Our people

The Starpath team consists of a group of leading educational quantitative and qualitative researchers. The team is supported by a Board of Governance consisting of senior representatives from the University of Auckland, the Manukau Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Education.

Director – Professor Cindy Kiro



Professor Cindy Kiro (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) joined Starpath as Director at the end of 2014. She has had a distinguished career dedicated to improving the long-term health and social-wellbeing of Māori, especially children.

Professor Kiro was Children’s Commissioner for New Zealand between 2003 and 2009. She was the first woman and first Māori in this role. In this high profile position she established a large number of Government and community-based initiatives which continue today, including a very effective public attitudes campaign on stopping Family Violence. She has held several executive health and education sector roles, including as General Manager of the Māori Health Development unit of the Auckland DHB overseeing all Māori health improvement strategies. Prior to joining Starpath she was Professor and Head of School, Te Kura Māori, Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington.

In her academic career she has established herself as a pre-eminent authority on Māori public health, health policy and children’s policy. Complementary to Starpath’s research, she is particularly interested in unlocking the potential of data and statistics to better understand the dynamics and trajectories that lead to good outcomes for Māori.

She combines her role as Starpath Director with her appointment as Te Tumu in the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

List of publications.


Director: Schools Engagement - Joy Eaton


BA, DipSM, DipTchg

Joy joined the Starpath team in early 2011 as Deputy Director. She started her career in education as a geography and social studies teacher at Tangaroa College and has since held a number of senior management roles in mid-low decile schools, including four years as principal at Henderson High School in West Auckland.

Joy has a deep academic interest in the role of hope in the sustainability of innovation and change in education and, as part of a Research Fellowship with Unitec, produced a paper entitled The Life and Death of Change. She was also invited to be part of an international research team making a comparative study of middle leadership in schools in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Recently, Joy has been actively involved in environmental education and has continued to support community work with an interest in youth mentoring, teen parent education and the issues of deprivation that create barriers to school attendance.


Research Analyst - Victoria Cockle

Victoria Cockle


In 2015 Victoria Cockle joined the Starpath team as a research analyst. She is involved in qualitative and quantitative (including mixed-methods) analysis of longitudinal Starpath data to help inform the evaluation of the effectiveness of the project. In 2016-2017 she will be working on a research project with Associate Professor Anne Hynds, investigating the quality of credits undertaken by secondary students in Starpath schools. She joins Starpath from the Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success project, and was at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre prior to that. She is currently undertaking post-graduate study in Environmental Management at the University of Auckland.


Professional Development Facilitator - Tania Linley-Richardson


MPROFST (Hons), BA (Hons), DipTchg

Tania joined Starpath in June 2014 as Professional Development Facilitator. Prior she was HOD English at Sancta Maria College and has previously worked as an English facilitator with Team Solutions. Tania is completing her Masters of Professional Studies in Education at The University of Auckland, and is interested in the areas of literacy and leadership in her studies. At Starpath Tania leads professional development for schools aimed at encouraging teachers to incorporate literacy pedagogy into their daily practice. 


Data Analyst and Facilitator - Morgan Rangi

BSc, DipTchg

Morgan's role at Starpath is as Professional Development Facilitator and Data Analyst. His recent work has been as HOD Mathematics and Statistics at Onehunga High School. He provides support for schools in the project leading staff PD sessions as well as visiting schools for data analysis around tracking and monitoring.


Research Assistant - Kapua O'Connor

MTchg(Primary), BA

Kapua O’Connor (Ngāti Kuri) joined The Starpath Project midway through 2016 after completing a Master of Teaching (Primary) at The University of Auckland/Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau. Prior to that he completed a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in English Literature and Sociology) at Victoria University of Wellington/Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui.

His main involvement in The Starpath Project is collecting student and whānau voice.

He is also studying part-time completing a Certificate of Proficiency in Education, looking at students travelling from Far North communities to secondary school.

Research Assistant - Heidi Brickell

MFA, BEd, BDes

Heidi (Ngāti Kahungungu, Rongomaiwahine) joined Starpath as a research assistant at the completion of her BEd degree, in which she specialised in Māori medium education. She also has an MFA and has written for Art NZ and Matters (an art journal) this year linking art, kaupapa Māori and education. She relief teaches at an Auckland kura kaupapa.