UC Alumni Ambassadors

UC Alumni Ambassadors work closely with the Alumni and UC Foundation team to support alumni relations activities in their local region. They help by developing connections with local alumni and those new to the area. 

Find a local ambassador below, or contact alumni@canterbury.ac.nz if you would like to volunteer to become an Ambassador.

This page will be regularly updated with the contact details for our UC Alumni Ambassadors in different regions, so please check back for further details as they become available.



Location Vancouver
Name Anne Murray

Anne studied at UC on a Commonwealth Scholarship graduating in 1990 with an M. Sc. in Resource Management.  She recently retired from her executive role at Vancouver International Airport.  Anne now provides strategic consulting in sustainability, indigenous relations, aviation and tourism and enjoys having more time to travel and volunteer.

While Vancouver has been home for Anne, her partner Larry (and their two children) for the past 30 years she knows Canada well having visited every Province and Territory.

Email address anne.murray604@gmail.com




Location Hong Kong
Name Richard Tan
Biography Richard studied Psychology at the University of Canterbury between 1975 and 1985. After graduation, he worked with Child, Youth and Family Services (now Oranga Tamariki), followed by a stint with the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand. He has been in Hong Kong for over 15 years and is an Associate Fellow of the Hong Kong Psychological Society. Richard is currently enjoying retirement and is great for offering advice on what to do in the area.
Email address rahk.tan@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-richard-tan-phd-7a5a6921/


Location Beijing
Name Xu Haolun
Biography Haolun attended the University of Canterbury for a master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy between 2017 and 2018. In March 2018, Haolun started his career as a global communications officer at the Office of Global Communications of Peking University in China, and now he works as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief in the office’s overseas social media team.
Email address hxu26@uclive.ac.nz or houseofxu@outlook.com 
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/haolunxu/



Location Delhi (and Alumni Ambassador for the Indian UC alumni community in New Zealand) 
Name Samarth
Biography Samarth completed his PhD in the field of Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Canterbury in 2019. He spends time in Delhi and in New Zealand - mostly Christchurch, and will soon spend the majority of his time in Dunedin, as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Otago. Samarth is available to liaise and connect with Indian alumni in Delhi and in the South Island of New Zealand (you can also contact him if you live in the North Island and wish to communicate with him via email). Samarth has strong interests in sports, music, and event management. He likes to play drums, cook, and travel during his free time. Samarth also served as a President for the University of Canterbury Indian Students Association 2017-2018. 
Email address samarth.biologist@gmail.com  



Location Jakarta
Name Aulia Aruan

Aulia Aruan has previously received New Zealand and Indonesian scholarships. He obtained his doctorate in management degree (1996) and economics master degree (1990) from the School of Forestry - Canterbury University, New Zealand. His bachelor of forestry was gained from IPB, Indonesia (1978). He has been engaging with various local, national, regional, and international organizations and universities including non-governmental organizations. Now, he is an associate for several consulting firms in climate change, forestry, and environmental issues. He likes playing chess, travelling, and gardening. His motto is “purpose fuels passion”.

Email address aruan2007@gmail.com



Location Osaka
Name Alexander Bennett

Alex specialised in Japanese studies at UC attaining the degrees BA (1st Class Hons.), Masters (Distinction), and a PhD. He also received a PhD from Kyoto University in cultural anthropology. The focus of his research was, and remains, the ideals and culture of Japan’s famed samurai warriors. He is currently professor of Japanese history at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. Alex has lived in Japan for over thirty years to pursue his passion for practising and researching the country’s traditional martial arts.   

Email address alex@kansai-u.ac.jp 
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-bennett-33968270


Location Amman 
Name Dana Abudayyeh

Dana Abudayyeh graduated from University of Canterbury with a PhD degree in Civil Engineering. Dana is the recipient of five awards: the NZ Transportation Group Tertiary Study Grant, the Best Student Paper at the Engineering NZ TG conference, the NZMUGs student and young professional award, the Austraffic ITE ANZ- travel grant to present her research in Japan, and recently the ITE-ANZ Award of Excellence for her development of the ITE-ANZ Transport Chapter at University of Canterbury.

