University to honour distinguished alumni

02 March 2017
Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Carol Hirschfeld

Outstanding graduates of the University of Auckland, in fields ranging from the creative arts and broadcasting to science, health and optometry, will be honoured at a gala dinner this month [10 March].

The University will recognise four winners of Distinguished Alumni Awards and a Young Alumna of the Year for their outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities, New Zealand and internationally.

Over 400 guests are expected to attend the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner in a marquee on the lawn of Old Government House at the University’s City Campus. The winners will take part in a panel discussion event, Bright Lights, at the Grand Millennium Auckland the evening before.

The five distinguished alumni are:

Carol Hirschfeld, BA 1984


Carol Hirschfeld (Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata) is Head of Content at Radio New Zealand and one of the nation’s best-known broadcasters. She is an experienced MC, presenter and speaker whose audiences have included new University of Auckland alumni at Graduation. Carol is a former trustee of Teach First NZ, the Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust and the New Zealand LAM Charitable Trust and an ambassador for Breast Cancer Cure.

Professor Ian Hunter, BSc 1974, MSc 1975, PhD 1980


Ian Hunter is the Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and runs its BioInstrumentation Laboratory. He has more than 500 publications and 100 patents to his name, and has received prestigious awards for teaching excellence. He has founded or co-founded over 25 companies.

Dr Lance O’Sullivan, BHB 1999, MBChB 2002


Lance O’Sullivan (Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi, Ngati Maru) is a medical and community leader living and working in Kaitaia. Lance is an accomplished author, national and international public speaker, role model, leader and innovator. He is a passionate advocate for Māori health and was named Māori of the Year in 2013 and Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2014.

Lisa Reihana, BFA 1988, MDes Unitec Institute of Technology 2014


Lisa Reihana (Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Hine Ngāi Tu) is a multi-disciplinary artist who has contributed in powerful ways to multimedia, photography, sculpture and screen culture in New Zealand. Her work is held in public and private collections in Europe, the US, Australia and locally. She has been chosen to represent New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

The Young Alumna of the Year is:

Erna Takazawa, BOptom 2012


Erna Takazawa is Samoa’s first and only optometrist. Through her work, children, people with disabilities and pensioners have access to free eye-care. She is the National Eye Coordinator and a member of Samoa’s Allied Health Council. Erna lectures in Fiji and trains eye nurses from around the Pacific. In 2015 she received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award.


Note to Editors

Extended biographies and photographs of each distinguished alumni are available, and we can arrange interviews nearer the time.

For more information contact:

Pete Barnao | Media Relations Adviser Team Leader
The University of Auckland
Tel: +64 9 923 7698 |mobile: + 64 (0)21 926 408