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Susan Cullen

Susan Cullen

Māori Party candidate for
Hauraki Waikato

Ngāti Maniapoto

Professor Susan Cullen has had a 25-year career as an educational enterprise and community development entrepreneur, starting in her early 20s as a self-employed research consultant. She built a research and development agency specializing in evaluative research, community and training needs analysis and designing programmes for community and employment development through the 1990s.

In the late 1990s she created and delivered the Mahi Ora and Kiwi Ora programmes through Te Wananga o Aotearoa within her own New Zealand private training establishment, employing over 200 staff and contract community workers or ‘kaitiaki’ to implement the national programmes. She also designed the curriculum, study guides; documentaries and learning assessments for a general New Zealand audience called Lifeworks, which was a programme offered by New Zealand’s largest distance tertiary provider, the Open Polytechnic. During the decade of 2000- 2010 the Wananga and Open Polytechnic provided these programmes for free to over 120,000 students nationally.

Her focus on culturally attuned educational development, and ensuring accessibility for learning influenced the design of curriculum within Te Wananga o Aotearoa and earned her an adjunct professorship from the institution in 2004.

Susan has been an active supporter of Maori community and iwi economic development, and worked internationally in Australia and USA on indigenous education.

She is currently treasurer for one of New Zealand’s first primary partnership schools based in South Auckland, the Rise Up Academy. The school focuses on Pacific Island and Maori children and their families.

She also is a council member of the Northland Polytechnic; Northtec, with a keen interest in governance of tertiary institutions.

Susan and her husband own dairy farming operations in Southland New Zealand.


  1. avatar
    Maureen Mildon

    I would like to invite Prof Susan Cullen to a Public Debate in Hamilton. Could you please send me her contact details.

  2. avatar

    I chair the national Computers in Homes programme and I was impressed with your comments in Hauraki Herald on 25 July about ideas for linking te reo with our Computers in Homes programme. The programme is indebted to Tariana Turia for championing the programme in the corridors of power. Hope you get the opportunity to continue to carry the torch. I have also noted your involvement with the Rise Up Academy and would like to discuss with you our plans for expanding the reach of Computers in Homes in South Auckland,. whether or not you are successful in the coming election. Please let me know where you are based and when might be a good time for a chat.

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