Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital, member of the Callaghan Innovation Grants Committee, and chair and trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. In 2022, he was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tertiary education and the community.

John Allen

John Allen is Chief Executive of WellingtonNZ, the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency and Chancellor at Victoria University Wellington – Te Herenga Waka. He Chairs the Barnardos Board of Directors and sits on the advisory board of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures, and Wellington Uni-Professional.

John has held a number of senior business leadership positions including as Chief Executive of New Zealand Post, Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Racing Board. A former Partner of Rudd Watts & Stone, specialising in commercial and public policy issues, John has also been a visiting Lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington. He is an experienced company director having been on Boards including Kiwibank, Datacom, Te Papa, The New Zealand Festival, New Zealand Stroke Foundation.

Arihia Bennett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) 


Ms Bennett has recently stepped down from her role Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, where she had been Chief Executive since 2012. She is also Chair of Kāpuia – the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on the Christchurch mosques.

In 2008 Ms Bennett was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and the community. She is a member of the Ombudsman’s Office’s Pūhara Mana Tangata Māori advisory panel, and the patron of Royal New Zealand Police College’s Wing 362. She has held several other advisory roles and directorships, including Commissioner of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission, and has worked collaboratively with other leaders across Ōtautahi Christchurch to advise on the city’s redevelopment. She was previously on the boards of two non-profit social service providers.   

Phil O’Reilly


Phil O’Reilly is Managing Director of Iron Duke Partners, a Wellington-based public policy advisory firm. 

He was previously the Chair of the Board of Business at OECD, based in Paris, which is the representative of businesses in OECD member states and was a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation based in Geneva. He has worked closely with the B20, advising G20 leaders and was also a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

He has acted in both governance and advisory capacities to a number of New Zealand and overseas organisations in areas as diverse as trade, sustainability, diversity, pay equity, manufacturing, tertiary education, child poverty, social welfare and the future of work. He was previously Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s leading business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes. 

Dame Paula Rebstock


Dame Paula Rebstock is an Auckland-based economist and company director. She is Chair Asia Pacific Healthcare Group and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia. Moreover, Dame Paula is Deputy Chair of NZX Ltd, and a Director of Vector Ltd and AIA Sovereign Insurance New Zealand. She was formerly Chair of the Commerce Commission, the Accident Compensation Corporation, and of Kiwi Group Holdings Ltd., and was Deputy Chair of KiwiRail.

Dame Paula was the New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year in 2007. In 2009 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for public services. She was appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the State in 2016. Dame Paula received the 2016 Deloitte Top 200 Prize for Excellence in Corporate Governance (on behalf of the ACC Board) and the 2017 NZIER Economics Award.

Sir David Skegg


Sir David Skegg is a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, having previously led the largest department in that university for many years.  After training in medicine in New Zealand, he was a Rhodes scholar and then a lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Oxford. 

As well as chairing the Health Research Council, the Public Health Commission and the New Zealand Science Board, he served as President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, which is the national academy for science, technology and the humanities.  He was also the inaugural Chair of the Matariki Network of Universities.

Bella Takiari-Brame (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui)

Bella is a Fellow Chartered Accountant with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.  She is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand and  has extensive background in the energy and utilities sector.

Bella is a professional director and holds public and private sector positions nationally and locally including Deputy Chair of Te Nehenehenui Trust (Maniapoto), Chair of the Lines Company, Board Member of ACC, Director on Te Ohu Kai Moana and Aotearoa Fisheries Limited (Moana).