Public Policy Institute Team

Professor Jennifer Curtin – Director

Jennifer is a Professor of Politics and the Director of the Public Policy Institute. Her research focuses on Australian and New Zealand politics and policy, gender, policy analysis and political leadership and involves engagement with a range of government agencies, policy consultancies and non-profit organisations. Jennifer teaches comparative public policy, lesson drawing and gender analysis in the Master of Public Policy and she is the PhD Adviser for Public Policy. Jennifer publishes in scholarly outlets, peer-reviewed reports, and policy briefings and regularly shares her findings with national and international organisations and the media. Jennifer leads externally funded projects on Gender Responsive Budgeting, the Gendered Effects of COVID19, Gender and Political Leadership at the Subnational Level in Australia and Canada, and is a Principal Investigator on the New Zealand Election Study.

Dr Suzanne Woodward

Associate Director Research Impact
Knowledge Translation Specialist

Suzanne’s work has a strong social focus in terms of equity and research impact through partner engagement and knowledge mobilisation. She works directly with marginalised communities to improve their wellbeing. Her work also produces recommendations for improved policies and procedures in a range of areas, including social justice, infrastructure, health and technology. As part of the Public Policy Institute, she also works with a number of research collaborators on environmental, health and technology policy and implementation, most recently on a project about Kaumātua and intergenerational homes.

Dr Timothy Fadgen

Associate Director Postgraduate Programmes

Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations and Programme Director of Master of Public Policy. Tim’s research has explored public policy and law in the areas of mental health and disability, immigration, deportation and asylum policy. Tim’s current research considers aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand’s immigration policy and how legal practitioners use the law to advocate for client’s facing deportation. Tim is a former Fulbright (Public Policy) Fellow and Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies postdoctoral fellow. He practiced law in the United States, American Samoa and Samoa, including handling immigration and asylum claims, is a member of the Maine bar (USA) and is admitted before the United States Supreme Court.

Adam White

Research Co-ordinator

Adam has worked at the University as an administrator for over 20 years and for the PPI since 2021. He has a BA Hons in History from UCL and a Diploma in Management from Birkbeck College at the University of London. Prior to coming to NZ, he had roles in the Health Service  and Central and Local Government in the United Kingdom.

Victoria Woodman

Research Analyst

Victoria is a research analyst for the PPI, with research focused on gender and representation, political discourse and policy studies. Victoria is a graduate teaching assistant for the Master of Public Policy and is currently completing her PhD at the University of Auckland. 

Dr Komathi Kolandai

Research Fellow

Dr Komathi Kolandai (Komie) has over 12 years of post-PhD research experience in multiple disciplines. She is presently involved in several research projects at the Public Policy Institute and COMPASS Research Centre, including the gendered impact of COVID-19, gendering wellbeing indicators, gender-responsive analysis and budgeting, COVID-related environmental attitudes, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19 vaccination policies, and international equity in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. She is also collaborating with researchers from the Queensland University of Technology and Victoria University of Wellington on a study focused on media framing and coverage of the underlying causes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Komie has a long-standing commitment to conservation and substantial paid and voluntary work experiences in the environmental and sustainability fields. Prior to academic roles, she was the coordinator of an award-winning World Wide Fund for Nature ecological education project in Malaysia. She was also involved in multiple environmental and social advocacy campaigns, international lobbying, and policy advocacy work with the Pesticide Action Network. Her transdisciplinary research outputs include solutions for sustainability based on the integration of knowledge from community stakeholders, non-academic participants, ecological sciences, and social sciences (including media, communication, and social psychology).


Dr Mohammad Salimifar

Lecturer in Public Policy

Mohammad is a lecturer at the Public Policy Institute, University of Auckland. He joined the institute in 2020 and since then has been involved in teaching (economics of public policy – POLICY 702 and 743) and supervising dissertations for the Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme. Mohammad obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Auckland, where he was awarded MSA and EETNZ doctoral scholarships for his thesis, “Institutions and the Environment”. Mohammad holds a BSc in Business Economics and MA in Economic Development and Planning, and has teaching and research experience in the Department of Economics and Graduate School of Management (University of Auckland). His research interest is in environmental economics with a focus on cross-country empirical analysis.

Dr Oluwakemi Temitope Igiebor

Research Fellow

A Research Fellow and lecturer for the Master of Public Policy, Kemi holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Prior to her doctoral studies, Kemi lectured at the Department of Public Administration, Adeleke University, Nigeria, where she taught public policy, research methods, organisational management, and public administration courses. Kemi’s research interests span policy analysis, gender, feminist institutionalism, higher education administration and leadership, organisational management, workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.

Holly Willson

Knowledge Translation Assistant

Holly is a Knowledge Translation Assistant at the Public Policy Institute and graduate teaching assistant in comparative policy for the Master of Public Policy. Holly is currently completing her thesis for the Master of Public Policy at the University of Auckland on single-parent families and a wellbeing approach to budgeting in New Zealand policy.

Udari Herath

Research Assistant

Udari is a fifth-year law student studying a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Arts majoring in Sociology and Politics. She joined the Public Policy Institute in 2020 through a Summer Research Scholarship. Udari worked with Jennifer Curtin and Sarah Bickerton on the “Ready to Run” project and has since worked as a Research Assistant. 

Ashton Mismash

Policy Short Course Technical Advisor

Ashton is an international student from the United States. Ashton has bachelor’s degrees in communication and political science, and recently graduated from the Masters of Public Policy program at the University of Auckland, and is currently a graduate teaching assistant in the Master of Public Policy program. At the Public Policy Institute Ashton works with lecturers and scholars to deliver online teaching content for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ensuring a smooth online learning experience with University systems.

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