First state house tenant among new HNZ board appointments

Housing and Urban Development

Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford has announced the appointment of three new members of the board of Housing New Zealand (HNZ), including the first state house tenant to be on its board since the corporation was created in 2001.

“I want Housing New Zealand to be a world class public housing landlord that better meets the needs of families who live in state houses. I believe that the appointments of Leigh Auton, Dr Huhana Hickey and Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman will help provide the direction that we need to make this happen,” says Phil Twyford.

Huhana Hickey has recently completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Auckland University of Technology. She is a panel member of the Human Rights Review Tribunal and received her PhD in Laws and Social Sciences in 2008. Dr Hickey is a community and disability activist and is or has been on the boards of a wide number of NGOs and community groups.  She is a tenant of HNZ and will be the first member to bring that perspective to the board since HNZ was created. That will be valuable to HNZ as it changes to be a tenant focused organisation.

Leigh Auton was the Chief Executive of Manukau City Council until the formation of the new Auckland Council in 2010. He is currently a Trustee of Sistema Aotearoa, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Habitat for Humanity Greater Auckland and Teach First NZ. He is Chair of the Pulman Park Trust and the Papakura Kootuitui Trust. Mr Auton has extensive governance experience and an understanding and empathy with HNZ’s tenant base and the many and varied issues they face. He has a thorough understanding of how large organisations work and the systems and processes required to deliver operationally. 

Philippa Howden-Chapman is a Professor at the Otago University Medical School who specialises in public health, with a particular focus on housing, energy, climate change and sustainable cities. She is a winner of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Science Prize. Professor Howden-Chapman was a member of the Independent Housing Stocktake Group and is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Housing and Urban Development. Her experience in conducting research with and on HNZ over nearly two decades will enable her to make a significant contribution to the Board.

These appointments follow the recent appointment of Vui Mark Gosche as Deputy Chair of the board.