Morgan Godfery, and the mystery of the inflated job title

On Kiwiblog today, someone pointed to this column about Jacinda Ardern by one Morgan Godfery.

Former president Donald Trump, British prime minister Boris Johnson, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and their contemporaries across the world are reactionaries and authoritarians even the most committed accelerationist would struggle to invent. But where their respective countries can offer nothing more than the exhausted rearguard of radical centrism – president Joe Biden, UK Labour leader Keir Starmer, and so on – New Zealand offers a straight up social democrat. Ardern is imperfect, and her government usually struggles to implement its agenda, whether housebuilding or climate change action. But one aspect where the prime minister and her government excel is dealing with an immediate crisis. For that, most New Zealanders are thankful. And for the time being, the polls will hold because of it.

First point is, even the most sycophantic adherent to the cult of Ardern has to admit she’s totally useless at governing. (“and her government usually struggles to implement its agenda”) So that’s quite an admission. Of course, he can’t admit that she is one of those “reactionaries and authoritarians even the most committed accelerationist would struggle to invent”, but you know, you’ve gotta take your wins where you can.

This sort of absurdity is pretty par for the course for Godfery. Here’s some of his previous gems:

I could go on but I think you get the idea – he’s a far-left partisan, and not even slightly interested in moderating what he has to say. Jacinda is awesome, Labour is great and the biggest problems we have are because we don’t worship them enough.

Well, that’s the sort of guy he is, take it or leave it. But then I saw this on his twitter header.

Senior lecturer at the Otago Business School. Te ao Māori editor at @MetroMagNZ. Contributor at the @guardian. Books at @BWB_NZ. Te Pahipoto (Ngāti Awa), Sāmoa.

That struck me, because Otago Business school is made up of departments, and academic staff like lecturers are in departments – at least, they were when I attended. What department does Godfery have “Senior lecturer” expertise in? Accounting? Management? From a guy who spends his time screaming that the world isn’t taking far left nutcases seriously?

So I googled. That’s when things got interesting.

See, it turns out, Mr Godfery (he only has an LLB) isn’t listed in the Business School, and he’s not listed as a Lecturer, let alone a senior one.

No, his job title is “Kaiwhakatere Rakahau Māori – Māori Research Partnerships Manager” in the Centre for Innovation. That’s part of the Research Division, not the Business School (which is the Division of Commerce and School of Business). [source]

So…. what is this job. Well, I also found his job description.

ROLE TITLE: Kaiwhakatere Rakahau Māori – Māori Research Partnerships Manager

DEPARTMENT: Research and Enterprise Office


REPORTS TO: Director, Research & Enterprise


• Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise.
• Senior Research Advisory Manager
• Staff of the Research and Enterprise Office.
• Director, Office of Māori Development
• Staff of the Office of Māori Development
• Te Poutama Māori
• Pro-Vice-Chancellors.
• Associate Deans Māori and Associate Deans Research.
• Heads of Department.
• Academic staff of the University.
• Graduate research students.

So he doesn’t report to the Business School. In fact, the words “Business” and “Commerce” don’t appear there at all. Almost like he’s got nothing to do with them. Curious.

Also, the JD is titled GY99/***. I may be wrong, but I think that the “G” there stands for “General Staff” – i.e. not academic. I checked and found another description for an actual academic staff member, which didn’t use this format, so I’m fairly confident that Mr Godfery isn’t acedemic staff at all, let alone a lecturer. In fact, on the Calendar, he’s listed right at the bottom of his department, so I don’t think he’s “senior” anything either.

But back to that job description.


• A university postgraduate research degree, PhD, in order to provide the knowledge

base for maximising effective promotion of research with relevant knowledge of NZ

research context.

The guy has an LLB. That’s a Law degree for those who don’t know – and not even a master’s (that’s an LLM). So no PHD, and no background in academic research. Totally failing on the first requirement isn’t my idea of a suitable candidate.

Then there’s this:

The ability to interact effectively, tactfully and diplomatically with a wide range of

individuals and, in particular, engage effectively with Māori communities

A lot of people are tactful in print and aggressive in person. I’ve never heard of a person being openly and aggressively partisan in print, but being tactful and diplomatic in person, certainly not with “a wide range of individuals”. No, people who are aggressively partisan in print tend to be, if anything, worse in person. His previous writing should have had in fail this requirement, hard.

All of which raises several questions

  1. How did he get his current job? Was the application list so short that he was the most suitable, or was someone’s thumb on the scale?
  2. Why is he claiming to be a “Senior Lecturer”?
  3. Is he even academic staff at all? Does he have any teaching responsibilities, and if so, in what subject?
  4. Is he undertaking a PHD, given his position requires one? In what department?
  5. How does the university justify hiring someone so nakedly political and partisan in a job that involves building relationships?
  6. Does the Business School/University/his actual department know someone is claiming to work for the Business School?
  7. If he is, in fact, what the University’s web site lists him as, why are publications like The Guardian repeating false information about his current job? Did they just publish what he said without checking?
  8. What else is he lying about?

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