UC Honorary Doctorates: Artist, Judge,Tongan Politician
Artist, Judge And Tongan Politician To Be Awarded UC
February 11, 2013
Leading New Zealand artist Bill Culbert, Supreme Court Judge Sir William Young and former Tongan Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele (Lord Sevele of Vailahi) are to be awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Canterbury (UC) in April.
Culbert, who is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sculptors, is the first person to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, which was added to the University’s suite of honorary doctorates in 2012.
Accolades, national and international, and recognition of Culbert's artistic excellence are numerous as well as significant. He was invited by Creative New Zealand to represent New Zealand as its artist at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Jenny Harper, director of the Christchurch Art Gallery and Commissioner for New Zealand at the 2013 Venice Biennale, said Culbert ``makes marvellous work, constantly re-investigating how light works and refreshing how we think of it’’.
Culbert attended the School of Fine Arts at UC in the 1950s and his studio work is done in the south of France and in London, where he lives. Culbert exhibits world-wide, including frequently in New Zealand.
His major sculptures in public spaces are found in far-flung places including London as well as New Zealand. His visions are sometimes captured in collaboration with noted New Zealand artist Ralph Hotere.
Sir William Young is one of UC’s most outstanding graduates, being awarded the Law School’s gold medal as the top law student in his graduation year.
He completed a PhD at Cambridge University and returned to enter legal practice in Christchurch and became a partner in his legal firm, then a barrister sole and Queen's Counsel.
Sir William was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1997 and rapidly progressed to the Court of Appeal. He was the Court of Appeal President from 2006 to 2010 before being elevated to the Supreme Court. Very few lawyers achieve such distinction.
He is the principal author of the Institute of Judicial Studies’ Criminal Jury Trials Bench Book. He also has a number of academic publications to his name.
Dr Sevele, an arts graduate from UC, has achieved distinction in his home country and throughout the Pacific for his diverse activities in public service, business, community welfare and politics.
In February 2006 Dr Sevele became Tonga’s first elected member of parliament to become Prime Minister and the first who was not a member of the royal family or any chiefly family.
After the earthquake that struck Christchurch in September 2010, Dr Sevele reciprocated New Zealand's unfailing willingness to come to Tonga's assistance in times of natural disasters. During his last months as Prime Minister, he launched a public appeal in Tonga for donations to Christchurch. His government made a donation of $NZ500,000. Dr Sevele did not seek re-election in the 2010 election.