Our Leadership Team

Tā mātou tira kaiarataki
Chief Executive

Jeremy Baker

Jeremy has held senior leadership roles in industry, government, and the education and training sector, including Chief Insight Officer at Beef + Lamb NZ, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lincoln University, and Executive Director of the Industry Training Federation. He has a professional background in labour market economics, and in education and training policy, research, and quality assurance. Jeremy is excited to work with our industries to understand their future workforce needs and to broker solutions with providers and other agencies to meet those needs.

Jeremy is a member of the NZ Qualifications Authority Board, and has previously been Chair of the Ministerial Review of the NCEA, and a member of the steering group for He Waka Eke Noa – the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership.


Moerangi Vercoe

Moerangi Vercoe (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whakaue) is a former journalist who has been working in media, communication, engagement, and advocacy related roles in Wellington for more than 30 years. Previous roles include Press Secretary for the Minister of Education, Communications Manager at the Tertiary Education Commission, and Communications and Advocacy Manager at the Industry Training Federation.  She has been working as a consultant for the last ten years with highlights including te reo Māori strategy roles at Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Mātāwai, and roles at Te Tumu Paeroa and the Māori economic development team at MBIE.

As Manukura, Moerangi advises and works with the Council and Senior Leadership team on ways which all Muka Tangata staff can add value and contribute to our commitment to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  She is the key contact for Māori and industry leaders who have an interest in how the vocational education and training system can support iwi, hapū and whānau Māori to flourish in the food and fibre sector.

GM Engagement and Partnerships

Mitzi Austin

Mitzi has worked widely across the education and training sectors. She has led Learning and Development teams in both the public and private sectors and has worked extensively in assessment and qualifications. She is passionate about quality vocational education that meets the needs of learners and of industry.

As General Manager Engagement and Partnerships, Mitzi leads a team who work with industry to understand the current and future needs of the workforce, hear the challenges faced by learners, employers and whānau, and to contribute to development of learning for the future, to support Muka Tangata in its role to reflect the needs and aspirations of stakeholders and partners.

GM Skills Leadership and Advice

Justine Stephen

Justine is passionate about bringing together the best available evidence and insights to create tangible change. During her career Justine has held leadership roles across the public sector, as a consultant and in research and development in a range of industries in Aotearoa and the UK. Most recently she has lead insight teams at the Social Wellbeing Agency with a focus on the wellbeing of at-risk people and communities. At Callahan Innovation her focus was on drawing out insights and understanding of what works for businesses across Aotearoa.

As GM Skills Leadership and Advice, Justine leads a team to provide the research and analysis of the current and future needs of the industries within the food and fibre sector to build a sustainable, globally engaged and adaptive Aotearoa. This work supports the aim of Muka Tangata to develop future focused workforce development plans for our sector.

GM Qualifications and Standards

Craig Langdon

Originally employed in the seafood industry in a range of roles, Craig has been working in education for the past 20 years and has an MA in Applied Linguistics and MEd in E-Learning. He has worked in tertiary institutions in Aotearoa, South Korea and Japan.

Craig has most recently been managing the team responsible for qualifications, standards, and programme development at Primary ITO. He is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a fit-for-purpose, streamlined and future-focused WDC. Craig is also looking forward to leading a team to develop clear and accessible pathways in vocational education for learners in the food and fibre sector of Aotearoa.

GM Quality Assurance and Enhancement

Lester Hoare

For four years prior to joining Muka Tangata, Lester was a member of the Primary ITO Senior Leadership team, where he was Quality Manager. He has worked in the Vocational Education and Training system in Aotearoa for the past 20 years and has held roles with an Industry Training Provider and a number of ITOs. Lester started his career as an automotive mechanic and later mechanical engineer before moving into vocational education in the UK.

Lester has a proven track record in building quality systems and working with teams and stakeholders to meet business needs.

Lester is passionate about helping others achieve and getting the very best outcome for ākonga. He is looking forward to working with the Muka Tangata whānau and stakeholders to make a real difference for the people in the food and fibre industries.

GM Corporate Services

Hina Davis

Hina Davis (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui) has a rich history in public service with more than 20 years’ experience in government organisations, most recently as a Private Secretary to a Cabinet Minister.

Hina started his career as a Case Manager for Work and Income and has retained a passion for supporting the development of people and communities through education, training and employment. Hina has held roles with MSD, Oranga Tamariki, DIA and the Ministry of Health.