Executive committee

Janet Copsey - President

Janet Copsey

Janet was elected President of the University of Auckland Society at the 2016 December AGM, having previously served as University Librarian and Director of Libraries and Learning Services at the University of Auckland from 1998 – 2015.

Janet has contributed to library initiatives both nationally and internationally.  She was awarded a Fellowship of the NZ Library and Information Association in 1996 for her leadership in the introduction and management of information technology in NZ libraries and was a Government appointee to the NZ Library and Information Advisory Commission for 2006 – 2009.  

Janet was also invited to be one of the initial seven members of the initial OCLC Asia-Pacific Regional Council as well as being appointed as a delegate to the OCLC Global Council for 2008-2010.   She chaired the Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance (PRRLA) from 2013 until her retirement in December 2015.

At the completion of her tenure, Janet was awarded the title University Librarian Emeritus by the Council of the University of Auckland.

Richard Northey - Vice-President

richard northley

Richard Northey, ONZM has been Vice-Chair of the University of Auckland Society since 2005. He is an Auckland University graduate in science (chemistry) and in arts, with an MA with 1st class honours in political studies.

Richard has also been a lecturer in political studies and in planning at the University of Auckland, and was an MP and an Auckland City Councillor.

He chairs the Auckland Community Housing Trust, as well as the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand and the Auckland Inner City Network Steering Group. He is an elected member of the Waitemata Local Board and is on the Labour Party's New Zealand Council.

Richard is also on the Board of the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium and is Patron of the Peace Foundation.

Devi Mallawa Arachchi - Treasurer

Devi Arachchi

Devi joined the Society Executive Committee as Treasurer in January 2016.   She had previously begun working with the Alumni Relations and Development team in 2008 after working for 12 years as the Membership Accountant at Diabetes New Zealand, Auckland Branch. Born and educated in Sri Lanka, she worked in a senior administrative role at Qatar Telecommunications in Doha prior to migrating to New Zealand.

She has 3 children, all of whom are alumni of the University of Auckland.

Her interests include travel, music, films and art.

Amy Malcolm


Amy was President of the Society for 4 years before standing down at the end of 2016.  She previously served as Vice-President from 2010 to 2012 . She has worked in the tertiary education sector for many years in marketing, communication, recruitment and community engagement roles. She is keen to provide opportunities for Alumni to benefit from engaging with various parts of a world class university operating in the centre of Auckland City.

Renee Liang


Renee Liang (BHB, MBChB, MCW, PG Dip Arts) is a poet, playwright, paediatrician and fiction writer. She is a graduate and researcher at the University. Renee is involved in organising community arts events such as artistic blind-dating initiative Metonymy and New Kiwi Women Write, a writing workshop series supported by Auckland Council. She is a regular contributor to The Big Idea, a website linking NZ's arts community. In her own writing, Renee has been published in the New Zealand Listener, JAAM, Blackmail Press, Tongue in your Ear, Sidestream and Magazine.

Her plays LanternThe Bone Feeder, The First Asian ABUnder The Same Moonand The Two Farting Sisters have toured centres in the North Island, and she has also had short plays produced for a number of festivals. Renee works as a locum consultant paediatrician. As a scientist, Renee is part of the core group of researchers for landmark longitudinal study Growing Up In NZ, which seeks to benefit all NZ children by finding out what impacts on their development. For her activities in arts, medicine and science, Renee was named a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader in 2010.


Jennie Oakley


Jennie was born and educated in Hawkes Bay. On leaving school she went to Christchurch to do her General Nursing Training where she met and married her husband. They came to Auckland in 1961. Jennie's working experiences have included being a manager of a Group Medical Practice and a Branch Manager of a privately owned furniture business. Jennie's University adventure did not begin until 2000 when she enrolled in the New Start programme and graduated with a BA in May 2005. While living in West Australia and looking after her two teenage grandchildren for twelve months in 2006 Jennie completed an BA Hons degree in History as an extramural student. Jennie completed her MA in 2009. Jennie's interests are widespread but certainly family, friends, books, art, classical music and Rotary are her priorities.


Sylvia Rosevear

Sylvia Rosevear

Sylvia graduated from the University of Auckland School of Medicine in 1980.  She is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in private practice since 1993.


Eva Tollemache


Eva joined the Executive Committee in 2007, and enjoys the opportunity to keep in touch with the University and meet new people.

Eva is an Occupational Therapist who has previously worked in both London and near San Francisco. She is currently working as O.T. Manager at Ranfurly Veteran’s Care, Auckland. This is a stimulating position, which includes supervising staff, teaching students, carrying out cognitive assessments for residents, organizing the activity programme and liaising with the wider community.

Eva also has a great interest in the media industry, especially news broadcasting. She has completed two television presenting courses and in 2007 read the news for “Darpan. The Mirror”, on Triangle Television for 6 months. Eva plays both the piano and flute, and uses music as a therapeutic medium in her occupational therapy practice.

In 1994 Eva completed her BA degree, majoring in English. She also studied Italian, Art History, Acoustics and Politics. She has just finished a Tai Chi course, and is now a qualified instructor of Modified Tai Chi. Her interests include travel, music, films, reading and education.


Rachel Yang


Rachel has a strong connection with the young Chinese populace in Auckland through her active ongoing community involvements, in particular, her association with the University of Auckland.  She founded the Auckland University Chinese Alumni Club which has thousands of Chinese graduate members, and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the University of Auckland Society since January 2011. 

Rachel began her career at Inland Revenue while completing her Master of Legal Studies at Law School. At the Inland Revenue, she worked in the areas of insolvency and investigation. She is now working for Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a senior analyst.

Rachel is also a fully qualified Chartered Account of Australia and New Zealand.


Paul Gilberd

Paul Gilberd

Paul joined the Executive Committee in 2014.  He was born in Auckland and studied history as the focus of his BA from the University of Auckland. He then lived and worked in Europe for twelve years.

Having completed his MBA in London, he returned home with his wife and son and has worked in a variety of development roles for the University of Auckland, other public entities and in the private sector.

Paul has served on the Executive of the Society before, during the early 1990's, when he was the student representative. He is a passionate supporter of the University.

He is the General Manager of Strategy and Development for the New Zealand Housing Foundation, helping to fight poverty through the provision of affordable housing.

Rez Gardi


Rez joined the Society Executive Committee in January 2017.  She was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan after her family escaped their homeland owing to the persecution of Kurds and she has now resettled in New Zealand. She is the first in her family to graduate from secondary school and university. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) focussing on International Law and Human Rights; and a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in International Relations and Criminology. She is now New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer. Rez works in corporate litigation at New Zealand’s premier law firm, Chapman Tripp, and has previously worked at the United Nations Office in Nairobi as a human rights intern.

She is passionate about supporting young refugees through a mentoring and support programme to try and address the underrepresentation of refugee students in tertiary education as she believes education is pivotal to changing the future for refugees. She represented New Zealand at the Global Refugee Youth Consultations in Geneva, the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Conference in Bangkok and was a youth delegate at the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in Geneva. She is the youth advisor for the New Zealand Red Cross as part of their national humanitarian team and leads projects for refugee youth throughout New Zealand.