Distinguished graduates honoured

03 March 2014

Six outstanding graduates of the University of Auckland, in fields ranging from neuroscience and composing, to law and the visual arts, will be honoured at a gala dinner this month.

More than 400 guests will attend the dinner in a large marquee on Old Government House lawn at the University’s City Campus.

The five winners of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, and the Young Alumna of the Year award, have all made outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities, or the nation.

As well as addressing the gala dinner on Friday 14 March, the award winners will speak at Auckland Live! on Thursday 13 March. This ticketed event is open to the public and will start at 6.30pm  at the Maidment Theatre.

At this event speakers will discuss their aspirations and inspiration, their vision of the future in both their career and industry, and advice for people interested in their field.  The Auckland Live! discussion will be led by alumnus and Qantas Media Award-winner Finlay Macdonald.

The five distinguished alumni are;

Bruce Aitken, BCom 1975, was President and Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver-based Methanex Corporation, the world’s largest producer of methanol, from May 2004 until December 2012. During his long career with Methanex he held numerous positions including Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, based in New Zealand. He is a global business leader and serves on the board of directors for Methanex.

Gareth Farr ONZM, BMus (Comp) 1991, DipMus (Percussion) 1991, MMus Eastman School of Music 1992, is well known as one of the country’s leading composers. His works have been commissioned and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Wellington Sinfonia, and various other professional ensembles here and overseas. In 2010 Gareth received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award.

Dr Julie Maxton, LLB(Hons) London 1976, LLM(Hons) Canterbury 1981, PhD Law 1991 , is the Executive Director of the Royal Society of London. Prior to taking up her current position in 2011, Julie was Registrar at the University of Oxford, where she is an Honorary Fellow of University College. She was a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland from 1993 to 2006 and Dean of the Faculty from 2000 to 2006.

Dr William Tan PBM, BBM, BSc 1980 Singapore , PhD 1994, MPhil 1996, MHSc 2001 Sydney , MOH 2002 Harvard ,  MSc 2002 Oxford , MBBS 2005 Newcastle, is a neuroscientist, resident physician, Paralympian, international inspirational speaker, and a champion for needy causes. He became the first person to accomplish marathons in Antarctica and the North Pole in a wheelchair in 2007 and holds multiple endurance marathon world records.

Hon Dr 'Ana Maui Taufe ?ulungaki, BA 1969, MA Leeds 1978, PhD Birmingham 1988 , is a Tongan academic and politician. She was appointed as Tongan Minister of Education, Women’s Affairs and Culture in 2011, after a 30-year career at the Ministry of Education and the University of the South Pacific. She has made significant contributions to education policy and political reform in Tonga.

Young Alumna of the Year:

Roseanne Liang, BA BSc 2000, MCPA 2003, is a writer and film director. Her first feature film, My Wedding and Other Secrets , was the highest grossing local film in 2011. Based on her award-winning autobiographical documentary, Banana in a Nutshell , it won Best Feature Screenplay award at the 2012 Aotearoa Film and TV Awards. Roseanne was named a 2012 Sir Peter Blake Trust Emerging Leader.

For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips , Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences The University of Auckland Email s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz Phone +64 9 923 7383 or Mob 021416396

Or

Alison Lees, Media Relations Team Leader The University of Auckland Email: a.lees@auckland.ac.nz