Breadcrumbs

Waikato alumna receives award for a career dedicated to supporting her community

15 October 2020

Tania Simpson
Chancellor Sir Anand Satyanand, Tania Te Rangingangana Simpson and Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley

Tania Te Rangingangana Simpson has spent her career focusing on projects and roles that will improve outcomes for Māori.

Ms Simpson (Tainui, Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi) has been recognised by the University of Waikato with a Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is given to a small number of alumni who have achieved significant success in their career and made outstanding contributions to their communities.

Ms Simpson arrived at the University of Waikato with the intention of studying languages, however realised early on that Māori language and culture was the right pathway for her. She graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“The Māori department fed my interests. Māori knowledge, Māori language, the Māori nature and values was my food for that time.  From those three short years my outlook on the world pivoted to connect with the knowledge handed down from my own ancestors,” she says.

After graduating she became an iwi liaison officer for the New Zealand Housing Corporation, before moving into policy advisory for the newly established Te Puni Kōkiri. She founded her own Māori policy advisory firm, Kowhai Consulting in 1995.

In 2001, Ms Simpson became a director of Mighty River Power, a role she held for 13 years. She currently holds directorships at Tainui Group Holdings, Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Auckland International Airport. She is the Chair of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge Governance Group and a member of the Deep South National Science Challenge Governance Group. She is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and Deputy Chair of the Waitangi National Trust.

While serving in a governance capacity on a range of iwi, commercial and public entities, she has always had a strong vision for iwi development and recognising Māori values within business.

Ms Simpson says she emerged from the University of Waikato with a desire to pursue work that supported the place of Māori separate identity and autonomy in Aotearoa/New Zealand. “Up to the present day I am still pursuing my goal of seeing Māori prosper and that the intention of the Treaty of Waitangi is upheld.”

She has paved the way for many young Māori leaders and was appointed the first Māori director on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. She credits her success to having great mentors throughout her education and career and takes pride in supporting the next generation of young Māori leaders through a mentorship programme she created.

She was made a Commander of the Order of the Taniwha in 2014 and a Dame of the Order of St Lazarus in 2019 for her services to Māori business, charity and community.

Ms Simpson is one of four University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni for 2020, along with My Food Bag CEO Kevin Bowler, professional director Liz Coutts ONZM and Māori Land Court Judge and Chief Justice of Niue, Judge Craig Coxhead.


Latest stories

Related stories

Waikato Management School

Waikato Management School Ranked #1 in New Zealand

The University of Waikato Management School has been ranked number one in New Zealand for…

catherine-downes

Research and hard work pays off for engineering alumna

Engineering alumna Catherine Downes has never left anything to chance.

students-at-table

Scholarship appeal aims to help fast-track students to their future

The University of Waikato’s annual appeal for scholarships is set to help propel students into…

kaitlin-te-rito-appeal

Scholarships help Kaitlin contribute to dairy industry innovation

Thanks to a helping hand with scholarship support, engineering graduate Kaitlin Te Rito is now…

sam-fellows

Scholarships a springboard to a brighter future for Sam

Sam Fellows received several scholarships during his studies at Waikato, which he credits with helping…

te-riria-potiki-appeal

Scholarships enable Te Riria to make a difference to the environment faster

As the recipient of several scholarships at the University of Waikato, Te Riria Potiki (Ngāti…

leo-oliver-appeal

Scholarship fast-tracks Leo helping people at risk of cyber attacks

Thanks to scholarship support, current Master of Cyber Security student Leo Oliver-Dowling is well on…

Cap

Scholarship support for Waikato alumni returning to study

University of Waikato alumni keen to return for further study have a scholarship designed specifically…

Shaun Kirkham

Hard work and dedication a winning combo for alumnus and Olympian

Fresh from winning an Olympic Gold medal, Shaun Kirkham is using his experience as a…

Competition ignites plans to help Kiwi company achieve global market domination

For the first time in its remarkable 25-year history, the 49th Waikato Management School Case…

parth-patel

International alumnus now “living his dream” thanks to studies at Waikato

Parth Patel grew up in Western India. He spent his high school years following his…

Kris Metcalfe

University alumnus has dream job shaping new Pāpāmoa school

University of Waikato alumnus Kris Metcalfe is part of a team of exceptional educators shaping…