Professor Cindy Kiro

PhD (Massey University), MBA (University of Auckland), BA (University of Auckland)

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Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori
In: Maori


Professor Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) and Chair of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group for the Government.

Professor Kiro has worked extensively in roles that improve life outcomes for children and young people who experience social marginalisation or exclusion: focusing upon equity and diversity as a constructive contributor to society.

She was New Zealand’s 4th Children’s Commissioner -establishing the Taskforce for Action on Family Violence, the largest ever response to family violence that included 22 government department Chief Executives, Chief District Court Judge, NZ Police Commissioner, Principal Family Court Judge, Chief Families Commissioner, five NGO Chief Executives, and Māori and Pacific Island representatives. A large number of initiatives arose from this Taskforce, including a very effective public attitudes campaign on stopping family violence.

Professor Kiro has held many senior roles in the health sector, academia and community organisations - straddling social work, public health and education.

Awards recognizing these contributions include US Fulbright Travel Award (2012); Public Health Champion Award (2012); and Māori of the Year: Community Service Award, from NZ’s state TV broadcaster (2013).

Research | Current

  • The Starpath Project (2014-)
  • E² Equity and Excellence, Communities of Learners, Ministry of Education (2016-)
  • National Centre for Lifecourse Research (, University of Otago (2016-)

Postgraduate supervision

Current Supervision


  • Maia Hetaraka, "Ko au, ko koe, ko tātou", 1st supervisor
  • Riripeti Haretuku "Narratives of Māori Whānau who have experienced SIDS/SUI", 1st supervisor
  • Tania Cliffe "How can cultural identity act as a protective factor to reduce Māori youth offending?", 2nd supervisor

PhD Candidate

  • Kapua O'Connor, "What do stories tell us about ways students from Tāmaki Makaurau conceptualise success?", 1st supervisor


  • Sharon Fernée, "The Last Tool in the Toolbox; how Activity Centres are experienced by students", 1st supervisor

Completed Masters

  • Michael Wilkinson, "A Matter of Priority: Implications for Leadership and Equity", 1st supervisor


  • Millenium Medal, Waitakere City Council (2001)
  • Poutama Award, Barnados (2009)
  • Public Health Champion Award, Public Health Association of New Zealand (2012)
  • Maori of the Year Award for Community Contribution, Television New Zealand (2012)
  • Judging Panel, Prime Ministers Excellence Awards in Education (2015-2016)


  • Te Tumu, Maori Strategic Leadership, Faculty of Education and Social Work (2014-)
  • Director, The Starpath Project (2014-)
  • Director UoA Atlantic Fellowship for Social Equity (2016-)
  • Director, Tai Tokerau Campus (2017-)

Areas of expertise

  • Child health and wellbeing
  • Maori development
  • Equity and education

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Trustee, National Hauora Coalition (2011-)
  • Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum, Ministry of Education (2014-)
  • Runanga, University of Auckland (2014-)
  • Staffing Committee, Faculty of Education and Social Work (2014-)
  • Advisor, New Zealand Treasury (2016-)
  • Advisory Board/Governance Board, National Centre for Lifecourse Research, University of Otago (2016-)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Theodore, R., Gollop, M., Tustin, K., Taylor, N., Kiro, C. A., Taumoepeau, M., ... Poulton, R. (2017). Māori University success: what helps and hindes qualification completion. Alternative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 13 (2), 122-130. 10.1177/1177180117700799
  • Theodore, R., Tustin, K., Kiro, C., Gollop, M., Taumoepeau, M., Taylor, N., ... Poulton, R. (2016). Māori university graduates: indigenous participation in higher education. Higher Education Research and Development, 35 (3), 604-618. 10.1080/07294360.2015.1107883
  • Hynds, A., Webber, M., Irving, E., Cockle, V., Wilson, A., Bendikson, L., ... Kiro, C. (2015). The Starpath Project for Tertiary Participation and Success: What have we learnt about equity and excellence in low-mid decile secondary schools?. Paper presented at Te Toroa Titiro Tawhiti: Emancipation through Education, Whakatāne, New Zealand. 17 November - 20 November 2015. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Aaron Wilson, Melinda Webber
  • Kiro, C. (2015). Rights of Indigenous Children to Education. Paper presented at Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga: The Rights of Indigenous Children to Education, Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 28 October - 28 October 2015. Related URL.
  • Kiro, C., Hynds, A., Eaton, J., Rangi, M., McTaggart, S., Cockle, V., & Irving, E. (2015). An update on the Starpath Project. Paper presented at Compass Spring Seminar Series, University of Auckland, Fale Pasifika Complex. 28 September - 28 September 2015. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stephen Mctaggart
  • Kiro, C., & Dreaver, M. (2015). Treaty on the Ground: Transformations - Context Setters. Paper presented at Treaty on the Ground - Dialogue & Difference, Crisis & Response, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland, New Zealand. 6 July - 8 July 2015. Context Setters. Related URL.
  • Kiro, C. (2013). Kua puawai ngā tamariki: The blossoming of our children. In S. Katene, M. Mulholland (Eds.) Future challenges for Māori: He kōrero anamata (pp. 169-176). Wellington, New Zealand: Huia Publishers.
  • Kiro, C., Von Randow, M., & Sporle, A. (2010). Trends in Wellbeing for Māori Households/Families, 1981-2006. Auckland, New Zealand: Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Auckland. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin von Randow, Andrew Sporle


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 222
New Zealand

Web links