Email address d.abudayyeh@hotmail.com 
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-a-76aa9348/



Location Kota Kinabalu
Name Patrick Chu
Biography Patrick graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2001 with a Bachelor of Engineering, specialising in Civil Engineering. After looking at the jobs available in Christchurch, Patrick decided to move back to his home town of Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) to become a Site Engineer at a civil and structural consulting company for a new housing development. He has since moved on to a new role and has been Senior General Manager in a local, sustainable oil palm planation company, overlooking the operations of the estate since 2008.
Email address Patjyc79@gmail.com


Location Kuala Lumpur
Name Amirul Azham
Biography Amirul graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2020, with a double major in Operations and Supply Chain Management & Strategy and Entrepreneurship.  After a few months of experiencing the working environment in New Zealand, he decided to return to Malaysia Amirul is currently setting up his entrepreneurship venture based in Malaysia and we will get to see he spread his wings for more opportunities.
Email address amirulazham63@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/amirul-azham-057772130/ 


Location Kuching
Name Jye Ying Lu 
Biography Jye is a graduate from Electrical & Electronics Engineering, with a Master of Engineering in Management, and a PhD. She is now a Director in Powerpoint Electrical Malaysia, mainly doing M&E consulting, engineering supply and EPC projects in various industries. She enjoys trying new activities and meeting new friends from all around the world. 
Email address dr.jyelu@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jye-ying-lu-2656a11b


New Zealand

Location Wellington
Name George Troup
Biography George studied at Canterbury from 1967 to 1969. completing a BA in French and German and meeting his wife, Hilary. He spent his professional career in the New Zealand Treasury and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, holding a number of positions in New Zealand and overseas including as Ambassador in Mexico City and The Hague. He is involved with a number of committees and activities in Wellington.
Email address Troup2004@yahoo.com


Location Napier
Name Claire Mackintosh

Claire was capped at the first graduation of UC in 1963. She taught science, maths, biology and was the HOD Science at Rangi Ruru Girls' School. Also a board member of Rangi Ruru, she chaired their Centennial Celebrations, and concurrently did relief teaching, manufacture outdoor furniture, set up a PR firm and completed a Dip Bus Studies. From 1992 she worked in Development at St Andrew's College, Presbyterian Support, Rangi Ruru and chaired Osteoporosis NZ. mFrom 2011, with John Rolleston, a board member at College House, raised several million to restore earthquake damaged buildings, including the iconic Sir Miles Warren designed Chapel of the Upper Room.

Claire and her husband John moved to 4 Cobden Road, Bluff Hill, Napier to be closer to their Napier and Hamilton families. She looks forward to meeting UC alumni in the Bay. 

Email address cmackintosh@xtra.co.nz
Phone # 021 821 422



Location Mindanao
Name Jovanie (JC) Espesor
Biography Jovanie Camacho Espesor is a professor of Political Science in the Mindanao State University- General Santos City, Philippines. He received his PhD in Political Science from the Department of Political Science and International Relations from the University of Canterbury (2019), with scholarship grants from the Government of New Zealand and the European Union Centre Network. Jovanie is a board member of the Research Committee on Conflict, Security and Democratization of the International Political Science Association. He is also a research fellow of the Centre for Middle East and Global Peace Studies of the National Islamic University of Indonesia. His area of research interest intersects the disciplinary boundaries of Political Science, Anthropology, Critical Security and Development Studies. He publishes peer-reviewed articles on peacebuilding, development and security issues in the southern Philippines and Aceh, Indonesia. Jovanie is currently serving as the special assistant to the Chancellor of the Mindanao State University- General Santos City. He also provided consultancy services to the World Bank, Save the Children, Asian Development Bank and International Alert. Finally, he is an avid landscape and portrait photographer.
Email address jovanie.espesor@msugensan.edu.ph or jce50uclive.ac.nz 
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jovanie-camacho-espesor-12209a32/



Location Christchurch, New Zealand
Name Tiffany Nelson-Sauni
Biography Tiffany completed her LLB from the University of Canterbury in 2009. She worked in Samoa for the first four years of her legal career and currently works and lives in Christchurch. 
Email address nelson.samoa@gmail.com 


Location Apia, Samoa 
Name Zan Westerlund
Biography Zan completed two Bachelor degrees at the University of Canterbury: a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics (2003-2007) and a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), specialising in Civil Engineering (2008-2010). He is now working as a Project Manager for a construction company in Samoa (Bluebird Construction Company) as well as recently starting a smaller construction company (Rockworkz Limited) with his wife. 
Email address zan@bluebirdconstruction.ws 

Saudi Arabia

Location Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Name Hussain Alsakhin

Hussain completed a BCom in Management, focusing on Human Resources Management, graduating in 2011. He is a Human Resources Professional with more than 8 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR business partner with demonstrated success in a diversified, complex, fast-paced and dynamic environment.

