Six University of Waikato alumni and former academic staff members have been recognised for their achievements in the 2020 New Year Honours list.
Professor Marilyn Joy Waring has been appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to women and economics. She graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Major Politics from the University of Waikato in 1989.
In 1973, at just 23, Waring was New Zealand’s youngest member of parliament for the New Zealand National Party, famously supporting the opposition Labour Party’s proposed nuclear-free New Zealand policy.
Professor Waring is currently a Professor of Public Policy at AUT and has contributed significantly to the fields of economics, women's issues and aid internationally. She was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008.
Professor Waring has undertaken several consultancies for international organisations. She led the Gender and Governance team for the Regional Assistance Mission for the Solomon Islands for five years, led the United Nations Development Programme’s largest project in the Asia Pacific for the Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative, and led the Commonwealth Secretariat teams on Unpaid Work and HIV/Aids and on Social Protection.
Emeritus Professor Richard Dodgshun Bedford has been appointed Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance. Emeritus Professor Bedford is a former Professor of Population Studies at the University of Waikato and currently Professor of Migration at AUT.
During his time at the University, Professor Bedford was also a Director of the precursor to the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), the Population Studies Centre (PSC), and convened the Migration Research Group which later merged with the PSC.
Professor Bedford was appointed to the voluntary role of President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2015 to guide the institution through restructuring and modernisation. His leadership oversaw the change of the Royal Society's name to Royal Society Te Apārangi, and a revision of the Society's Code of Professional Standards and Ethics to include all research epistemologies such as social sciences. He has developed and strengthened the bi-cultural commitments of the Society, including partnerships with Māori research communities, and greater recognition of Mātauranga Māori.
Professor Bedford has continued work as a peer reviewer of research for publication, and served in advisory roles to government agencies alongside his work at Te Apārangi.
Ms Margaret Hine Forsyth has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to netball and the community. She graduated from the University of Waikato in 1986 with a Bachelor of Education.
Ms Forsyth has contributed to netball as a national representative player, coach and selector since the 1970s.
Ms Forsyth won two Netball World Championships with the Silver Ferns in 1979 and 1987, and at 17 was the youngest New Zealander to compete at a Netball World Championship. She played 64 tests with the Silver Ferns. She was Head Coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team in 2017 and 2018, and a key instigator of the Magic Leadership Team Development Programme for the off-season.
Forsyth was also Assistant Coach of the New Zealand Fast 5 team in 2017 and the New Zealand A team in 2016. Throughout the 2010s she has been a Silver Ferns National Selector and a National Emerging Talent Selector. She is currently a member of the High Performance Sport New Zealand Coach Accelerator Programme Advisory Board, after graduating their programme as a coach.
Outside of netball, she is serving a third term as a Hamilton City Councillor. Ms Forsyth has led a stakeholder group that created Hamilton's Biking Plan and was a major driver for the Destination Playgroup Working Group, establishing bespoke playgrounds for diverse communities in the city.
Ms Laura Robyn Langman has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to netball. Langman graduated from Waikato Management School in 2011 with a degree in accounting.
Ms Langman has played netball at a national and international level since her selection into the U21 New Zealand netball team at age 16. Ms Langman captained the U21 team to win the World Youth Cup title in 2005. She made her elite netball debut with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the National Bank Cup in 2003.
In 2005 and 2006, she won two premierships with the Magic and placed second at the ANZ Championship in 2008. She captained the Magic for the 2010 ANZ Championship, and to the trans-Tasman title in 2012, the only New Zealand team to win the title. In 2005 she debuted with the Silver Ferns against the English Roses.
Langman captained the Silver Ferns to a win at the 2019 Netball World Cup, having played in the preceding 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups. She became New Zealand's first netballer to surpass 150 Test Caps in 2019, and won Commonwealth Gold Medals with the Silver Ferns in 2006 and 2010, and Silver at the 2014 Games. She helped introduce the NetFit programme to New Zealand in 2018, implementing netball clinic sessions around the country, personally leading coaching sessions for many participants.
Emeritus Professor Warwick Bruce Silvester has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science and conservation.
Emeritus Professor Silvester was a Professor of Biological Science at the University of Waikato for 32 years, also helping establish the University’s Stable Isotrope Unit in 1987 where he served as Director for 20 years.
He is internationally recognised for his research in understanding nitrogen leaching, a key environmental issue in New Zealand, and has worked tirelessly to preserve New Zealand’s flora, fauna, forests, wetlands and waterways.
He has been an expert witness, consultant and advisor to various local bodies, organisations, review panels, and scientific and conservation panels. As a member of the Tongariro/Taupo Conservation Board from 2000 to 2009, he chaired the group responsible for producing the Tongariro National Park Management Plan. He was a key member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Rotorua Lakes and was active in fostering collaboration between scientists to guide the management of the lakes to achieve improved water quality.
Ms Carole Erna Gordon, has been appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to seniors. She has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Certificate in Continuing Education from the University of Waikato.
Ms Gordon established and is National Convenor of SUPA-NZ, a voluntary organisation dedicated to demonstrating the positive opportunity aspects of increasing longevity and population-ageing.
She is also a social scientist specialising in social gerontology, pursuing research aligned to a silver economy, policy transformation and social innovation. She has contributed to education, health and local government initiatives including achieving New Zealand's first smoke-free hospital and the first Māori liaison role at Tauranga Hospital. She influenced the establishment of an Elders Forum at Wellington and Tauranga City Councils, working with Tauranga City Council to achieve New Zealand's first Age-Friendly City, largely due to her leadership and advocacy.
She collaborated with Massey University on elder research, resulting in a national ‘Older and Bolder’ health and continuing education programme. She was involved in the setup phase of SmartGrowth in 2004 and continues to ensure the needs of a growing and ageing population are included in the future of the Western Bay of Plenty. She was instrumental in setting up the Population-ageing Technical Advisory Group, a collaboration between SmartGrowth and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, and was a founding trustee and board member of Socialink Tauranga Moana.