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Pacific Poet And Chief Justice Among Distinguished Alumni

Four inspirational graduates from the University of Auckland are to be celebrated at the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on March 20.

This year’s awardees have excelled in the areas of global business, heritage architecture, the New Zealand legal system and Pacific literature and arts.

They are Pacific poet and author Courtney Sina Meredith; Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann; eminent heritage architect Jeremy Salmond; and global business consultant Andrew Grant.

Each year the University recognises up to four Distinguished Alumni, and one Young Alumnus or Alumna, for the contributions they are making to their professions and to their communities.

The dinner will be held in the Alumni Pavilion on the lawn of Old Government House, and will be hosted by the University’s new Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater, who will be making her first public address in the role, which she takes up in March.

The winners will share their own stories and take part in a panel discussion at the “Bright Lights” event at St Matthew in the City the evening before, March 19.


This year’s winners are:


Young Alumna of the Year, Courtney Sina Meredith, BA 2010 (Arts)
Courtney Sina Meredith is a distinguished author whose work delves into issues such as racism, sexism and poverty and draws on her Samoan roots. She is the Director of Tautai, Aotearoa’s leading Pacific arts organisation. Courtney has been awarded prestigious creative opportunities around the globe. Heralding an era of niu leadership, she has a strong focus on giving voice to the contemporary experiences of Pacific women.

The Honourable Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann GNZM, BA 1987, LLB 1987 (Law & Arts)
The Honourable Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann was appointed Chief Justice of New Zealand in December 2018. As the former Chief Judge of the High Court she promoted access to justice and introduced reforms which reduced delays in the Court. She led the High Court response to the Canterbury Earthquakes and was instrumental in creating the Christchurch Earthquake List, which enabled prompt resolution of earthquake-related cases.

Jeremy Salmond QSO, FNZIA, BArch 1972, MArch 1983 (Creative Arts & Industries)
Jeremy Salmond is an eminent heritage architect and the Founding Director of Salmond Reed Architects. He is a member of the Queen’s Service Order for Services to Conservation of Historic Heritage and in 2018 he received the New Zealand Institute of Architects Gold Medal, which recognises an outstanding career. Jeremy is the heritage advisor for Auckland’s Central Rail Link project and the lead heritage architect for the Christ Church Cathedral reinstatement.

Andrew Grant ONZM, BE 1989, MA Oxf., 1992 (Engineering)
Andrew Grant is a prominent international business consultant. He is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and has been a member of its global board for 12 years. The former Rhodes Scholar is a member of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council and serves on two University of Auckland boards. He helped establish Springboard Trust, The Education Hub and the Murray Speight scholarships at Oxford University.

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