Celebrating our best

A select group of six outstanding alumni, who exemplify Victoria University’s tradition of excellence, will be honoured at a Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner in June.

The recipients of the 2015 Awards are Olympian Ian Ferguson, businessman and sports administrator Alan Isaac, Penny Jamieson, the first woman in the world to be ordained a diocesan bishop of the Anglican Church, curator and artist Helen Kedgley, Māori leader and social and political analyst Tamati Kruger and entrepreneur Derek Handley (recipient of this year’s Young Alumni Award).

Victoria University Chancellor, Sir Neville Jordan, says the Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of this year’s Award recipients and the contribution they have made—and continue to make—in many spheres of activity and endeavour.

“This year’s recipients demonstrate the breadth of influence of our graduates—Victoria alumni succeed in every walk of life,” says Sir Neville.

“Presenting these Awards is an opportunity to recognise and reflect on the positive way in which Victoria graduates impact not only on the fortunes of New Zealand’s capital city, but also their influence nationally and internationally.

“The quality of a university graduate is the foremost indicator of the quality of the university. We are proud and honoured to be acknowledging these civic-minded graduates, and the contribution Victoria has made to their chosen paths.”

The winners will be presented with their awards at a gala dinner at Shed 6 on Wednesday 17 June 2015. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

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Ian Ferguson, MBE

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Ian Ferguson (BCA (Accounting), 1977), is New Zealand’s most successful Olympian. He has competed in five Olympic Games and, in winning four gold medals and one silver, he claimed a record unsurpassed in New Zealand sports history. At the same time he competed in numerous world kayaking championships, securing another two golds and one silver.

He has been awarded the titles of New Zealand Sportsman of the Year and New Zealand Olympian of the Century, was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and is a Member of the British Empire for services to canoeing.

Ian has demonstrated that achieving sporting greatness does not need to be at the expense of higher education. He successfully attained a university degree whilst pursuing a world title and hassince built a highly successful business, Ferg’s Kayaks, capitalising on his business education at Victoria.

Throughout his career, Ian has shared his knowledge, experience and love of kayaking and surf life saving with the next generation of talent, as coach, manager and mentor to high performance training squads and in numerous administrative roles. He has remained resolutely New Zealand-based, to the sport’s great benefit.

Derek Handley

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Derek Handley is a New Zealand entrepreneur and founding CEO of The B Team, which he helped set up alongside Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz. The B Team is a global leadership collective aimed at making business work better for people and the planet to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, and comprises 16 iconic members such as Sir Richard, Arianna Huffington, Ratan Tata and Professor Muhammad Yunus.

He is also a committed astronaut-in-waiting with Virgin Galactic; an adjunct executive professor at AUT University in Auckland; chair and co-founder of NZAX-listed B-Corp Snakk Media; a board director at Sky Television; and a New Zealand Arts Foundation Trustee.

Derek started The Hyperfactory in 2001, one of the first strategic and technology houses in the world specialising in helping Fortune 500 brands navigate the mobile world. It was cited as Entrepreneur magazine’s ‘Top 100 brightest ideas of 2010’ and Brandweek’s ‘10 biggest ideas of 2008’, and was acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2010. During these years, he was named a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leader, KEA World Class New Zealander, New Zealand Herald Business Leader of the Year and New Zealand Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

He released his first book, Heart to Start, in 2013, on the entrepreneurial journey and pursuing personal purpose.

Alan Isaac, CNZM

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Alan Isaac (BCA, 1974) is a successful businessman and sports administrator.

He became a partner of accounting firm KPMG in his mid-twenties and went on to hold the roles of managing partner, chairman and chief executive officer. In total, Alan spent 35 years at the firm.

During his time there, he became known for his work as a company receiver and for achieving favourable outcomes for corporates facing significant financial difficulties.

In parallel with his accounting career, Alan found time to pursue his sporting interests—playing age-grade representative cricket and rugby and captaining Wellington B in cricket for three years. He has held administrative roles for the Wellington Cricket Association, was chair of New Zealand Cricket and both vice-president and president of the International Cricket Council.

