Distinguished Alumni recognised for 2014

The University of Waikato has honoured four alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2014. They are: adventurer, management consultant and motivational speaker Jamie Fitzgerald, economist Dr Arthur Grimes, Pacific education advocate Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane and Waikato-Tainui CEO Parekawhia McLean.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities. This year's awards were presented at a black-tie event in front of 200 people by Chancellor Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones. 



Jamie Fitzgerald

Adventurer, management consultant and motivational speaker Jamie Fitzgerald will be familiar to many from the popular TV series First Crossings, in which he and co-host Kevin Biggar recreate historical moments in New Zealand's pioneering history. 

Jamie graduated from the University of Waikato in 2005 with a Bachelor of Communication Studies, not long after he had set a world record rowing across the Atlantic with Biggar in 2003. He and Biggar grabbed headlines again when they became the first New Zealanders to reach the South Pole unsupported on foot - a feat fewer than 50 people have achieved.

Jamie focuses now on helping others demonstrate the principles of success and helping organisations create value through his management consultancy Inspiring Performance, which helps individuals, groups and organisations strategise and achieve goals. Read more.



Dr Arthur Grimes

Dr Arthur Grimes is one of New Zealand's best-known economists. He graduated from the University of Waikato in 1979 with a Bachelor of Social Sciences with First Class Honours, later attaining a Master of Science and a PhD from the London School of Economics.

He had a lengthy career at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, working his way up to Chief Economist where he played a major part in the revision of the Reserve Bank Act. He then became Chief Economist at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and later Chief Executive at Southpac.

Arthur sidestepped into academia when he became director of the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University in 1998. He is currently Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust, an adjunct professor at the University of Auckland, chair of the Hugo Strategy Panel and a member of the Financial Markets Authority Board. Read more.



Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane QSO

Le Mamea is one of the University of Waikato's first Pacific graduates. He graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and later with a Master of Arts with First Class Honours in English Literature.

Le Mamea became the inaugural director of the Pacific Island Education Resource Centre in 1976, an organisation established to provide English language education, skill development and advice for recent migrants to New Zealand. He was also deputy chairman of the Council for Māori and Pacific Arts of the QEII Arts Council, chairman of the New Zealand Festival of South Pacific Arts and Culture and an Auckland City Councillor for three years.

Back in his native Samoa, he is currently President of the Samoa RSA. In 2005, he publicly called for the Samoan government to reinstitute the commemoration of ANZAC Day in recognition of the Samoans who fought under the New Zealand flag in WWI. He received a Queen's Service Order for Public Service in 1990. Read more.



Parekawhia McLean

Graduating from the University of Waikato in 1992 with a Bachelor and Master of Social Sciences, Parekawhia McLean (Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto) is currently Chief Executive of Waikato-Tainui. She also holds an MA from the University of Wisconsin in Public Administration and Development Policy.

She has worked for a number of public agencies in Wellington, including the Ministry of Māori Development, Women's Affairs, the Ministry for the Environment and the State Services Commission, Te Puni Kokiri and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She was also a strategic advisor to Prime Ministers Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark, and current University of Waikato Chancellor Jim Bolger.

Parekawhia is currently part of the group overseeing the development of a Waikato regional economic strategy, and has recently become a director of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipoumanu - the whānau ora commissioning entity for the South Island. Read more.



Around the Faculties

A round-up of the top news and events from across the Faculties.

Arts and Social Sciences: Novelist and short story writer Catherine Chidgey will deliver this year's Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture, 16 October, 5.30pm, addressing the idea of place in her writing. This lecture is free and open to the public. 

Computing and Mathematical Sciences: A plaque marking New Zealand's first connection to the internet was unveiled at an event on campus, celebrating the University of Waikato's role in bringing the internet to New Zealand. 

Education: Professor Chris Branson has received the 2014 Willower Award of Excellence from the Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics (CSLE) for his academic excellence in educational leadership. 

Law: Law students now have the opportunity to work on real cases as part of a new law internship programme - the first of its kind in New Zealand - established between Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and the Police Prosecution Service (PPS). 

