2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

01 December 2016

Congratulations to our 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners.

They are:

  • Carol Hirschfeld, Arts (One of New Zealand’s most iconic broadcasters)
  • Professor Ian Hunter, Science (Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT)
  • Dr Lance O’Sullivan, FMHS (General Practitioner and inspirational role model)
  • Lisa Reihana, CAI (New Zealand Artist who will represent New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale)

Young Alumna of the Year:

  • Erna Takazawa, FMHS (First and only fully-qualified optometrist in Samoa, promoting the need for affordable eye care, and changing the lives of many on a daily basis)


Carol Hirschfeld, BA 1984


Carol Hirschfeld (Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata) is Head of Content at Radio New Zealand and one of the nation’s most iconic broadcasters. She is an experienced MC, presenter and speaker, her audiences including new University of Auckland alumni at Graduation. Carol is a former trustee of Teach First NZ, the Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust, and the NZ Lam Charitable Trust, and is an ambassador for Breast Cancer Cure.

Carol Webpage

Professor Ian Hunter, BSc 1974, MSc 1975, PhD 1980


Ian Hunter is the Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and runs its BioInstrumentation Laboratory. He has more than 500 publications and 100 patents to his name, and has received prestigious awards for teaching excellence. He has founded or co-founded over 25 companies.

Ian Webpage

Dr Lance O’Sullivan, BHB 1999, MBChB 2002


Lance O’Sullivan (Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi, Ngati Maru) is a medical and community leader living and working in Kaitaia. Lance is an accomplished author, national and international public speaker, role model, leader and innovator. He is a passionate advocate for Māori health and was named Māori of the Year in 2013 and Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2014.

Lance webpage

Lisa Reihana, BFA 1988, MDes Unitec Institute of Technology 2014


Lisa Reihana (Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Hine Ngāi Tu) is a multi-disciplinary artist who has contributed in powerful ways to multimedia, photography, sculpture and screen culture in New Zealand. Her work is held in public and private collections in Europe, the US, Australia and locally. She has been chosen to represent New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Lisa Webpage2

Erna Takazawa, BOptom 2012


Erna Takazawa is Samoa’s first and only optometrist. Through her work, children, people with disabilities and pensioners have access to free eye-care. She is the National Eye Coordinator and a member of Samoa’s Allied Health Council. Erna lectures in Fiji and trains eye nurses from around the Pacific. In 2015 she received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

Erna Webpage2