Distinguished New Zealand Geographer

Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal Recipients

The Society recognises the outstanding  and sustained contributions and service the following New Zealand Geographers have made to Geography and society, whether in New Zealand or overseas. The recipients may use the designation DNZG in recognition of the award. The first Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medals were awarded in 2001.

A copy of the nomination form for the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal can be downloaded here.



Professor Paul W. Williams in recognition for his world renown work in karst geomorphology and hydrology. The full citation can be seen here.




Professor Warwick E. Murray in recognition of his distinguished work in globalization, development and Latin American. The full citation can be seen here.



Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett in recognition of her work nationally and internationally in Māori and Indigenous geography, iwi resource management and development, urban sustainability and regeneration practices, inclusionary and exclusionary practices of governance and planning. The award acknowledges Professor Fawcett-Thompson’s ongoing commitment to collaboration and working with communities who benefit from research partnerships. Furthermore, her teaching is highly valued for its inclusivity, methods of engagement and relevancy. The Society honours Professor Fawcett-Thompson’s commitment to transformative, inclusive and decolonising mahi.


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Dr Ann Pomeroy in recognition of her long and distinguished career as a researcher and sustained contributions and excellence in rural geography and sociology. Dr Pomeroy’s work is sought out and valued highly by those seeking both critical insights and rich empirical data on aspects of change in rural New Zealand. Furthermore, her research outputs produced for a range of non-university agencies show depth, breadth and sustained quality of intimate understandings of rural New Zealand. We are deeply grateful for Dr Pomeroy’s outstanding service to the Society, and also her advocacy and support for women in geography, and beyond.


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Associate Professor Lex Chalmers

Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Award and Medal 2017


Nominated by Professor Robyn Longhurst and Dr Colin McLeay, Waikato Branch, and by NZBoGT Executive members Anna Wilson, Wellington East Girls College, and Nick Page, Otumoetai College. 



Associate Professor Lex Chalmers’s contribution to the New Zealand and international geographical community have been extraordinary. In fact, Lex’s community-based work with organisations such as the New Zealand Geographical Society (NZGS), the New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers (NZBoGT), the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo), and the International Geographical Union (IGU) has been a hallmark of his career. He has worked selflessly supporting geography teachers and students in secondary schools including delivering workshops, organising events, and serving in numerous roles over a long period.

Lex has a strong academic career to back up the work he has done to support schools across New Zealand. His key research and teaching interests have been geographical education with an interest in communities of practice and rural studies, with an expertise in the demography of rural communities and in farmers' markets, remote sensing, GIS, and the rural transformation project. He published in an array of outlets and his publication list contains 141 entries, the first being from 1970 (Masters thesis), and the most recent from 2016. Of note in the list of work is joint publications in Social Science and MedicineJournal of Rural StudiesInternational Journal of Geographical Information Systems and International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. Many of Lex’s other publications are in New Zealand journals including New Zealand Journal of GeographyNew Zealand Geographer and Social Policy Journal of New Zealand. More than half of his listed publications, however, are conference papers delivered both in New Zealand and overseas. This is in keeping with his community focus.

In his career Lex has chosen to prioritised community-oriented service work over advancing his own academic career. His long-standing interest in geographical education, has seen him a keen supporter of Geography in School and has helped hundreds of teachers to make links with the tertiary sector through his work at Waikato University and his connections with the NZGS, NZBoGT, iGeo and the IGU. He is a tireless, selfless and tremendous advocate and champion for secondary school geography. He has helped to facilitate and host many workshops and professional learning sessions for teachers in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region, including NCEA days, 2-day GIS workshops in 2010 and 2015, competitions including the Geographer’s Cup (initially for mapping skills and orienteering but later for other events, and a photographic competition. For many years he has organised and delivered scholarship workshops to teachers and students preparing for this exam each year prior to the scholarship examination. He also hosted two Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) Teacher Fellows events in 2003 (for Nick Page, Otumoetai College and Jennifer Thomas, Nelson College for Girls) and was the primary organiser of the combined NZGS tertiary and secondary conference hosted at Waikato University 19 - 22 January 2010 “Positioning Geography” with a significant focus on geographical education working with a range of organisations to support teachers to get to the conference in the Waikato from around New Zealand.

