The awards were presented at a function in Auckland last night.
Professor Larner won the Innovation and Science category for her ground-breaking research in geography, her academic leadership at the University, and her influence on the New Zealand scientific community as the current President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.
Accepting the award via a short video presentation, Professor Larner said she was very conscious of modelling academic leadership for other women in the research sector. She said the standard model of an academic career defined in male terms and based on formal and informal support systems that benefited men needed to be addressed.
“At both Victoria University of Wellington and Te Apārangi we are working to change this, rethinking research excellence in more holistic ways, proactively building support networks for early and mid-career researchers and advancing matauranga Māori.”
Professor Larner said she had once been advised to “just keep doing things and finding new challenges until someone tells you to stop”.
“Let’s all keep working to make the world a more equitable place, because no-one is going to tell us to stop.”
Four other staff members were finalists for the awards. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) Professor Rawinia Higgins was shortlisted in the Board and Management category for her leadership on Māori achievement at the University and her work on te reo Māori revitalisation. Victoria University of Wellington’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Dr Lucy Baragwanath was also shortlisted in the Board and Management category and Emeritus Professor Lydia Wevers in the Arts and Culture category.
University Student Liaison Officer Poppy Norton was a finalist in the Young Leader category for her work co-founding Collaborate, a web app that connects people to volunteer opportunities that match their skills and interests.