Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Alumni Awards honour alumni who have made outstanding contributions to Massey University, to their professions, their communities or the nation.

Sir Geoffrey Peren Award

Ross McEwan

Ross McEwan

When Ross McEwan was appointed chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2013, it was considered one of the toughest jobs in banking. But the Massey University alumnus has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Mr McEwan completed his Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey University in 1979, with a major in human resource management. He started his business career in personnel and human resources roles at Unilever, Dunlop and then National Mutual.

He progressed up the management ladder at National Mutual, before taking the top job after the takeover by French insurance company Axa. At this stage he was one of the youngest chief executives in New Zealand, running the local operations of Axa at the age of 40.

He went on to become general manager at the stockbroking firm First New Zealand Capital Securities before heading to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He started in the role of general manager before becoming group executive for retail banking services, a position he held for five years.

In 2012 he became chief executive officer for United Kingdom retail at the Royal Bank of Scotland before securing the top job the following year.

Distinguished Service Award

Mavis Mullins

Mavis Mullins

With growing accolades to her name, Mavis Mullins, of Rangitāne, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi and Ngāti Ranginui, has forged a path in the primary sector, with a lengthy career in agribusiness.

Born and raised in Dannevirke, southern Hawke’s Bay, Mrs Mullins graduated with her Master of Business Administration from Massey University in 1996. A mother of four, and grandmother to 14, Mrs Mullins (nee Paewai) is a fourth-generation sheep farmer. She and husband Koro purchased the family shearing contracting business that dated back to her grandfather, the 1920s All Black Lui Paewai.

With more than 20 years experience in governance in public and private enterprises, she has become a well-known and respected leader within the wool and agri sectors and on the international business stage.

Mrs Mullins has sat on the boards of Landcorp, the MidCentral and Wairarapa District Health Boards and the Massey University Council (2005-09). Her past governance roles have included 2degrees Mobile and Aohanga Incorporation, and she currently chairs Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, the Maori business development Poutama Trust, Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre and the post-settlement governance entity Rangitäne Tu Mai Ra.

She is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, won the rural category at last year’s Women of Influence Awards and will be inducted in to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in July.

Distinguished Young Alumni


Pengbo Jiang

Master of Management graduate Pengbo Jiang is making a name for himself as an advocate for new migrants.

The 26-year-old, who moved to Wellington with his family from Fuzhou, northern China, as a child, wants to ensure the settling in experience for new migrants is as smooth as possible.

Over the past 13 years he has volunteered thousands of hours to different organisations in Wellington, working to help new migrants integrate into New Zealand society. He helps to promote and fundraise to showcase their cultures in the community and also offers student and business mentorship.

Mr Jiang works as a senior consultant at Ernst and Young, is a board member of Multicultural Learning and Support Services, a committee member of the New Zealand Association of Immigration Professionals and a committee member of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.

As part of his own integration to his adopted homeland, he is learning to speak Māori.

In recognition of his community services he has been awarded the Pride of Workmanship Award by Rotary International and a Volunteer Connect Award by the Wellington City Council.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Peter Chrisp

Peter Chrisp

Peter Chrisp's work history defies a common misperception - that a degree in the humanities and social sciences is of little relevance in the world of business and enterprise.

He graduated with Bachelor of arts and Master of Arts in social sciences and has been Chief Executive of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise since 2010, leading an organisation charged with lifting New Zealand's economic performance by growing companies internationally.

Over the past 30 years he has had roles in the engineering, manufacturing and the pulp and paper industries. He started his work life with the New Zealand Engineering Union as an educator and negotiator, progressed through the management ranks at Fletcher Challenge before leading Norsek Skog Paper in Kawerau. From there he was promoted to company headquarters in Oslo as Senior Vice President Business Improvement, covering operations throughout the world, before moving to Sydney to run the Australasian businesses.

Born and raised in Gisborne, Mr Chrisp has held several board roles including the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the Education Training and Support Agency, the Australia Pulp and Paper Industry Council, the New Zealand China Council and the NZ Story group.

He has been partnered on this journey with his wife Judith, three children, a dog and a blue-tongued lizard.

Previous winners

Sir Geoffrey Peren Award

Recipients of the Sir Geoffrey Peren Award

2015 | Professor Graham Le Gros

2014 | Graeme Milne ONZM

2013 | Linda Jenkinson

2012 | Hon John Luxton QSO

2011 | Sir Graham Henry

2010 | Sir Neil Waters

2009 | Alan Frampton

Distinguished Service Award

Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award

2015 | Traci Houpapa

2014 | Andrew Cameron

2013 | Don McKenzie

2012 | Dr Frances Hughes ONZM

2011 | Dennis Oliver

2010 | Sharron Cole and Peter MacGillivray

2009 | HE Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith and Dr Judy McGregor

Distinguished Young Alumni

Distinguished Young Alumni

2015 | John-Daniel Trask

2014 | Jane Haste (nee Parsons)

2013 | Kathryn Wilson

2012 | David Kelly

2011 | Luke Di Somma

2010 | Carl Sanders-Edwards

2009 | Dr Shaun Hendy and Yvette McCausland-Durie

Distinguished Achievement Award

Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award

2015 | Professor Iain Hay

2014 | Dr Alex Buchanan AM

2013 | Peter Hughes

2012 | Dr Barry O'Neil

2011 | Stephen Jennings and Sue Suckling

2010 | Professor Gregor Reid

2009 | Sir Richard Taylor

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