Honorary Doctorates 2010

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:

Jon Mayson CNZM

Conferred 14 September 2010



Jon Mayson

A seasoned mariner and inspiring business leader, Jon Mayson has made substantial contributions to the development of the Port of Tauranga and the wider business and arts communities, and has shown an unwavering belief in the potential of people to achieve great things.

The former CEO of Port of Tauranga Ltd spent almost 26 years afloat, first in the Merchant Navy, where he qualified as a master mariner, and then as Tugmaster and Pilot in the Port of Tauranga. He became CEO in 1997 and under his leadership the Port of Tauranga grew to be New Zealand’s largest export port.

In the course of his career, Mr Mayson has displayed a keen social conscience and an active commitment to business innovation. During his time as CEO, the Port became an early adopter of ‘triple bottom line’ reporting – demonstrating the company’s social, environmental and economic sustainability.

A member of the Institute of Directors and a NZIM Fellow, Mr Mayson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2006 for services to the shipping industry and to the export sector. He is a past president of Export New Zealand, and currently chairs the board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise among others.

Roka Pahewa Paora QSM

Conferred 23 August 2010



Roka Paora

Roka Paora (Whānau-ā-Apanui) is nationally recognised as an expert and authority in Māori language, culture and history. She trained as a teacher and in the 1960s, was a member of a pioneering group of Māori writers and innovative educators who developed creative resources and ways to teach the Māori language in the context of iwi and hapū experiences, history and whakapapa.

She has many publications to her name, was co-editor of the revised seventh edition of the Williams’ Dictionary in the 1970s and again for the Ngata Dictionary in the 1990s and was an adviser to the Ministry of Justice and the National Kohanga Reo Trust.

Mrs Paora spent some years living in Hamilton and working at Waikato University where she was able to work directly with staff to help them expand their knowledge of Māori language and literacy. Her research and writing now informs their research and teaching.

In 1984, she was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal and in 2002 she received the Kingi Ihaka Award in recognition of her lifetime contribution to the development and retention of Māori arts and culture.

Professor Margaret Bedggood QSO

Conferred 06 May 2010



Professor Margaret Bedggood QSO

Professor Margaret Bedggood QSO, an international advocate for human rights and a former New Zealand Human Rights Commissioner, has been awarded an honorary doctorate, the University of Waikato’s top academic honour, for her significant contributions to human rights.

A respected academic and former Dean of Waikato University’s Faculty of Law, Professor Bedggood served as head of the Human Rights Commission between 1989 and1994. During that time, she oversaw the passage of the Human Rights Act, widely regarded as a landmark piece of legislation which has been of enormous importance to New Zealand’s constitutional democracy.

A lifelong member of Amnesty International, she was elected to Amnesty’s nine-member International Executive in 1999, a position she held until 2005. There, she was instrumental in broadening the organisation’s focus to encompass social, economic and cultural rights.

Professor Bedggood was formerly Chair of The Human Rights Foundation, and is actively involved with the Aoteaora New Zealand Peace and Conflicts Studies Centre. She continues to supervise PhD students as an honorary professor at the University of Waikato, and also teaches human rights law at Oxford University.

Max Gibbs

Conferred 03 May 2010



Max Gibbs

Dedicating nearly 50 years of his life to studying New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and coastlines has resulted in scientist Max Gibbs being rewarded with the University of Waikato’s most prestigious award of honorary doctorate.

A fresh water and coastal scientist with NIWA, Mr Gibbs is known internationally for his expertise in stable isotope techniques and analysis – which involves identifying and measuring stable isotopes in specific organic compounds as biomarker tracers.

His career began as a technician at the DSIR’s Chemistry Division in Lower Hutt and he later spent time in Taupo with the DSIR’s Marine and Freshwater Division. He was a visiting fellow with Edinburgh University and joined NIWA in Hamilton in 1992.

During the 1970s and 80s, Mr Gibbs devised new techniques for iron measurement and water sampling that enabled scientists far greater insight into the state of our lakes. He remains a member of the Technical Advisory Group on the Rotorua Lakes for Environment Bay of Plenty and has managed long-term water quality monitoring on Lake Taupo since 1994 for Environment Waikato.

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