Damon Salesa confirmed as new Vice-Chancellor of AUT

The University of Auckland congratulates Pro Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) Associate Professor Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa, who has been appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the neighbouring Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said that Dr Salesa’s appointment is testimony to his significant contribution to the sector, to his scholarship and his standing in the region.

“Damon was not only this University’s first PVC Pacific, but also the first person appointed specifically to that role at a university in New Zealand, and effectively the world. He has set a high benchmark, leading the way on integrating Pacific priorities into the University, supporting staff, students, and stakeholders. and contributing significantly to the University’s strategic Taumata Teitei.

As well as his responsibilities as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr Salesa serves on the Executive Committee tasked with the strategic leadership and governance and was previously Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement and co-head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori Studies & Pacific Studies).

A prize-winning scholar specialising in the study of colonialism, empire, government, and race, Dr Salesa has a particular interest in the Pacific Islands, working on education, economics, and development in the Pacific region, including Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

After graduating from the University of Auckland (1997) he completed his studies at Oxford University, the first person of Pacific descent to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. This year he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of his “outstanding interdisciplinary contribution to Pacific Studies”.

In announcing the news this morning (15 November), AUT Chancellor Rob Campbell said the appointment panel was impressed by Dr Salesa’s vision for the role AUT can play in the social and economic transformation of Aotearoa New Zealand. He will take up the appointment in 2022.

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