Honorary Doctorates 2009

An Honorary Doctorate is the most prestigious award that the University of Waikato can bestow. For their significant contribution to the University, the Waikato region and the wider New Zealand community, the University is pleased to award the following worthy recipients:

Dame Lynley Dodd

Conferred 11 November 2009



Dame Lynley Dodd

The University of Waikato’s most prestigious award of honorary doctorate has gone to top children’s author and illustrator Dame Lynley Dodd. Arguably New Zealand’s best known author, at home and off shore, Dame Lynley has written 32 books and is the winner of at least ten literary awards for her work.

Her most famous creation, Hairy Maclary, has delighted children around the world -- sales of Dame Lynley’s books have now reached nine million. Hers are stories meant to be read out loud and rolled around the tongue. They are stories that achieve a marvellous level of chaos - situations that children anywhere can relate to. Most importantly, her stories have helped develop in children an interest in books and a love of reading. Children’s literature across the world is the richer because of her.

Dame Lynley originally trained in sculpture before becoming an art teacher for five years. Her first major success came in 1974 with My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, which won the Esther Glen Medal for contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and is still in print today. She was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 and this year made the decision to accept the title of Dame. (abridged citation)

Hamish Keith

Conferred 23 October 2009



Hamish Keith

Hamish Keith, the man who brought art into living rooms across New Zealand with his 2007 TV series The Big Picture, is one of the latest recipients of the University of Waikato’s most prestigious award of honorary doctorate.

For more than half a century, Mr Keith has been working with, and for, New Zealand art. The author of more than a dozen books, he served on the planning committee and project development board for the Museum of New Zealand, he chaired the National Art Gallery Council and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council.

As chairman of the Arts Council, Mr Keith was determined that Māori art should have its proper place in the mainstream of New Zealand culture as an evolving and developing art. He spearheaded the establishment of the Council for Māori and South Pacific Arts, and initiated Te Māori - that iconic exhibition that showed in New York and Washington and enabled New Zealanders to gain fresh understandings of Māori art.

A strong believer that art should be enjoyed by everybody, not merely an exclusive few, Mr Keith excels in presenting art in a digestible form. In The Big Picture television series and accompanying book, he took New Zealanders on a journey from the first-found cave drawings down South through to a new century that finds New Zealand art confident, multicultural, adventurous and thriving. (abridged citation)

Sir Wilson Whineray

Conferred 23 October 2009



Peter Sergel

Acclaimed as New Zealand’s greatest All Black captain, Sir Wilson Whineray OBE has this year been awarded an honorary doctorate, the University of Waikato’s top academic honour, for his significant contributions to New Zealand rugby and New Zealand business.

Selected for the All Blacks in 1957, Sir Wilson led the side through 67 matches. He played 32 tests for the All Blacks, and was captain for 30, and is still recognised for setting the leadership standards by which everyone else could be judged.

Sir Wilson retired from top-level rugby in 1965 and went on to earn an MBA at Harvard as a Harkness Fellow. He subsequently spent 34 years at what became Carter Holt Harvey during which time he rose to become director, and then chairman of the board before stepping down in 2003. He was knighted for his services to sport and business, and has also been inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.

During his years in business, rugby wasn’t completely forgotten because Sir Wilson was on the Eden Park Trust Board and had a number of advisory roles with the New Zealand Union. He became the NZRU patron in 2003. (abridged citation)

Heni Materoa Sunderland

Conferred 1 July 2009



Heni Materoa Sunderland

Kaumatua and Māori leader Heni Materoa Sunderland has been awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate for her life-long commitment to education and her service to the community at a local and national level.

Mrs Sunderland (1916-2008) descended, through her grandmother, from the senior whakapapa line of Ngati Maru, the hapu of Te Kooti, and was one of the founding kaumatua of Te Runanga o Turanganui-a-Kiwa - the Gisborne iwi authority. In 1991 she received a QSM for her services to the community and in 2002 she was a key witness for the Treaty of Waitangi Turanganui-a-Kiwi claims. Her detailed account of the history, whakapapa and cultural practices of her region were critical to the Tribunal report.

Mrs Sunderland was a strong believer in education and established the first Te Kohanga Reo pre-school in the Gisborne region in 1983. As a leading Māori historian, and scholar on cultural, social and historical information, she mentored students and academics on Māori spiritual beliefs, history, geography, Māori science and agriculture, and provided a tangible connection between the Gisborne region and key Māori staff at the University of Waikato. (abridged citation)

Peter Sergel

Conferred 7 May 2009



Peter Sergel

Peter Sergel is the mastermind behind the internationally acclaimed Hamilton Gardens. He has been the director for the past 14 years with an association that goes back even further, as a city council technical officer, then landscape officer and landscape planner.

Today, Hamilton Gardens attracts more than a million visitors a year, including 62,500 to the annual summer festival bringing an estimated $13 million into the local economy.

In 2005, Mr Sergel was awarded the Member of New Zealand order of Merit for his services to landscape design and the community. He is Chair of the Board of Trustees at Southwell School, and a foundation board member for the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival Trust and Pacific Rose Festival Trust. His book, Inspiration in the Garden was published by Penguin in 2004. (abridged citation)

Zena Daysh

Conferred 5 March 2009



Zena Daysh

Zena Daysh's passionate commitment to sustainable communities was one of the major factors leading to the establishment of the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC).

Her influence is reflected in human ecology degree programmes now offered at universities around the world and the CHEC initiatives operating in many countries in Asia and Africa. Zena is a champion of collaboration between governments, universities and non-government agencies to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, promoting programmes with a holistic and environmentally sustainable approach to development.

She was awarded the CNZM in 1998 and the United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honour Award in 2003. In 2008 she won the inaugural New Zealand Inspired Lifetime Achievement Award.

Zena Daysh is an exceptional woman and exceptional New Zealander. She is a worthy recipient of a University of Waikato Honorary Doctorate for her international contribution to human ecology.
(abridged citation)

This page has been reformatted for printing.