Social justice campaigner honoured with Distinguished Alumni Award

13 August 2012

Karen Morrison-Hume

Karen Morrison-Hume: The Director of Anglican Action will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato.

A leading proponent of “justice through service” is to be officially recognised by the University of Waikato.

Karen Morrison-Hume is the Director of Anglican Action, and has championed a range of social justice initiatives, including the creation of the Te Ara Hou social services village in Hamilton.

Mrs Morrison-Hume is one of three alumni to be given Distinguished Alumni Awards on August 24 at a university function hosted by the Chancellor, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Crawford.

Creative approach

“Mrs Morrison-Hume’s visionary and creative approach to social justice has been an inspiration to all who work with her,” said Professor Crawford. “Her tireless commitment to the betterment of humankind in Hamilton and beyond, and her thoughtful, considerate and careful leadership set her among the best of graduates from the University of Waikato.”

Born in South Auckland, Mrs Morrison-Hume left school at 15 and held a series of secretarial jobs before leaving the workforce to have a family. In 1992, she answered a newspaper advertisement for the University of Waikato’s “New Start” bridging programme for mature students. 

Career path

Mrs Morrison-Hume describes feeling like “an intellectual pygmy” as she walked onto the University campus for the first time, but with the support and encouragement of the bridging programme, she went on to graduate with a Social Science degree in 1997.

Shortly afterwards, she took up the directorship at what was then Anglican Social Services and quickly became Anglican Action.

Mrs Morrison-Hume's work

Under her leadership, Anglican Action has expanded its remit and now provides a range of services, including accommodation for women and children at the Cross Rose Residential Centre, residential support for ex-prisoners in their return to society, affordable counseling and therapy, a youth mentoring service, whānau and community services.

Mrs Morrison-Hume has also been invited to be part of national and local groups including the NZ Council of Christian Social Services, the Hamilton Council of Christian Social Services and the Combined Housing Action Research Group (CHARG).

Distinguished Alumni Awards

The university’s Distinguished Alumni Awards are made each year to no more than three people. They recognise and celebrate Waikato University alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession, to the community, to the arts or sport, or to more than one of these areas since graduating from Waikato University.

The other two recipients this year are Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland and Productivity Commission Chairman Murray Sherwin. All three recipients will be presented with a limited edition cast-glass figure created exclusively for the award.