Professor Chellie Spiller

Chellie Spiller

Professor of Management and Leadership
Associate Dean Māori - WMS


Wayfinding Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Collective Leadership, Māori Governance, Strategy, Decision-making, Wellbeing. Mindfulness, Spirituality in Business, Māori and Indigenous stewardship approaches

Personal Website:

Iwi: Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: MSB.4.35
Phone: +64 7 837 9434

Papers Taught

About Chellie

Dr Chellie Spiller, (hapū Matawhaiti Iwitea, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa), is a Professor at the University of Waikato's Management School and Associate Dean Māori.

  • Leadership. I'm especially interested in Wayfinding Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Collective/Relational Leadership, Wisdom, Leadership Development and Change, Spiritual and Servant Leadership
  • Māori and Indigenous Business and Governance including Stewardship, Sustainability, Strategy and Decision-making
  • Wisdom, Spirituality, Wellbeing and Mindfulness in Leadership and Business
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Sustainable Business and Social Enterprise.

I'm a committed advocate for Māori leadership, management, governance and business development. My PhD developed the notion of relational wellbeing and wealth across spiritual, environmental, social, cultural and economic dimensions at work and I continue to research and publish in this area. I am a co-principal investigator on a research team exploring Māori leadership in the context of decision-making.

My latest book is Practical Wisdom, Leadership and Culture: Indigenous, Asian and Middle-Eastern Perspectives co-edited with Ali Intezari and Shih-Ying Yang. The stories from contributors around the world are illuminating and inspiring.

In 2015 I released a book  with Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and John Panoho on ‘Wayfinding Leadership’. Our training programmes are growing and currently being taught in a variety of domains, such as Air New Zealand’s middle management training programme, Global Women’s Breakthrough Leadership, the judiciary, professional sports teams, and the health sector. Wayfinding Leadership is included in the list of 150 books by leading Māori authors assembled by the Royal Society of New Zealand to celebrate 150 years of Māori non-fiction publications.

In 2013 my co-edited book with Donna Ladkin, Reflections on Authentic Leadership: Concepts, Coalescences and Clashes (Edward Elgar Press) was short-listed for an international leadership book award.

I bring over thirty years of corporate experience in tourism and marketing in New Zealand and abroad, holding senior executive positions, to my academic work and leadership and management development programmes.


  • Joined the editorial review board for Academy of Management Perspectives 2018
  • Guest speaker at Harvard University on 'What is a great leader' 2018
  • Tedx Talk on 'Wayfinding Leadership'
  • Co-Chair Programs for International Leadership Association global conference 2018
  • Featured in '100 Māori Leaders' for services to community, Te Rau Matatini 2017
  • Co-awarded major research grant Māori Leadership and Decision-Making (Ngā Pae) 2017
  • Finalist Māori Book of the Year Awards for Wayfinding Leadership (non-fiction) 2016
  • Early Career Research Excellence Award by the University of Auckland 2015
  • Top ten Leadership Book of the Year finalist; Reflections on Authentic Leadership 2014
  • Awarded to bring a Distinguished Visitor to UoA (Prof. Joe Kalt, Harvard University) 2013
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Harvard University and The University of Arizona 2012
  • Dame Mira Szászy Māori Business Leaders Alumni Award 2012
  • Best Reviewer Award Academy of Management (SIM) 2012
  • Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Award 2012
  • Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings Award 2010
  • Inaugural Paul Kelly Scholar, University of Auckland 2005


Research Gate:

Research Interests


Spiller, C., Barclay-Kerr, H., & Panoho, J. (2015). Wayfinding Leadership: Groundbreaking Wisdom for Developing Leaders. Wellington, NZ: Huia Publications. Retrieved from Wayfinding Leadership (WFL), now in its third print run, is a best-selling book. It was shortlisted for the Māori Book of the Year awards, 2016. The book uses narrative inquiry and analysis as a foundation for leadership theory, and is targeted to a wide audience. It is written to be accessible, relatable, practical and impactful. WFL has catalysed a new approach to leadership development that is growing quickly. It has strong relevancy and impact in organisations and over 3000 diverse leaders have received WFL training or attended one of our talks. 

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (Eds.) (2015). Indigenous spiritualities at work: Transforming the spirit of business enterprise. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from This is a seminal work on the topic of Indigenous spiritualties at work. It explores how Indigenous spiritualties can revitalise relationships within the workplace, communities and ecologies. It provides a solid theoretical and empirical grounding from Indigenous peoples to the field of workplace spirituality. It features chapters by Indigenous scholars from Native America, Māori, Australian Aboriginal, Canadian Aboriginal, African, Adivasi Indian, Peruvian, Taoist, Shinto. 

