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Adventurer wins prestigious University of Waikato award

20 August, 2014

Adventurer wins prestigious University of Waikato award

Adventurer, management consultant and motivational speaker Jamie Fitzgerald will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato next month.

Hitting headlines
Jamie Fitzgerald will be familiar to many from the popular TVNZ series First Crossings, which saw him and co-host Kevin Biggar recreate historical moments in New Zealand’s pioneering history.

Jamie has made headlines with many of his adventuring exploits. In 2003, at just 22, he teamed up for the first time with Biggar in a seven-metre dinghy in a 5000km race across the Atlantic Ocean. The pair went on to win the race and gain a world record in the process.

In 2007 he and Biggar became the first New Zealanders to reach the South Pole unsupported on foot – a feat fewer than 50 people have achieved.

Waikato beginnings
A year after he rowed the Atlantic, Jamie graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies.

His time at university was punctuated with several moments of sporting success. He captained the University’s rowing eight in the Gallagher Great Race for three years, and was the University of Waikato’s Sportsman of the Year in 2003.

Helping organisations and young people achieve
Jamie says his real focus now is on helping others demonstrate the principles of success and helping organisations create value through his business Inspiring Performance.

Inspiring Performance helps individuals, groups and organisations strategise goals and achieve them. Recently he’s helped Kiwi exporters, on behalf of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, understand their purpose and strategies and implement them effectively. “I’m getting a real kick out of knowing these organisations are helping New Zealand create more value, and get bigger on the world stage,” he says.

In 2009 he established The Big Walk campaign with the Foundation for Youth Development to walk Te Araroa, a 3000km trail stretching across the length of New Zealand with groups of young people, culminating in a meeting at Parliament to discuss ways to combat negative youth statistics.

In 2011 Jamie managed the design and delivery of training to more than 7000 volunteers of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where they were charged with creating a ‘uniquely New Zealand experience.’

Distinguished Alumni Award
The University of Waikato’s Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2014 will be presented on 19 September at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

This year, as the University marks its 50th anniversary, four alumni will be recognised with Distinguished Alumni Awards. The other recipients are economist Dr Arthur Grimes; author and inaugural director of the Pacific Island Education Resource Centre Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane and CEO of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Parekawhia McLean.

All recipients receive a limited edition cast-glass figure created exclusively by award winning local artist Di Tocker.

“It’s humbling to see the list of previous University of Waikato alumni who have a Distinguished Alumni Award. Receiving this award has also encouraged me to reflect on my previous goals, and appreciate the people who have supported me along the way. I’m incredibly grateful,” says Jamie.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Jamie’s award exemplifies the breadth of success Waikato graduates achieve. “Jamie is a stellar example of a graduate who has excelled across a range of disciplines – sport, business and leadership, and we are proud to be recognising his achievements with a Distinguished Alumni Award.”

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour University of Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.


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