Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Passionate entrepreneur to receive honorary doctorate

April 16, 2014
Passionate political and business entrepreneur to receive honorary doctorate

One of New Zealand’s most passionate political, philanthropic business entrepreneurs will receive a University of Canterbury honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony tomorrow (Thursday).

Alan Gibbs has been called an entrepreneur, merchant banker, political activist, philanthropist, art collector, adventurer and inventor of high speed amphibians.

He says he still enjoys most of those activities. He also spends three months of the year developing one of the world’s great sculpture farm parks just out of Auckland on the Kaipara Harbour.

`` The rest of the time I’m based out of London but I travel a lot. I have been to 110 countries by helicopter in the last 10 years which is probably some type of record.

``I’m working on a number of high speed amphibian vehicles in the United Kingdom, the United States and in Auckland. It keeps me fairly busy.’’

The Aquada was revealed to the public in 2003 and was used by English business magnate Sir Richard Branson to break the record for an amphibious crossing of the English Channel in 2004. In 2012, two new high speed vehicles – the Humdinga and the Phibian – were unveiled in the United States, and the Quadski was commercially launched in 2012.’’

Gibbs says it will be a great honour to receive an honorary doctorate from the university where he graduated.

``I have not visited Christchurch since the earthquakes but I have relatives and friends who live there who have been badly affected. But there is a lot of passion for Christchurch as it rebuilds.

``I have great deal of affection for Christchurch. I was born in the Cashmere hills and we had a holiday house in Akaroa. I was confirmed in the ChristChurch Cathedral and my capping photo was taking outside the cathedral.

``My university days were spent in the old campus, now the Arts Centre, which has a major architectural attraction. It’s a great tragedy that it suffered so much damage.’’

Gibbs says he is looking forward to seeing the University of Canterbury’s engineering car, designed and built by students for an international university event later this year, during his tour of the campus before Thursday’s second graduation ceremony.

The Canterbury mechanical engineering car won a trophy at the event in Melbourne last year. After that competition, Canterbury ranked is the top rookie team in the world.

Between the late 1970s and mid-1990s, Gibbs was active in restructuring inefficient businesses such as New Zealand Forestry Corporation and, more significantly, Telecom so that their best elements could survive and prosper in competitive markets.

He helped establish New Zealand’s first pay television channel, Sky TV, and was a key to the development of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour.

He has devoted the past 15 years to the immense engineering challenge of developing and commercialising the world’s first high speed amphibious vehicle technology, for which he is now being recognised by the awarding of the Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree.

As a generous supporter of the arts, he and his former wife Dame Jenny Gibbs established the NEW Gallery in Auckland and were founding donors to Te Papa.

More than 1200 University of Canterbury students will graduate this week.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Snell Sale Peters Out: Singlet Withdrawn From Sale

“We believe the item was offered for sale in good faith, but our inquiries have shown that the singlet is not the one worn by Peter Snell at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.” More>>

ALSO:

Bodega: Venue Closing At The End Of The Year, After 25 Years Of Music

"It is with considerable sadness that, for reasons beyond our control, we regret to announce the closure of Bodega’s doors at the end of this year, after 25 years of faithful and committed service to live music in Wellington." More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Women At The Centre

In the first chapter of her epic History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes places a version of the Māori creation story alongside that of the Pākehā colonists, setting the scene for how each society saw women. The contrast is startling. More>>

In Auckland Art Gallery: A Tour Of Duty

I had already started my journey through the exhibited collections when an audio announcement about a guided tour to embark shortly from the foyer was made, I decided to join in. Why not? More>>

Art: ‘Holiday’ Wins IHC Art Awards

An intricate embroidered cushion by Wellington artist Jo-Anne Tapiki has won the 2016 IHC Art Awards and $5000. Jo-Anne started working from IHC’s Arts on High studio in Lower Hutt 18 months ago and this is the first time she has entered the competition. More>>

‘Quasi’: Christchurch Art Gallery Reveals Rooftop Sculpture

Christchurch-born and internationally renowned artist Ronnie van Hout has had a huge hand in Christchurch Art Gallery's latest outdoor installation. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news