Ladkin, D., & Spiller, C. (2013). Reflections on Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences. D. Ladkin, & C. Spiller (Eds.), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Inc.
Our book on authentic leadership (AL) marks an important turn in the very popular field of authentic leadership studies. Our book is innovative and potentially paradigm-changing in our recognition of the relational and contextual dimensions of leadership. “This invaluable book will be a standard source for future work on authentic leadership...I doubt that anyone reading it will think of authentic leadership in the same way again an outcome that I warmly welcome”. Prof. Tourish, Royal Holloway

Top Journal articles 

Spiller, C., Wolfgramm, R., Henry, E., & Pouwhare, R. (2019). Paradigm warriors: Advancing a radical ecosystems view of collective leadership from an Indigenous Māori perspective. Human Relations. The Māori ecosystems view set out in this article positions a revolutionary departure from previous work on collective leadership because of the extraordinary set of relationships it encompasses, including those across generations and across living and non-living entities. Inquiring into three watershed leadership moments, we show that collective Māori leadership is an ecosystem held together by activating a knowledge code, cultivating ties of affection, and working the tensions. Unlike the ‘new broom sweeps clean’ approach where incoming leaders tend to discard the work of predecessors, true collective leadership is an integrated ecosystem sustained from one generation of leadership to the next.

Wolfgramm, R., Spiller, C., Henry, E., & Pouwhare, R. (2019). A culturally derived framework of values-driven transformation in Māori economies of well-being (Ngā hono ōhanga oranga). AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 10.1177/1177180119885663
This article is based on current research investigating Māori economies of well-being. A primary question is “what constitutes transformative and prosperous Māori economies of well-being?” This article extends understanding of economies of well-being to include relational dimensions derived from Māori ontologies, mātauranga and kaupapa Māori (Māori approach). The framework offers valuable insights that can be used to advance policy development and implementation of economies of well-being.

Henry, E., Newth, J., & Spiller, C. (2018). Emancipatory Indigenous social innovation: Shifting power through culture and technology. Journal of Management & Organization. 23:6 (2017), pp. 786–802. doi:10.1017/jmo.2017.64
This paper explores the emancipatory impulse of Indigenous social innovation and social enterprise. Indigenous approaches to solving social disparities reflect a perpetual search for innovative ways to change the circumstances of Māori. Power is an understudied dimension of social innovation and social enterprise. 

Nicholson, A., Spiller, C., & Pio, E. (2017). Ambicultural Governance: Harmonizing Indigenous and Western Approaches. Journal of Management Inquiry, 1-17. doi:10.1177/1056492617707052 We present a case study of a leading Māori organisation who, discontented with mainstream models, commissioned research from us with a view to having a process by which their Board would have an effective governance decision-making tool that took account of their commercial responsibilities as well as preserving their deep desire to be kaitiaki, stewards. 

Ladkin, D., Spiller, C., & Craze, G. (2016). Authenticity and Individuation: A Jungian Contribution to  Theorizing Authentic Leadership. Leadership. doi:10.1177/1742715016681942 In this article we address the neglect of the unconscious and its role in shaping one’s experience and behaviour. This oversight results in an unrealistic version of ‘authenticity’. Underpinned by Jung’s theory of individuation we offer an alternative orientation for those wishing to take up leading authentically. 

Spiller, C., Erakovic, L., Henare, M., & Pio, E. (2011). Relational Well-Being and Wealth: Māori Businesses and an Ethic of Care. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(1), 153-169.
The Five Wellbeings model of business presented in this paper informs industry training programmes in the areas of tourism and SMEs, governance and Diversity & Inclusion. T

Spiller, C., Pio, E., Erakovic, L., & Henare, M. (2011). Wise Up: Creating Organizational Wisdom Through an Ethic of Kaitiakitanga. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(2), 223-235.
Organizations are searching for innovative business approaches that deliver profits and create shared value for all stakeholders. We show what can be learned from the relational wisdom approach ofMāori and develop an ethic of kaitiakitanga model premised on Māori values which enriches and further humanizes our understanding of business.

Other Journal articles

Vu, M., Wolfgramm, R., & Spiller, C. (2018). Minding less: Exploring mindfulness and mindlessness in organizations through Skillful Means. Management Learning.

Spiller, C. (2016). Calling the Island to You: Becoming a Wayfinder Leader. University of Auckland Business Review, Spring, 27-35.

Wolfgramm, R., Spiller, C., & Voyageur, C. (2016.). Special issue: Indigenous leadership - Editors introduction. Leadership. doi: 10.1177/1742715016646930

Waddock, S., McIntosh, M., Ann Neal, J., Pio, E., & Spiller, C. (2016). Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinders, Edgewalkers and Systems Thinkers: Building a Future Where All Can Thrive. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2016(62), 5-10. doi:10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.ju.00003

Waddock, S., McIntosh, M., Ann Neal, J., Pio, E., & Spiller, C. (2016). Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinder Scholars and Edgewalkers: Working for System Change. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2016(62), 35-58. doi:10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.ju.00009

Spiller, C., & Lindsey, E. (2016). Good Vibrations: Mastering the Wayfinders’ Code for Leadership. International Leadership Association newsletter, (5), 15-18.

McIntosh, M., Waddock, S., Freeman, R. E., Spiller, C., & Pio, E. (2014). Evolution, Shamans, and Adaptation: What Is/Could Be the Role of Academics in System Change? A Workshop. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society, 25, 8-13. doi:10.5840/iabsproc2014253

Book Chapters

Spiller, C. (2019, in press). Māori Leadership in Governance: Truth-Seeking and Cultural Match. Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence on Māori governance, Special Issue.