Email address Hussain.alsakhin@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/hussain-alsakhin


South Korea

Location Seoul
Name Tyler Dong Kyu Lee

Tyler came to Christchurch from South Korea as a high school student. He attended UC and graduated with a BCom in Taxation and Accounting (2016). After graduation, he worked at a public accounting practice in Christchurch and Hamilton as an accountant.  Tyler moved back to South Korea in 2020 and started working as an accounting consultant at a public accounting practice in Seoul. Specialised in auditing, SoX, valuation and private accounting.  Tyler says he enjoyed “exploring the Middle Earth" while in NZ, and his hobbies include camping, running and meeting new people.

Email address audit.transparency@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/tylertheauditor/ 


Sri Lanka

Location Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Name Bhante Dhammaloka

Bhante completed his PhD in mathematics (History of Indian Mathematics in particular) in 2020 at the University of Canterbury, MPhil in Sanskrit in 2015, and BA (Hons) In Sanskrit in 2009 - both at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit at the Department of Classical Languages, University of Peradeniya. He is also an associate of the New Zealand South Asia Centre, UC. Bhante lives in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Email address jdhammaloka@gmail.com




Location Stockholm
Name James McEwen
Biography Following the decision to change career paths from working in a trade as an electrical service technician, James studied as an adult student at the University of Canterbury.  He graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, with a minor in Power Engineering. James moved to Stockholm, Sweden to settle with his partner and work as a professional engineer. James is a car enthusiast, and in 2019 he was a leader within UCMotorsport and played an important role in helping the team achieve their best result with an electric vehicle so far.
Email address james.mcewen1988@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://linkedin.com/in/james-mcewen-4634b8108



Location Geneva 
Name Yao Yao (Cassie)
Biography Yao graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Master of Arts in Human Services in April 2019. She now works as the Senior Executive Support at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) HQ in Geneva. She also enjoys outings with friends as well as meeting new people and hearing their stories.
Email address lemon_yaoyao@hotmail.com  


Location Bangkok
Name Chakrit Tiebtienrat
Biography Chakrit graduated from the University of Canterbury with a BA(Hons) Political Science and a MA (Political Science).  He has worked extensively in management, planning, and consultant in business, politics, and education. Upon graduating from UC, Chakrit worked in tertiary education sector as lecturer and management in New Zealand and Thailand. He has work experience in both Thai and New Zealand politics.​ In​ addition, he has worked​ as​ the​ Vice​ President​ of​ JP​ Insurance​ Public​ Company​ Limited​ in​ Thailand.​ He is currently the  Managing​ Director​ at​ Central​ Laboratory​ Thailand, a  State-​Owned​ Enterprise for​ ISO audit, test​ing, and​ verification. He is also Vice President of the New Zealand Alumni Association (Thailand).
Email address chakrit.tiebtienrat@gmail.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/chakrit-tiebtienrat-5336014b/


United Kingdom

Location London
Name Alene Wilton
Biography Alene graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History with Religious Studies and went on to complete her D.Phil. in History at the University of Oxford. Aside from a brief stint in Wellington from 1998-2001, working in Parliament and several government departments, she has lived and worked in the UK since leaving Canterbury. Having undertaken various corporate roles in the UK government, the National Health Service, and social housing, Alene is now the Chief Operating Officer for the Marine Stewardship Council, an international not-for-profit which sets standards for sustainable wild-capture fishing practices and works to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. Alene also chairs the UC Foundation Trust for the UK, as well as the UC Alumni Committee in the UK. 
Email address






Location San Diego
Name Jane Watkins

Jane Watkins graduated from The University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce.  She also holds a Masters in Taxation from Golden Gate University.   Jane is a Certified Public Accountant in California, a Chartered Accountant (CAANZ) and a Barrister & Solicitor (New Zealand).

Currently the owner of Tax Time Services Inc. Jane has more than 20 years of public accounting and industry experience working in both New Zealand and the US providing tax and accounting services to both public and private companies and individuals.

Jane and her husband (also a UC Alumni) moved to San Diego in 2001 where they currently live with their two children. 

Email address jmhwatkins@outlook.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-watkins-86616521


UC Alumni Associations  

Location New Zealand
Name UC MBA  Graduate Association
Biography The UC MBA (Master of Business Administration) Graduate Association invites MBA, DipBA, and GradDipBA alumni to continue their learning through regular masterclasses and exclusive events featuring industry speakers and networking opportunities.The current UC MBA Graduate Association committee members are Matthew Williams (President), Louisa Bagma-Duff, Lloyd Mander, Murray Dempsey, Mike Blackburn, Vidhi Marshall (MBA Candidate) and Laura Jones.More information about the UC MBA Graduate Association, and their activities, can be found here.
You can keep in touch with the UC MBA Graduate Association through their active LinkedIn group (see below).  
Email address

For any questions about the UC MBA Graduate Association, please email mba@canterbury.ac.nz.