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.

List of publications.


Director: Research – Associate Professor Anne Hynds


PhD, MA, PGDipEd, BA, DipTchg

Associate Professor Anne Hynds is a researcher and teacher. She has considerable experience working with secondary schools to build stronger equity-focused relationships with Māori and Pacific communities. She began her career in deaf education, and has taught in mainstream primary, intermediate and high school settings.

With Starpath she continues a long-term academic interest in improving learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific. Her research is concerned with the contribution that quality teaching can make to a socially just society; developing culturally responsive and inclusive pedagogy; resistance to change in equity-minded school reforms; and building solidarity between diverse groups located across school communities.

She has worked on a number of bi-cultural evaluation projects including the National Evaluation of Te Kotahitanga; the coordination of the Quality Teaching Research and Development in Practice Project; the National Evaluation of Te Kauhua: Maori in the mainstream pilot project; and most recently as the Director, He Kākano National Evaluation, based at the Victoria University of Wellington.

Associate Professor Hynds joined Starpath in late 2014. As Director: Research, she will oversee Starpath’s research and writing programme.

List of publications


Deputy Director - 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.


Senior Research Fellow - Dr Irena Madjar



Qualitative Research Coordinator

Irena Madjar, a European New Zealander of Ruthenian background, has worked in nursing education and health research in New Zealand and Australia. Her particular area of expertise is in qualitative research methods and she has a long-standing interest in cross-cultural issues in health and education and in research ethics. She joined Starpath in 2007 and has led a small qualitative research team as well as providing support across the project as a whole.

Full list of publications


Senior Research Fellow - Dr Earl Irving


PhD, MEdAdmin(Hons), BA, BEd, DipTchg

Quantitative Research Coordinator

Earl Irving was a secondary mathematics teacher for 29 years, as well as a deputy principal for 13 of those years prior to joining The University of Auckland in 1999. He has extensive knowledge and experience in assessment as a School Certificate examiner in mathematics, and as a manager on Project asTTle for four years, with responsibility for item development and curriculum alignment. Earl has lectured on assessment to undergraduate and graduate courses, and is a co-author of a textbook on assessment and evaluation. He is involved in regular research around student conceptions of assessment, feedback and learning, using survey methodologies and quantitative analysis.



Tania Linley-Richardson


BA (Hons), DipTchg

Professional Development Facilitator

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. 


Megan Jeffries

Project Coordinator

Megan Jeffries joined Starpath in May 2014 from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee where she was Communications and Administration Officer. Megan has many years of experience working with and for the University in various projects. Megan will coordinate operations for both the Starpath and Building on Success projects, ensuring all administrative functions are met for both.


Kezia Kelly



Kezia joined Starpath in May 2014 as administrator. She recently graduated with a BA in English and a BSc in Psychology from The University of Auckland. Kezia has a strong interest in the areas of critical and feminist psychology and how these approaches might inform and change traditional methods and practices of treating psychopathology.  Kezia provides administrative support to Starpath team members ensuring the efficient delivery of the Starpath project to schools.