Celebrating Excellence

A great education is driven by great educators

Our groundbreaking teachers and researchers are tackling humanity's biggest challenges, contributing to our economy and growing our understanding of the world around us. These are some of our highest achievers.

Robyn LonghurstRobyn Longhurst
Fellow of The Royal Society Te Apārangi, and International Geographic Union Lauréat d’honneur

Professor Longhurst was awarded the International Geographic Union’s Lauréat d’honneur for her ongoing work in geography. She’s a world-leading scholar of gender, social and cultural geography. Her research focuses on the challenges and complexities of people, inequalities and injustices. Her study of gendered spaces – particularly pregnancy, mothering and social media – is groundbreaking. In November she was made a Fellow of The Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Janis SwanJanis Swan
Distinguished Fellow of Engineering New Zealand

Emeritus Professor Janis Swan was made a Distinguished Fellow of Engineering New Zealand at the 2018 Engineering New Zealand Fellowship Dinner. The first woman in New Zealand to lead an engineering faculty, Emeritus Professor Swan’s dedication to the engineering profession and research has earned her many accolades over her career, including an ONZM in 2009. Distinguished Fellowships are Engineering New Zealand’s highest honour, and recognise eminent contribution to the profession.

John GibsonJohn Gibson
Fellow of The Royal Society Te Apārangi

Professor John Gibson is an outstanding economist who has made significant contributions to knowledge about migration, particularly from the Pacific, and about survey-based measurement of living standards. His scholarship is recognised at the highest levels including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Carolyn KingCarolyn King
Fellow of The Royal Society Te Apārangi

Professor Carolyn 'Kim' King is a specialist in animal ecology, particularly small rodents and mustelids. Her research covers ecology, behaviour and genetics, contributing to conservation and improving methods of pest control.

Linda Tuhiwai SmithLinda Tuhiwai Smith
Te Puāwaitangi Award (Royal Society Te Apārangi)

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, CNZM (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou) is the inaugural winner of Te Puāwaitangi Award in recognition of the eminent and distinctive contribution she has made to Te Ao Māori and to Māori and Indigenous knowledge, in New Zealand and overseas.

Mohi RuaMohi Rua
Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award (Royal Society Te Apārangi)

Dr Mohi Rua (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whakaue) is the inaugural winner of Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award. His innovative research on poverty, homelessness and Māori men's health is challenging the relevance of mainstream Anglo-American psychology for Maōri and other Indigenous peoples.

Holly ThorpeHolly Thorpe
Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Sciences (Royal Society Te Apārangi)

Associate Professor Holly Thorpe's research on the sociology of sport is redefining the use of sports for development and peace in conflict and disaster zones.

Rawiri KeenanRawiri Keenan
Health Research Council Career Development Award

Dr Rawiri Keenan has been awarded the Foxley Fellowship to study ‘Cultural competence and equity focussed activities in primary care’. He will review GP practices and their staff training and education in areas of cultural competence and the Treaty of Waitangi. His research will inform future training requirements of primary-care teams.

Donella CobbDonella Cobb
Ako Aotearoa National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards

Dr Donella Cobb was a winner at the 2018 Ako Aotearoa National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards. She teaches pre-service teachers and believes teaching can and should enhance learning outcomes for all students, particularly those who have traditionally been under-served. Dr Cobb strives to design educational experiences that are motivating, engaging and inspirational.

Leonie PihamaLeonie Pihama
Endeavour Funding

Associate Professor Leonie Pihama was awarded more than $2 million to research He Waka Eke Noa: Māori Cultural Frameworks for Violence Prevention and Intervention. Her teaching, research and scholarship is always within kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori. Dr Pihama has strong connections with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.

Ilanko IlankoIlanko Ilanko
Endeavour Funding

Professor Ilanko, an engineer, received nearly $1 million to investigate new ways to reduce earthquake damage in essential buildings. He thinks the solution may lie in creating more flexible building foundations to manage vertical motion; an idea that came to him after seeing how some plants react to tremor.

Adam HartlandAdam Hartland
Endeavour Funding

Dr Adam Hartland, an environmental geochemist, is evaluating the environmental impact of the biotoxic metal cadmium found in phosphate fertiliser, on New Zealand agrisystems and aquatic ecosystems, using stable cadmium isotopes to trace its movement from soils into waters, plants and biota.

Judy BowenJudy Bowen
Endeavour Funding

Dr Judy Bowen is a computer scientist developing personal monitoring technology for the workplace – a device that can be worn by workers to alert them to a dangerous or hazardous situation.

Ian HawesIan Hawes
Endeavour Funding

Professor Hawes is developing new remote sensing tools to detect cyanobacterial blooms in lakes. These potentially toxic organisms proliferate in nutrient enriched waters and are a serious water quality issue across New Zealand.

Clare BrowneClare Browne
Endeavour Funding

An animal behaviour specialist, Dr Browne is working with scent-detection dogs to develop new approaches to detect and monitor invasive fish in freshwater ecosystems.

