2023 New Year Honours recognise eight Waikato alumni and former academics

University of Waikato alumni and both former and current academic staff have been named in the 2023 New Year’s Honours list recognising their outstanding services.

10 Jan 2023

Professor Bruce Clarkson, Beryl Te Haumihiata Mason, Pānia Papa, Dr Heather Came-Friar, Ruth Gerzon, Penelope Jackson, Marilyn Kohlhase and Reweti Ropiha.


New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)

Professor Bruce Clarkson ONZM, for services to ecological restoration. Professor Clarkson is one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on ecological restoration. He has made significant contributions to conservation through research, education, protection, and restoration of native plants and ecosystems over a 40-year career.

Beryl Te Haumihiata Mason, ONZM for services to Māori language education. Ms Mason (Tūhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pango) is a renowned translator, and a writer of He Pātaka Kupu - the first monolingual Māori dictionary. She was instrumental in the re-translation of the Māori Language Act 1987 and has just finished Te Rātaka a Tētahi Kōhine, a translation of Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl. Ms Mason was a lecturer with the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies for six years after graduating.

Pānia Papa, ONZM for services to Māori language education and broadcasting. Ms Papa (Ngāti Korokī-Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) is an award-winning television presenter, Māori language consultant, curriculum and resource designer, translator, and editor for the broadcasting industry and education sector. She lectured in Māori Studies at the University of Waikato for ten years.

Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)

Dr Heather Came-Friar, MNZM for services to Māori, education and health. Dr Came-Friar has advocated for social and racial justice and Te Tiriti o Waitangi recognition throughout her professional career. She founded STIR: Stop Institutional Racism in 2013, and has been involved in the Pākehā Tiriti workers movement and chaired the Parliamentary Review of the National Cervical Screening Programme. Dr Came-Friar graduated with a PhD from the Waikato Management School in 2012.

Ruth Gerzon, MNZM for services to community development and social justice. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 1971, Ms Gerzon has worked to promote community development, inclusion and social justice. She has been involved in educating communities on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, challenged racism in government agencies, worked to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and set up a programme to promote inclusion for disabled people.

Penelope Jackson, MNZM for services to art crime research and visual arts. Ms Jackson has pioneered research and development of scholarship about art crime in New Zealand. She was the founding Trustee of the New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust, has published several books about art crime and was the Director and Curator of the Tauranga Art Gallery. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 2002.

Marilyn Kohlhase, MNZM for services to Pacific arts and education. Ms Kohlhase is an arts curator and administrator, specialising in Pacific Islands art for nearly 50 years. She has been on several boards including Creative New Zealand Arts Board. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 1974.

Reweti Ropiha, MNZM for services to Māori health. Mr Ropiha (Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) has been the CEO of Tūranga Health for 15 years and has transformed the organisation from a whānau client list of 10 to more than 3,000 today, continuing to provide health and wellbeing care to Māori throughout Gisborne. He provides governance support for a number of entities encompassing iwi development, primary healthcare establishment and philanthropic endeavours. He graduated with an MBA in 2011.



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