Māori and Pacific Development: The University of Waikato celebrated Kīngitanga Day (pictured) for 2014, where students, staff and the wider community gathered on campus to celebrate the University's distinctive identity, heritage and relationships. Dr Lance O'Sullivan, a Kaitaia-based GP passionate about the advancement of Māori health, was the keynote speaker on the day. 

Management: Brielle Gillovic, who is studying a BMS (Hons) in Tourism Management, is the recipient of the Thrifty Scholarship in Tourism, worth $4,300.

Science and Engineering: Chemistry graduate Sophie Sim will join 12 top young scientists from all over the world at Imperial College London, where she has been selected to participate in the NexGenAgriChem Innovative Doctoral Programme. 



October is Postgraduate Month at the University of Waikato

Postgraduate Month is an opportunity to showcase the University of Waikato's current research and for alumni to consider continuing their studies and explore the postgraduate opportunities available.

The month is jam-packed with events, workshops, networking and information evenings providing information and advice on research study and scholarships available. For the full calendar of events, click here.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the month, showcasing the best of the University's emerging researchers. This popular competition sees Higher Degree candidates present a compelling summary of their thesis and its significance in just three minutes to a general audience. Last year's winner, Monica Peters, is pictured presenting at last year's final. 



Benefits for alumni

Graduates of the University of Waikato are entitled to receive benefits from some of the University's partners.

Alumni can receive a 10% discount when signing up online to a 2degrees Carryover or Share Everything plan on a 24-month term. If you're travelling and need to hire a car, Budget and Thrifty also have preferential rates for Waikato alumni. 

Alumni can also access a range of library databases and reduced membership rates to the UniRec gym and University library with an Alumni Association life membership



From the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Roy Crawford
It is a pleasure to celebrate and honour the recipients of the 2014 University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Please join with me in congratulating Jamie Fitzgerald, Dr Arthur Grimes, Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane and Parekawhia McLean on this momentous occasion. These alumni are a credit to this University and we are proud to acknowledge their achievements in this special Distinguished Alumni E-Newsletter.

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Win tickets to the Topp Twins' new tour
We're excited to be giving away double passes to the Topp Twins' new tour - The Grand Ole Topp'ry. The Topp Twins are Honorary Doctors of the University. To enter simply head to our Facebook page and tell us which Waikato alum you admire and why. Full T&Cs are here

Would you prefer to hear from us electronically?
The University's annual alumni magazine, Off Campus, will soon go to print. If you would prefer an e-version of the magazine, let us know by emailing

The spring issue of re:think, Waikato's research and innovation publication, is now available to view online.

Inaugural Professorial Lectures 2014
This lecture series introduces the University's newest professors to the community. Come along to hear how our people are having an impact on the world around us.
14 October: Professor Robert Hannah, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Harvard professor to give public lectures in Hamilton and Wellington
Harvard University Professor of economics and demography, David Bloom, will base himself at the University of Waikato for October as the visiting Golden Jubilee Distinguished Professor. He will deliver two public lectures, one in Wellington on October 16 and one on campus in Hamilton on October 21, where he will talk about prospects for economic growth through the lenses of demography and health. Keep an eye out for more information on our website.

Café Scientifique, 28 October
é Scientifique welcomes members of the community to come along and hear the latest news in science and technology in a relaxed and informal setting in Tauranga. 28 October: Anthropologist and writer Dame Anne Salmond will speak as part of the Royal Society Rutherford Lecture Series.

Alumni events
Keep an eye out for details on our upcoming New Zealand alumni events on our Facebook page, or update your details to make sure you receive an invitation to an event in your region. These events are valuable opportunities to meet and network with your fellow alumni.

Auckland Alumni & Friends, 6 November
Hamilton Young Alumni & Friends, 13 November

Tell us your stories!
In celebrating our 50th anniversary, we're also celebrating you - our alumni. So tell us what you've been up to since graduating, and you could be part of our Jubilee Profiles.

Help us reconnect
Lost alumni are graduates we have lost touch with, and we want to be in touch with as many of our alumni as possible. Check the Lost Alumni list to see if you or someone you know is on there.

Moved recently? Update your contact details here.

Keep up to date with alumni news, information and events here.