Dr Sandra Grey takes up the reins as the new national secretary of Te Hautū Kahurangi |Tertiary Education Union today. She takes over the role from Sharn Riggs who is retiring and who has held the role since the TEU’s inception in 2009.

With a PhD from the Australian National University, Dr Grey comes from a long background in academia, unionism, and social justice movements. She is a political scientist who tutored at the University of Auckland and the ANU, and was a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington for eight years.

Grey was the president of the Postgraduate Student Association at the ANU and has an honorary life membership for her work with the NZ Union of Students Associations.

She has served two terms as president of the TEU and for a year has worked as the union’s campaigns and communications officer.

Current TEU President Michael Gilchrist says Dr Grey is well placed to lead the union through the many challenges it faces, including the impact of the current pandemic on tertiary education and the issues it is creating for workers throughout the sector.

‘Sandra is a proven change-maker, both for our union and for the tertiary education sector more broadly. Members have seen her lead the union through many campaigns, including our campaign for the Reform of Vocational Education. Now the Government is stepping up to address the failing polytechnic system and providing a much stronger and more coherent system of education and training for our country’s future.

Gilchrist says “We are very fortunate to have a leader of her depth and dynamism, with decades of research and activism both in tertiary education and in broader political realms, taking up this position. She will be a worthy successor to Sharn Riggs, who leaves us as one of the most experienced and effective leaders the New Zealand union movement has seen in recent times.”