As a representative of the Waikato Branch of the NZGS he has been both the President and Chairperson for varying lengths and stints for the Waikato Branch and was also heavily involved in Geography Teachers Associations for at least 20 years if not more. Lex has had a lot of energy for this group over the years and this experience has put him in a good position to working together with geographers from a range of sectors - a role model other regions should be inspired to follow. He has been the Tertiary Representative and Liaison Person for the NZBoGT up to end of 2012 which makes up to 16 years of service on the NZGS. He has been an advocate for school geography and a link to the tertiary sector, providing a lot of guidance. On the NZGS Executive and Council he has had a real understanding of and supported the NZBoGT and issues in secondary school education, acting as a conduit between the tertiary and secondary sectors.

Lex Chalmers has given many years of Service to the International Geography Olympiad (the iGeo). He has worked with teachers to have our first initial team at the competition and has been a champion for the group ever since. Lex’s involvement has extended beyond New Zealand’s own team to be the Chair of the iGeo. He has also played a pivotal role in working with host countries to produce accessible fieldwork exercises for the students at the iGeo. Spending many days and nights working hard to make sure tasks are to the highest level was not easy when working with a group of international geographers with many different ways of assessing. Lex has also been Co Chair for the iGeo Task Force 2014 - 2016, overseeing the organisation and running of the International Geography Olympiad competition. As part of his work in New Zealand with the iGeo Teams, Lex was instrumental in seeking funding with the Royal Society and the Todd Foundation, to form Science Olympiads New Zealand (SONZ). Without this relationship and financial backing our iGeo teams would not have had the chance to perform and succeed on the international stage as they have.


Without Lex Chalmers school geography in New Zealand and the iGeo would be in a completely different position. He has had a strong lasting positive influence and we thank him for all of the time, passion and energy he has given to the community. 





Professor Patrick Hesp

Distinguished NewZealand Geographer Award and Medal 2017


Nominated and cited by Associate Professor Michael Hilton, Otago Branch



Patrick Hesp has played a major international role in his dedication to publishing in geography, administrative roles, and public education outreach in New Zealand. – He received his BA and MA in Geography at Massey University, and his PhD from The University of Sydney in Geography and Geomorphology. At the University of Sydney he was awarded the first, and only PhD scholarship ever provided to a student by the Soil Conservation Service of NSW to fund a portion of his PhD research. Professor Hesp is currently the Strategic Professor of Coastal Studies at Flinders University, and formerly the Chair (and now Emeritus Professor) of the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University.

He has an international reputation in geomorphology and physical geography, and is recognised as one of the world leaders in coastal dune dynamics and geomorphology. His current publication record stands at 260 (220 refereed) publications including 6 books, 29 chapters in books, 115 refereed journal articles, and 10 edited volumes, and continues unabated to the present day    

In terms of impact in the international literature and in his discipline, Patrick has several of the most cited papers in the Web of Science in the subject areas of coastal dunes, incipient and established foredunes, blowouts, and transgressive dunefields to name some. The surfzone-beach dune interactions model he produced in his PhD is the most widely cited beach-dune interactions model in the coastal literature; it is the first most cited paper in “beach-dune interactions” in the Web of Science and has been for many years, and the model is widely used in coastal textbooks. In the past 30 years, occasionally with colleagues, he has written the seminal review papers and chapters on coastal dune systems, geomorphology and morphodynamics, including a comparison of dunes in tropical versus temperate regionsdisturbance in coastal dune systems, global reviews of dune coasts and dunes of the world, a review of airflow over dunes, and a review of coherent flow structures in aeolian geomorphology. Much of this work utilises research and/or examples from NZ. With Dr Sergio Dillenburg he edited the first book on the Holocene geology and geomorphology of the entire coastal barrier systems of Brazil. Patrick holds the belief that if possible, and when appropriate, the use of humour to educate is an essential ingredient in teaching and, occasionally, publishing. His review of edge waves is quite possibly the shortest article ever published in a refereed journal (one and half pages including references!) and also one of the only fully referenced poems published in an academic journal.

