Celebrating Excellence

A great education is driven by great educators

We're acknowledging the success of our groundbreaking teachers and researchers. They're tackling the world’s biggest challenges, contributing to our economy and helping to protect the environment for future generations. These are some of our highest achievers from 2017.

Dr 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).

Professor Ngahuia 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 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.

Professor Kim 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.

Professor Vic Arcus

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.

Assoc Professor Alice 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.

Dr Naomi 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.

Professor Maryanne 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.

Dr Charles 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.

Assoc Professor Linda 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.

Professor Pou 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 and 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.

Dr Matthew 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

Dr Lee 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.

Associate Professor Mere Berryman

New Zealander of the year finalist

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.

Dr Jaimie Veale

Health Research Council Funding 2017

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.

Professor Ross Lawrenson

Health Research Council Funding 2017

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.

Associate Professor Polly Atatoa Carr and Dr Bridgette Masters-Awatere

Health Research Council Funding 2017

Associate Professor Polly Atatoa Carr and Dr Bridgette Masters-Awatere are working with staff at the Waikato District Health Board on a $900,000-plus 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.

Dr Jonni Koia

Health Research Council Funding 2017

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.

Dr Leandro Bolzoni

Health Research Council Funding 2017

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.