Distinguished Alumni

Every two years we acknowledge a number of our top-achieving alumni. Congratulations to our 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients.

Listen to podcasts recorded with these alumni here.

Portrait of distinguished alumna Lisa McLaren in front of a textured wall.

Lisa McLaren—BA 2010, BSc 2010, MEnvStud 2014

Lisa McLaren was National Convenor of the Zero Carbon Act campaign for Generation Zero and is one of New Zealand’s leading advocates for a carbon-zero Aotearoa.

Portrait of distinguished alumnus Chris Parkin wearing a blue shirt under a patterned dark jacket.

Chris Parkin—BSc 1972, BCA 1974, MSc(Hons) 1976

Chris Parkin is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, collector, patron of the arts, former hotelier, and three term Wellington city councillor.

Portrait of distinguished alumna Stacey Shortall with a view of Wellington harbour behind her.

Stacey Shortall—BCA 1994, LLB 1995

Stacey Shortall is an internationally recognised litigation lawyer and a strong advocate for a more equitable Aotearoa New Zealand.

Portrait of distinguished alumna Rachel Taulelei wearing a dark suit jacket.

Rachel Taulelei, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāti Rārua—LLB 1998

Rachel Taulelei is a prominent business leader, particularly in the food and beverage sector, and a strong advocate for the Māori economy and sustainability.

Portrait photograph of distinguished alumnus Heemi Taumanu wearing a korowai (Māori cloak) over his suit.

Judge Heemi Taumaunu, Ngāti Pōrou, Ngāti Konohi and Ngāi Tahu—LLB 1993

Judge Heemi Taumaunu was appointed chief district court judge in September 2019 and is the first Māori to be appointed chief judge.

Portrait photo of distinguished alumnus Maarten Wevers in front of a bookcase.

Sir Maarten Wevers, KNZM—BSc 1973, BA(Hons) 1976

Sir Maarten Wevers has had a distinguished career as a public servant and New Zealand diplomat, building a reputation for thoroughness and efficiency.

Distinguished Alumni Award winners from 2015

Previous recipients

Victoria University of Wellington graduates have gone on to do incredible things. See who has won a Distinguished Alumni Award in recent years.