His H-index continues to rise rapidly and currently stands at 40. He has 13 articles with over 100 citations, and 2 articles with over 400 cites, a significant number for a small sub-disciplinary area with few practitioners. His ResearchGate score is currently 36.2 which is 95% higher than all ResearchGate members. In 2013 he was awarded a DSc. from Massey University. The DSc. award is designed to give formal public recognition to eminent scholars who have made substantial, original, sustained and distinguished contributions to scientific knowledge beyond that required for a Ph.D., and Patrick clearly has made an outstanding contribution to science and geography.

In recognition of his research status, Patrick was awarded the Richard J. Russell award by the American Association of Geographers “in recognition of [his] contributions to coastal geography”, the first non-north American to receive the award. He was awarded a named professorship (the R.J. Russell Professorship) at LSU in 2007, the Louisiana State University Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award in 2008, and “Rainmaker” status (one of the top 100 researchers at LSU) twice (2008, 2009). In 2011 he was awarded the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award, one of only five faculty at LSU to receive the award for “a sustained record of excellence in teaching, research and service”. In 2011 he received a Fulbright Fellowship, and also the Secretary’s Partners in Conservation Award from the Obama Government for his research on submerged palaeo Indian sites in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently in 2017, he was appointed a China Academy of Science (CAS) Presidents International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI) Visiting Scholar. He has also been requested to provide multiple keynote addresses at international conferences including the International Coastal Dunes Symposium in Brazil, the International Conference on Management and Restoration of Coastal Dunes in Spain, the NSW Coastal Conference, the Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research National NCK Days conference, and the Australian Earth Sciences Convention.

Patrick has a superb research funding record and has been awarded $6.5 million in funds to date. He has conducted research all over the world, and been awarded several visiting fellowships including ones to Israel, South Africa, Namibia, France, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and Holland.

In terms of his contributions to geography and geomorphology, and science in general, he has made multiple discoveries in his career to date including: (i) the relation between shadow dune morphometrics and plant morphology; (ii) surfzone-beach-dune interactions and a model of these interactions and dunefield evolution; (iii) jet flows and dynamics in trough blowouts, including the nature of topographic flow steering in such blowouts; (iv) trough blowout morphometrics; (v) linear dunes can migrate laterally, (vi) the relationships between faunal abundance and species richness and nebkha size and plant species type; (vii) the nature of speed-down and speed-up within vegetation on foredunes; (vii) advancing studies on flow steering and jet flow over foredunes including the first computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of topographic steering and jet flow over dunes; (viii) the dunes on Saturn’s moon, Titan, may be linear (rather than transverse) due to the ‘sticky’ nature of the sediments (detailed in a paper in Nature), and (ix) the existence and species of phytoplankton in South Australian surfzones.

Professor Patrick Hesp is highly regarded for his teaching abilities, and has graduated 4 Honours students, 17 Masters students and 6 PhD students in his career to date. Several of these graduated under his supervision while he held posts at Massey University. He has also made significant contributions to the community and to public education. He produced a booklet on coastal dunes and co-wrote with Dr. Karen Bryan (University of Waikato) a CD on NZ sandy coasts. Copies of the booklet and CD went to every High School in NZ. He also edited and wrote articles for the NZ (and Australian) edition(s) of the Geographica Atlas.

In terms of his contribution to NZ geography, Professor Hesp has spent several years teaching in NZ and fostering students, published multiple articles on NZ coasts and coastal geomorphology, has made major educational contributions to NZ High School geography (the Coastal Dunes Bulletin; a CD on coasts), and has throughout his career continued to pursue collaborations with New Zealand geographers. He continues to collaborate with New Zealand academics and participate in fieldwork in New Zealand.

