Peter Ayson gives back to Waikato
University of Waikato alumnus and original Blues Award recipient Peter Ayson will help two talented students get one step closer to achieving their dreams at the Wallace Group Blues Awards this September.
In 2016, Peter decided to give back to his university, sponsoring two new ‘Emerging Talent’ Awards at the University’s annual Blues Awards. The 1974 Athletics champion considers himself lucky to have received a high-quality education, so is proud to give back to the University of Waikato to help future generations of students achieve their goals.
“My degree was the key that opened the door to many of the opportunities I received throughout my career. Giving back to the University is just my way of repaying a debt I feel I owe.”
The two Emerging Talent awards, one for sport and one for the creative and performing arts, recognise first-year students who show a promising career in their chosen discipline. Peter enjoys helping students who wouldn’t normally be acknowledged.
2016 recipients, Holly White and Jonathan Mayer, were recognised for their respective talents in cycling and playing the organ. Peter has enjoyed staying in touch with Jonathan and following his progress since receiving the award.
Jonathan is extremely grateful for the support he has received from Peter, which has inspired him to achieve his goals more than ever.
“Peter’s support has motivated me immensely to aim even higher in the years to come,” said Jonathan. “Most of the financial assistance has gone into savings, however some was used to purchase a camera which I have used to record my organ music with, making it available for my relatives overseas to enjoy, as well as other music lovers on YouTube.”
Peter is inspired by the talents of the students who receive the Blue’s awards, and embraces the growth in the range of recipients.
“It’s been wonderful to see the Blues Awards grow from sport to creative and performing arts. I just totally embrace that and want to encourage it.”
Peter looks back fondly at his student years, remembering the University of Waikato for its inclusiveness and camaraderie. Despite joining the New Zealand Police Force at the age of 19, Peter was able to complete his university study, often simply putting a jersey over his police uniform before heading to lectures.
“I loved it! I was totally accepted by all of the other students and staff,” Peter said.
Since graduating, Peter has had a successful career, working for the New Zealand Police, government intelligence and security, as a lecturer at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and as a consultant in Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman and Algeria.
When he visits the campus now, Peter is proud to be an alumnus of the University of Waikato. He recalls the beauty of the campus when he was a student, and marvels at the development which can be seen throughout the University today.
“I can still remember the trees around the lake being planted. I look at them now and think it’s such a beautiful place. I am consistently blown away by the University; it makes me very, very proud.”
Peter is an original Blues recipient after he broke the New Zealand 400m (Under 19) record in 1974 and won the NZ Junior 400m and NZ Universities 400m championships in the same year. He has remained a successful athlete, winning bronze in the 400m (M61-65) at the 2017 World Master’s Games.
Peter recently announced the launch of his new scholarship, the Peter Ayson Undergraduate Scholarship in Health, Sport and Human Performance, which will aim to assist students who have not attended secondary school in the past two years and who are intending to enrol full-time in an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Health, Sport & Human Performance.