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Alumni Profile

Liz Stockley

Liz Stockley

BA (Hons) French and History 1996

Liz is CEO of Health Hawke’s Bay, a $40m primary health care organisation responsible for commissioning general practice and primary health care services for the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand with a population of 153,000 people. 

Liz moved to New Zealand in January 2003, initially to Wellington where she met her husband. After their two girls came close to school age they all moved to Hawke’s Bay, a sunny, wine growing, stunningly beautiful part of the country. 

“Having lived and worked in various countries, I can say that elements of life and work are the same around the world. However, when I first arrived in NZ I found some things very strange – like some shops in the city centre being closed on a Saturday or seeing a sign on a café door in a busy ski resort saying ‘closed – gone skiing’.”

Liz is delighted with her work-life balance and flexibility as she is able to finish work at 5pm and be home by 5.15pm to have dinner with her family.

“I may have to attend evening meetings or do some work from home once the kids are in bed, but people generally take a family first approach to work here. Lots of business is done over coffee and I can’t remember when I last saw a man in the office wearing a tie.”

Liz is responsible for turning around the health outcomes of the most vulnerable people in the Hawke’s Bay region.

“The best thing by far is the amazing people I get to work with.  The whole team within my organisation is passionate and talented.  Being part of a system that is well regarded and punches above its weight on the global scale is also a really positive driver.

“The worst thing about my job is the limitations of the public purse – an issue which is not unique to New Zealand.  Having to prioritise limited resources is not always easy when there are competing opportunities of seemingly equal merit.”

Liz holds an MBA (distinction) from Massey University in New Zealand, an MSc in Information and Library Management from Northumbria University and a bachelor’s degree in French and History from the University of Sunderland.

“When I graduated I promised myself I would never study again.  However, it was not long before I was back at university doing my first masters and I have since added an MBA to the piece.  I am at the stage of considering a PhD.

“Fitting study around work and family is not easy but the personal and professional rewards make it worthwhile.  I think my Sunderland experience taught me to value learning opportunities and provided me with some great basic skills to achieve in this space.”

Liz admits that the people she met at the University and the relationships she built really influenced her.

“I was lucky enough to study under some amazing people in both the French and History departments.  My year abroad spent in Angers on the Loire Valley was an absolute highlight and the lessons I learnt about communication there have proved invaluable in all aspects of my professional life since – even though there is not much call to use French in my job.   

“There were also a number of social influences like the Carlton Bar and the National Hat Society and I really found the whole university community accepting and welcoming – if somewhat distracting at times.

“I look back on life in Sunderland very fondly. I made some solid friendships that have stood the test of time thus far, and everybody I knew from that time is doing really well both professionally and personally and many are dotted around the world.” 

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