Alan has also served on the SPARC Board, the New Zealand Golf Board and the Board of Rugby New Zealand 2011 Limited. He has also held—and continues to hold—a number of governance roles in business, health and community organisations.

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Alan was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to cricket and business.

The Rt Rev Dr Penelope (Penny) Jamieson, DCNZM

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Penny Jamieson (PhD, 1976) was the first woman in the world to be ordained a diocesan bishop of the Anglican Church.

After completing an Honours degree at Edinburgh University, she moved to New Zealand where she lectured in linguistics at Victoria University. Her doctoral thesis on the experiences of young Tokelauan children learning English as their second language, was written while she held a J.R. McKenzie Fellowship with the New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

She worked with the then Inner City Ministry, helping to establish a home tutor programme to teach English to refugees and immigrants, mainly women, who were unable to attend language classes.

During this time, she developed a vocation, completed a Bachelor of Divinity extramurally from Otago University and was ordained into the priesthood in 1983. She served as a curate at St James’ Anglican Church in Lower Hutt and Vicar of Karori West with Makara in the Wellington Diocese before being ordained a bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Dunedin. She contributed widely, in writing and speech, to debate within the Anglican Communion about the ordination of women to the Episcopate.

Penny retired in 2004 and returned to Lower Hutt. She has published an account of those years, Living at the Edge: Sacrament and Solidarity in Leadership, which explores her experiences as a woman in a powerful position within a patriarchal institution.

In the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Penny became a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community.

Helen Kedgley

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Helen Kedgley (BA in Political Science, 1969) is one of New Zealand’s most creative and outstanding curators and art museum directors and a strong advocate for Māori, Pasifika and indigenous art.

Helen has worked at Pataka Art Museum in Porirua since its inception in 1998, most recently as its director.

During that time, she has curated over 80 exhibitions of Māori, Pacific Island and contemporary New Zealand art, many of which have toured nationally and internationally, including Toi Māori–The Eternal Thread, which toured throughout the United States.

Since she took on the role of director in 2013, Pataka  as enjoyed record visitor numbers, surpassing all other metropolitan galleries in the Wellington region.

A graduate of Victoria University, Massey University, the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts and Ecole du Louvre in Paris, Helen has considerable international experience in the arts.

International museum work includes the Science Museum, Oxford, England and The National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

As a painter, Helen has participated in numerous exhibitions in France, England, India and Zimbabwe. She is a member of Victoria University’s Advisory Group for the Museum and Heritage Studies programme, a board member of the Wellington Sculpture Trust and was a member of the Creative New Zealand Arts Council (2010–2014). She has been invited to judge numerous art awards both in New Zealand and overseas.

Tamati Kruger

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Tamati Kruger (BA (Hons) in Māori Studies, 1978) is a Māori advocate and social and political analyst who has dedicated his career to the development of his iwi.

From the Ngāti Koura, Ngāti Rongo and Te Urewera hapū of Tūhoe, Tamati was instrumental in securing the largest Treaty of Waitangi settlement to date ($450 million) for the Central North Island Iwi Collective. He is now a director of CNI Holdings, representing Tūhoe.

More recently, Tamati was chief negotiator of the Tūhoe-Te Urewera Treaty of Waitangi Settlement, which lasted six years from 2009 to 2014. The landmark settlement included a Crown apology for historical grievances, a social service management plan for the Tūhoe rohe and a financial and commercial redress package totalling $170  million.

The settlement also included legislative changes to transfer Te Urewera National Park to its own separate legal entity, looked after by the Te Urewera Board, of which Tamati is chair.

Tamati’s contribution is not limited to his tribe. He chaired the Second Ministerial Māori Taskforce on Whānau Violence and developed the Mauri Ora Framework and was awarded the Kahukura award in 2013 in recognition of this work.

He was a finalist in the 2012 New Zealander of the Year awards and was the Supreme Winner of the Marae Investigates Māori of the Year in 2014.