This year's Distinguished Alumni

Pete Bethune
BE 1990, DipCom 1997, BSc Waik. 1987, MBA Macq. 2005 (Engineering)

‘Captain’ Pete Bethune is the CEO of Earthrace Conservation and a world-renowned conservationist who has navigated multiple dangers to successfully expose wildlife smuggling, illegal fishing, logging and mining and to provide security for maritime environments and national parks.

In 2008, Pete and his ‘Earthrace’ team set a world record for circumnavigating the globe, awakening public interest in the potential of biofuels. In 2010, his dramatic disruption of whaling in the Antarctic led to worldwide media coverage and the whaling programme’s radical diminishment.

Mitchell Pham
ONZM, FCPA BCom 1994 (Business & Economics)

Mitchell Pham is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s top technology innovators, business entrepreneurs, government advisers and industry leaders in our digital economy. He is also one of the most influential relationship builders between New Zealand and Asia and an outstanding community leader in the APAC region.

Mitchell was honoured with a Kea World Class New Zealander Award in 2018 and appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2023

Simon Phillips
BA (1979), Dip Acting, Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School (1980) (Arts)

Simon Phillips is an international theatre director and former Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company and the State Theatre Company of South Australia. His directing credits range from works by the great contemporary writers and leading Australian playwrights, to Shakespearean classics, musicals and opera. His productions have toured Australia, Asia, Europe, the West End and Broadway. Simon is the recipient of multiple awards for theatre direction and in 2012 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith CNZM, FRSNZ BA 1975, DipTchg ATC 1975, MA (Hons) 1987, PhD Education 1996 (Education & Social Work)

Distinguished Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Tuhourangi) is one of the most influential researchers in Māori education and author of Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 

She co-founded Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the Māori Centre of Research Excellence, and since 2021 has been a distinguished professor at the Indigenous tertiary institute Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne. Linda’s preeminent contributions to Māori and Indigenous research and education led her to be made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 and to be awarded the Rutherford Medal in 2023.

Young Alumna of the Year
Simran Kaur BOptom (Hons) 2019 (Medical & Health Sciences)

Simran Kaur is the founder of the globally recognised ‘Girls That Invest’ financial podcast and media company that demystifies the world of investing for women. It has become the number 1-ranked business podcast in the United States, Canada and New Zealand and in 2022 Simran released an associated bestselling book.

Simran has appeared in Vogue India, delivered a TEDx talk and spoken at the United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament. In 2023 she was included in the ‘Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia’ list.