Spiller, C., Mudford, M., & Wolfgramm, R. (2019). Mana and the Existence of Leadership. In J. Marques (Ed), The Routledge Companion to Management and Workplace Spirituality. London: Routledge

Spiller, C. (2017). A Māori relational approach to building value chains in tourism: Navigator Tours. In M. Whitford, L. Ruhanen, & A. Carr (Eds.), Indigenous Tourism: Cases from Australia and New Zealand. Oxford, United Kingdom: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Spiller, C., & Nicholson, A. (2017). Wakatu Incorporation: Balancing Kaitiaki Stewardship and Commerce. In Sage Business Cases. SAGE Publications Ltd. doi:10.4135/9781473999039

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (2015). Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Editors' Preface. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous Spiritualiities at Work: Transforming the Spirit of Enterprise (pp. x1-xix). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (2015). Integrating Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Reflections and Future Directions. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous spiritualties at work: Transforming the spirit of business enterprise. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Nicholson, A., Spiller, M., & Henare, M. A. (2015). Arohia te rangi o te hihiri: Heeding the melody of pure and potent energy. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Transforming the Spirit of Enterprise (pp. 273-298). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Spiller, C., & Bhowmick, S. (2014). Whale Watch Kaikoura -- New Zealand. In J. Hayton, C. Salvato, & M. Manimala (Eds.), Global entrepreneurship: Case studies of entrepreneurial firms operating around the world (1st ed.). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from

Ladkin, D., & Spiller, C. (2013). Introduction: authentic leadership: clashes, convergences and coalescences. In C. Spiller, & D. Ladkin (Eds.), Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences (pp. 1-18). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from

Spiller, C., & Stockdale, M. (2013). Managing and leading from a Maori perspective: Bringing new life and energy to organisations. In J. Neal (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: emerging research and practice (pp. 149-173). New York: Springer Publishing Company. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5233-1_11

Spiller, C. (2013). Relational wellbeing and wealth: Māori business and an ethic of care. In S. Katene, & M. Mulholland (Eds.), Future Challenges for Māori: He Korero Anamata. Wellington: Hiua Publishing.

Pio, E., Waddock, S., Mangaliso, M., McIntosh, M., Spiller, C., Takeda, H., . . . Syed, J. (2013). Pipeline to the Future: Seeking Wisdom in Indigenous, Eastern and Western Traditions. In J. Neal (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: emerging research and practice (pp. 195-219). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Spiller, C. (2012). Wayfinding in Strategy Research. In C. L. Wang, D. J. Ketchen, & D. D. Bergh (Eds.), West Meets East: Building Theoretical Bridges (Vol. 8, pp. 61-90). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Insight. doi:10.1108/S1479-8387(2012)0000008006

Spiller, C. (2011). Tane’s journey to retrieve knowledge. In J. Marques, & S. Dhiman (Eds.), Stories to Tell Your Students: Transforming toward Organizational Growth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Spiller, C. (2011). Powers of perception. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman, & J. Biberman (Eds.), Stories to Tell Your Students: Transforming toward Organizational Growth (pp. 120-121). New York: Palgrave-McMillan.

Spiller, C. (2009). Navigator Tours: Value chain innovation in Maori tourism. In University of Auckland Case Series (pp. 14 pages). Auckland: University of Auckland.

Spiller, C. (2007). Principles that help guide the actions of sustainable Māori cultural tourism businesses. In J. Hendry (Ed.), An Introduction to Social Anthropology: Other People's Worlds. Headington, UK: Oxford Brookes University

Spiller, C., & Erakovic, L. (2005). Flourishing on the Edge: Case Study of Whale Watch Kaikoura, an Indigenous Sustainable Business. In M. Wilson (Ed.), Case in Point: Best Cases from the 2005 International Conference on Case Study Teaching and Learning (pp. 219-240). Auckland, N.Z.: GSE Publications.

Recent Publications

  • Spiller, C., Maunganui Wolfgramm, R., Henry, E., & Pouwhare, R. (2020). Paradigm warriors: Advancing a radical ecosystems view of collective leadership from an Indigenous Māori perspective. Human Relations, 73(4), 516-543. doi:10.1177/0018726719893753

  • Spiller, C., Evans, M., Schuyler, K., & Watson, L. (2020). What silence can teach us about race and leadership. Leadership, online, 18 pages. doi:10.1177/1742715020976003

  • Wolfgramm, R., Spiller, C., Henry, E., & Pouwhare, R. (2020). A culturally derived framework of values-driven transformation in Māori economies of well-being (Ngā hono ōhanga oranga). AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 16(1), 18-28. doi:10.1177/1177180119885663

  • Pio, E., Spiller, C., Smith, V., & Sheehan, M. (2020). Unleashing energy in organisations through haka and waiata. New Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management, 20(1), 22-38.

Find more research publications by Chellie Spiller