Alan HoggAlan Hogg
Marsden Fund

Associate Professor Alan Hogg was awarded $827,000 for 'When and why did all the pā arrive?' This investigation looks at the role of pā in the development of Māori culture, focussing on Waikato pā, where they are explicitly associated with horticultural soils in a manner not found elsewhere in New Zealand.

Waikaremoana WaitokiWaikaremoana Waitoki
Marsden Fund

Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki was awarded $859,000 for ‘The embrace of our ancestors: reimagining and recontextualising mātauranga Māori in psychology’. Dr Waitoki will explore the contributions of Māori knowledge towards growing an Indigenous psychology that could replace the dominant Western psychology as a paradigm for Indigenous wellbeing.

Craig CaryCraig Cary
Marsden Fund

Professor Craig Cary was awarded $935,000 to continue an investigation of how microorganisms adapt to geothermal environments, focussing on the the geothermal system on Antarctica’s Mt Erebus. This research is critically important for understanding the physical and chemical constraints on life and could potentially redefine the bioenergetic boundaries of life on Earth.

Haki TuaupikiHaki Tuaupiki
Marsden Fast-Start Grant

Dr Haki Tuaupiki's research, ‘Te Kāpaukura a Kupe: The Ocean in the Sky – Māori Navigation Knowledge’, will help a new generation of Māori voyagers reconnect with their tūpuna and with Polynesian navigators across the Pacific.

Fraser MacdonaldFraser Macdonald
Marsden Fast-Start Grant

The globalisation of Pentecostal Christianity in the 20th century had enormous historical and religious significance. Dr Fraser Macdonald's project, ‘Melanesia Burning: The Explosion of Pentecostalism in the Western Pacific’ aims to unfold the untold story of the explosion of Pentecostalism in Melanesia in the 1970s.

Adele WilliamsonAdele Williamson
Marsden Fast-Start Grant

Dr Adele Williamson is researching the DNA repair systems of microbes in one of the most hostile environments on earth. She has joined the University of Waikato from Norway and will study how microbes survive under the hostile conditions of Antarctica’s Dry Valleys.

Charlotte Greenhalgh Charlotte Greenhalgh
Marsden Fast-Start Grant

Dr Greenhalgh's project titled 'Hapū: Women and Pregnancy in Twentieth-century New Zealand' will be the first sustained examination of women’s responses to pregnancy during a pivotal point in time when gender roles at work and in the home were being revisioned.

Andrew BarnesAndrew Barnes
Marsden Fast-Start Grant

Dr Barnes' research, 'Illuminating the dark side of restoration: Soil food web reassembly in regenerating forests', will provide a long-needed integration of food web theory into ecological restoration, increasing our ability to predict restoration outcomes for the biodiversity, functioning and stability of ecosystems.

Te Kotahi Research Institute Te Kotahi Research Institute
Health Research Council Te Tohu Rapuora Award

Winner of the Health Research Council’s Te Tohu Rapuora Award for their success in bringing together Māori providers, researchers and policy-makers to deliver maximum benefit to the communities they work with.


Dame Peggy Koopman-BoydenDame Peggy Koopman-Boyden
Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Emeritus Professor of the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, Peggy Koopman-Boyden was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Recognised for services to seniors, Dame Peggy’s work in gerontology has spanned more than 45 years and she continues to have major impact on improving attitudes towards, and services for, the elderly. As Chair of the Age Friendly Hamilton project, her goal is to have Hamilton globally recognised as New Zealand’s first age-friendly city.

Dr Te Taka KeeganDr Te Taka Keegan
Tertiary Teacher of the Year

Winner of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching. The computer scientist weaves his love for te reo Māori with his love for computers using three Māori philosophies: Kia hiki te wairua (lifting the spirits), kia hihiko te kaupapa (inciting the passion) and kia hora te aroha (sharing the love).

Ngahuia te AwekotukuNgahuia te Awekotuku
Royal Society Te Apārangi

Awarded the 2017 Royal Society Te Apārangi’s premier Pou Aronui Award for her outstanding service to humanities-aronui. Professor te Awekotuku was the first Māori woman to earn a doctorate from a New Zealand university. During her 40-year career she has blazed a path for indigenous culture, heritage and feminist scholarship.

Donna CampbellDonna Campbell
Marsden Fund 2017

Ms Donna Campbell, working with Dr Catherine Smith from the University of Otago and Mrs Ranui Ngarimu, has received Marsden funding that will help to connect Mātauranga Māori and Western science by unlocking unique cultural knowledge in their study of Te Rā, the last surviving Māori customary sail.

Kim PickeringKim Pickering
Royal Society Te Apārangi

Professor Kim Pickering – Winner of the 2017 Royal Society Te Apārangi Scott Medal for her research to develop radical new, sustainable manufacturing materials. Her speciality is composite materials, combining fibres from things as diverse as hemp and waste plastics.

