The University of Auckland has awarded Distinguished Alumni Awards to five alumni who have excelled in their fields and made a significant impact on their community.

Ngarimu Blair, Distinguished Alumni awardee 2022

They are chosen from a broad range of sectors and include a Young Alumnus, who is 35 or under and is already making a major contribution.

University of Auckland Director of Alumni Relations and Development, Mark Bentley, said that it was always difficult to choose across the very many occupations and fields that alumni are working in around the globe.

“Our 2022 list is made up of top achievers and community contributors across Māori leadership, health, fine art and psychology. What all the winners share is demonstrated excellence in their chosen work and a deep commitment to having a strong and positive influence on the lives of others.”

The 2022 awardees are:

Fepulea’i Margie Apa, Chief Executive of Health New Zealand, the new centralised national health organisation. Margie was previously CEO of Counties Manukau District Health Board and has more than two decades of health-sector leadership experience. She is the first Samoan to lead a district health board in New Zealand and carries the honorific title Fepulea’i from her family village of Sale’aula, Savai’i, in Samoa.

Margie graduated with a BCom from the University of Auckland in 1995, followed by an MPA(Exec) from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020.

Fepulea’i Margie Apa, Distinguished Alumni awardee, 2022

Ngarimu Blair (pictured at top), an influential Māori leader who has spent more than two decades working to advance iwi issues in Tāmaki Makaurau. He is Deputy Chair of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust and has played a significant role in the success of Whai Rawa, the trust’s commercial arm. He has spearheaded several art and urban design projects highlighting Māori history in Auckland and has been heavily involved with hapū housing projects in the city.

Ngarimu graduated with a BA in 1998.

Dr Maureen Lander MNZM, Distinguished Alumni awardee 2022. Photo: Billy Wong

Dr Maureen Lander, MNZM, a weaver, academic and multimedia installation artist who has exhibited internationally and throughout New Zealand for 30 years. She is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Māori art and in 2021 she, along with Mata Aho Collective,  won the Walters Prize, Aotearoa New Zealand's largest contemporary art prize for their large collaborative art installation Atapō.

Dr Lander graduated with a BFA in 1987, BA in 1989, MFA in 1993, and DocFA in 2002.

Nigel Latta, ONZM, Distinguished Alumni awardee 2022

Nigel Latta, ONZM, a clinical psychologist, author and television host, who specialises in forensic psychology and family therapy. He has written several books to help parents raise children and teenagers. Nigel has worked with public and private organisations as a clinical psychologist, and in 2009 was appointed as an independent panelist on the review of the anti-smacking law. He is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to psychology.

Nigel graduated with a BSc 1988 and an MSc in 1990 (Otago) and an MPhil (1995) and a PGDipClinPsych (1995) from the University of Auckland.

Dr Sudhvir Singh, Young Alumnus of the Year, 2022

Dr Sudhvir Singh, Young Alumnus of the Year, a physician and public health leader focusing on addressing climate change and health inequalities. He worked as a special advisor to Helen Clark in her role as Co-Chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and is currently Technical Officer, Healthier Populations at the World Health Organization, based in Norway.

Dr Singh graduated with a BMedSc(Hons) in 2011 and a MBChB in 2012 from the University of Auckland. He also gained a MSc from the London School of Economics and a MA from the University of Chicago.


The 2022 Distinguished Alumni will be presented with their awards at Taumatua, a celebratory event, on 11 June. The event will be livestreamed. 

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Lisa Finucane
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