Tāmaki Innovation Campus

Nicki Jackson

Nicki Jackson
Nicki Jackson says her dream job would not have been possible without her time at Tāmaki.


Listening to Nicki Jackson’s description of her career path, which has culminated in gaining her dream job, you could be forgiven for thinking she has a special arrangement with the aligning of good luck stars.

Nervous about the dearth of job opportunities available in the health promotion field, Nicki feels overwhelmingly grateful for being snapped up as Executive Director of national body, Alcohol Healthwatch, filling a job which co-incidentally fell vacant on the same day as her last day on campus.

It is, she says, her dream job, which would not have been possible without her time at Tāmaki, and her passion for working across a range of sectors in a collaborative way. “I’ll be working with police and with councils and the ability to swap hats is very appealing to me.”

The journey started when, working in the DHB environment to reduce alcohol and tobacco harm across the Auckland region, Nicki decided to become better informed and completed a PhD through Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Population Health. Her topic, unsurprisingly, was focussed on adolescent alcohol use and resulted in her placement on the Dean of Graduate Studies List, in recognition of excellence.

The resultant dovetailing of academia into a career is synchronicity at its finest. Her PhD research looked at the role of the neighbourhood and what unique factors might influence young drinking behaviour. “One of the interesting findings was that social cohesion, in a neighbourhood, impacts differently depending on the age of the young drinker. For those under 16, parents and adults may be more likely to step in and intervene, whereas they are less likely to intervene with older teenagers, for whom drinking may be considered a rite of passage especially if they drink with parents and neighbours. Importantly, my research also found that social cohesion is more widely determined by socio-economic deprivation and neighbourhood stigma, highlighting the importance of advocating for good social policies.”

Nicki says her new role at Alcohol Healthwatch will draw on skills honed in a practice role, as well as her academic knowledge. She sees key issues in alcohol harm reduction as the current legal purchase age, alcohol advertising and sponsorship, and also contends pricing is an effective tool in reducing alcohol consumption, particularly amongst young drinkers.

This article was first published in the March 2017 Tāmaki Update