Vic ArgusVic Argus
Royal Society Te Apārangi

A 2017 Royal Society Te Apārangi James Cook Research Fellow, Professor Arcus’ research will provide valuable knowledge about how to predict future behaviour of biological systems under the threat of increasing global temperatures.

Alice Te Punga SomervilleAlice Te Punga Somerville
Marsden Fund 2017

Associate Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville’s Marsden funding will support her work to redefine the parameters of Indigenous literature in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, by challenging the perception that it ‘didn’t exist’ before the 1970s.

Naomi SimmondsNaomi Simmonds
Marsden Fund 2017

Dr Naomi Simmonds’ Marsden funding will support her to reconnect with the stories of her ancestors that are held in the land by retracing the 500km journey of the ancestress Māhinaarangi, whose knowledge can help guide her descendants in contemporary Aotearoa.

Maryanne GarryMaryanne Garry
Marsden Fund 2017

Professor Maryanne Garry, working with Associate Professor Rachel Zajac from the University of Otago, will use Marsden funding to explore traumatic memories to improve our understanding of memory and help guide clinicians.

Charles LeeCharles Lee
Marsden Fund 2017

Dr Charles Lee has received Marsden funding to research the mechanisms that create and maintain intra-species genetic variations in natural communities of bacteria.

Linda MitchellLinda Mitchell
Marsden Fund 2017

Associate Professor Linda Mitchell has received Marsden funding to investigate the role of early childhood education in refugee resettlement in New Zealand.

Pou TemaraPou Temara
Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Lifetime Achievement award

Professor Pou Temara, long-time champion of tikanga and te reo Māori, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori - The Māori Language Commission. Professor Temara is a recognised authority on Māori language, ancient karakia, kapa haka and whaikōrero and is one of three directors of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo - The Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language.

John Perrone & Michael CreeJohn Perrone & Michael Cree
Endeavour Funding

John Perrone and Michael Cree have been awarded $999,759 to use the way humans see to create robots and drones that can navigate their own way in the world.

Matthew LuckieMatthew Luckie
Endeavour Funding

Dr Matthew Luckie, senior lecturer in Computer Science, has been awarded $997,182 to produce a system aimed at novice users that will find out if a device in their home network has been compromised, and identify the affected device.

Lee StreeterLee Streeter
Endeavour Funding

Dr Lee Streeter from the Faculty of Science and Engineering has been given $953,424 to come up with a system that removes the motion-blur problem in cameras, creating improved data quality. It could have practical applications including speeding up the endlessly slow process of getting your baggage off the carousel at the airport.

Mere BerrymanMere Berryman
Finalist, New Zealander of the Year

Associate Professor Mere Berryman was one of three finalists for the 2017 New Zealander of the year. Dr Berryman contributed to the development of Te Kotahitanga and subsequent programmes that have all contributed to school reform for raising Māori student learning and achievement in New Zealand schools.

Jaimie VealeJaimie Veale
Health Research Council funding

Dr Jaimie Veale has received funding to carry out a survey to investigate how experiences of stigma are associated with health and wellbeing for transgender New Zealanders and how social and community supports buffer this effect.

Ross LawrensonRoss Lawrenson
Health Research Council funding

Professor of Population Health Ross Lawrenson has been awarded two project grants from the Health Research Council worth nearly $2.4 million dollars. Working closely with Midland Cancer Network and clinicians from across the Waikato region, he is investigating how we can improve outcomes in patients with cancer by focusing on reducing delays in diagnosis.

Polly Atatoa Carr & Bridgette Masters-AwaterePolly Atatoa Carr & Bridgette Masters-Awatere
Health Research Council funding

Associate Professor Polly Atatoa Carr (pictured right) and Dr Bridgette Masters-Awatere (left) are working with staff at the Waikato DHB on a $900,000+ project funded by the Health Research Council. They’re using kaupapa Māori research processes to show how Harti Hauora Tamariki, an organised holistic approach to healthcare, improves health and wellbeing outcomes for Māori children admitted to hospital. Dr Masters-Awatere also has funding from Ngā Par o te Maramatanga to study whanau engagement in healing process.

Jonni KoiaJonni Koia
Health Research Council funding

Molecular biologist Dr Jonni Koia (Waikato-Tainui) from the School of Science has a Health Research Council fellowship to conduct research on rongoā rākau (Māori medicinal plants) that are traditionally known to treat type II diabetes (T2D). Her work will use both scientific and traditional Māori methodologies to identify and validate active anti-diabetic agents from rongoā rākau to support its efficacy for T2D. Most importantly, she will work closely with Te Kāhui Rongoā trust, kaumatua Māori elders and well known Rongoā Māori practitioners to help safeguard and preserve matauranga Māori through active Māori community engagement.

Leandro BolzoniLeandro Bolzoni
Health Research Council funding

Dr Leandro Bolzoni has received an Explorer Grant to research the development of electroactive hybrid materials to promote bone regeneration using alternative synthetic materials for joint replacements.