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UC Alumni recognised in King’s Birthday Honours

07 June 2024

Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) is proud to celebrate the impactful alumni recognised in the annual King’s Birthday Honours.  


From services to wildlife conservation to structural engineering, the contributions of these outstanding UC graduates have made a world of difference within their communities, and UC is proud to recognise the distinctions bestowed.

CNZM Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Arihia Bennett, for services to Māori, governance and the community.

Arahia (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) was the longest serving Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, from 2012 to 2024, and the first woman to hold the position. Under her leadership, Ngāi Tahu worked with the government and Christchurch City Council to assist with the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack.

ONZM Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Robert Jury, for services to structural engineering and design. Robert is a world-leading earthquake engineer with more than 45 years of experience in the assessment and design of buildings and infrastructure projects nationally and internationally.

Gemma New, for services to music direction. Gemma has held high positions with orchestras across North America and Aotearoa New Zealand and is regarded as a rising star in the classical world.

Dr Colin O’Donnell, for services to wildlife conservation. Dr O’Donnell has been a scientist with the New Zealand Wildlife Service and the Department of Conservation (DOC) since the 1980s, carrying out many studies of the distribution, habitat use and populations of aquatic birds, and is recognised as the country’s leading expert in New Zealand long-tailed and short-tailed bats.

Dr William Round, for services to medical physics and biomedical engineering. Dr Round is internationally respected in the fields of medical physics and biomedical engineering over four decades.

MNZM Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Grant Harrison, for services to volleyball. Grant has contributed to the development of regional and national volleyball in New Zealand for more than 40 years.

Rex Kerr, for services to the community and rugby. Rex’s contribution to education and the community spanned 60 years until his retirement in 2023.

KSM King’s Service Medal:

Patricia Boyle, for services to the community. Trish has been recognised for an outstanding contribution to the Southland community through various community initiatives, particularly through Rotary.

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