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Hon Steve Maharey, CNZM, BA, MA (Hons)


The opportunity to shape the future and spread great ideas is what drives me.

I am a strategic thinker with a proven record of leadership and management.

I am a strong communicator who enjoys supporting people to achieve their best.

I work hard and get results.

I have developed a unique mix of skills as an academic sociologist, a City Councillor, a Member of Parliament, a Senior Cabinet Minister, a Director and a Vice-Chancellor. 

A bit about my life

I left school at age 15 to work for the Valuation department (Quotable New Zealand) and went on to become a retail manager before deciding that I needed further education if I was to have more opportunities.

I paid my way through university by working as a gardener and a professional musician. 

When I asked myself what I was truly interested in, I unearthed a fascination with change.

It is this fascination that led me into academic life as a university based sociologist.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I was heavily involved through my teaching and writing in organisational change as a Junior Lecturer in Business Administration and then as a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the effort to understand the enormous changes taking place in New Zealand society.

I was elected as a City Councillor in the mid-1980s, while still an academic, at a time of major change in the economy of regional New Zealand. I set about establishing one of the first economic development agencies in New Zealand following an extensive study tour of Britain.

In 1990 I entered Parliament as the Member of Parliament for Palmerston North and spent the next nine years as a senior member of the Opposition party developing policies across a wide range of portfolios.

I became a Senior Cabinet Minister in 1999 and had the opportunity to implement many of the policies I had developed in areas such as education, higher education, social development, employment, broadcasting, housing, youth and community organisations.

In 2008 I stepped down from Cabinet to take up the position of Vice-Chancellor (Chief Executive) of Massey University based in Palmerston North, Wellington and Albany (Auckland).  Massey University has 3000 staff, 30,000 domestic and 4,500 international students from 100 countries. Massey's operating budget of $440 million is earned from a mix of public funding, commercial activity and philanthropy. It teaches both on campus and distance students as well as operating globally. Like all universities, Massey is working its way through a period of major change in response to major drivers in its environment.

I left Massey University at the end of 2016 to set up a portfolio of governance roles and offer my expertise through governance, commentary and consulting to anyone wanting to come to grips with our changing world.

You can find more details about my career on my LinkedIn profile.

In case you wondered

I offer both academic and practical expertise developed over three decades.

I have travelled extensively and worked in many countries.

I have contributed to 11 books and am a frequent contributor to all forms of media. Google me to find examples of my publications and speeches, or check out my Publications page.

I was awarded the Companion of New Zealand Medal (CNZM) in 2008.

My non-work interests include family (including our dog), tramping, mountain and road biking, travel, gardening, food, reading and music.  

You can find more details about my career on my LinkedIn profile.