From this evidence above, and his sustained and large number of publications in the coastal (and some desert) dunes field, Patrick can claim to be one of the foremost coastal dune experts in the world. Moreover, his support for emerging researchers and for post-graduate students has been exceptional. He is enthusiastic about Geography and his science and has always been keen and willing to share that enthusiasm.




Professor John Overton

Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Award and Medal 2016



Nominated and cited by Professor Warwick Murray, Wellington Branch, Victoria University of Wellington




John Overton has played a distinctive and influential role in the evolution of New Zealand geography in his distinguished service, outstanding publication record and dedication to teaching. He graduated from the University of Canterbury with a BA in Geography and History in 1976. He went on to gain an MA first class honours at the same institution in 1978 supervised by Eric Pawson - working on the exploration of the Nelson region during the colonial administration. This fascination with exploration was a theme to which he returned and has marked his work subsequently as it has expanded to cover many of the regions of the world and cross a range of sub-disciplines. After gaining a postgraduate qualification in teaching, he gained a prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship to study for a PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1983. His doctoral work on Kenya, Africa, represented the initiation of an abiding interest with rural change and development. He has evolved to become a world leader in both of these areas. On returning to New Zealand, John Overton first took up a temporary post as lecturer in geography at Victoria University of Wellington. This was followed by a position for a year at the University of the South Pacific, where the seeds of his great interest and now vast expertise of the Pacific region were first sown. A research position at the Australian National University followed, and it was here that John’s talent for publishing his findings found its first head of steam. He returned to Canterbury in 1990 and held a position as lecturer and subsequently senior lecturer until he was appointed – at a young age - Professor of Development Studies at the newly launched Postgraduate Development Studies programme at Massey. This programme was the first of its kind in New Zealand and was later emulated at Victoria and Auckland Universities based in part on the successful model under John Overton’s stewardship. In 2007 he took up the position of Director of Postgraduate Development Studies at Victoria which he holds presently.




His teaching has been consistently rated at the highest level and he is considered very highly by his students at all levels. He has won a number of awards in this regard including the 2009 Best Supervisor in the Science Faculty, VUW. He has supervised over sixty Masters theses to completion in human geography and development studies covering a range of topics in locations across the world but with a particular concentration in the Asia Pacific and Pacific Islands. He has examined over 60 doctorates in a wide range of themes and areas. He has supervised 41 PhD students to completion from 1987 until the present at ANU, Massey and Victoria University of Wellington. Many of his students have gone on to significant careers themselves, and numerous development studies graduates are found in Universities, NGOs, and foreign affairs circles around the world. He has an innovative approach to teaching – one of his most popular courses Development Policy is a simulation game which requires students to take the roles of donors, recipients, experts, technocrats, politicians and so on in the negotiation of an appropriate development policy for the invented country Vanua Lima. Many successful graduates that have taken this course have gone on to design, implement and monitor real development in countries and territories globally.




John Overton has served in various internal senior roles, including Head of School (1999-2002) of the School of People, Environment, and Planning at Massey University and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Humanities and Arts at Massey University (2004-2006). He has played a significant role in external service. He was Secretary (1992-96) and Director (1996-2000) of the Commonwealth Geographic Bureau. He has been a constant member of the steering group of the International Development Studies Network of New Zealand since 1997 and has chaired two biennial conferences on its behalf. He was Vice President of the New Zealand Geographical Society from 2009 to 2011 and served as President 2012-2013 inclusive.  He has served as external reviewers, assessor and examiner in many universities across the Asia Pacific and Oceania and beyond. He has also played a role in governmental circles in and beyond this country serving, for example, on numerous advisory and review panels for New Zealand Aid Agencies, as a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Evaluation and Research Board and as a facilitator in the area of development and aid policy to Papua New Guinea.




His published work is numerous and spans nearly four decades in some of the most prestigious journals and publishing houses. In total he has published over 150 items. He has been responsible for three edited, two solo authored and one co-authored book. Close to fifty book chapters have been published on a wide range of topics including field research, geographies of wine, geopolitics, geographical techniques and development theory, as well as in his core research interests of rural development, aid and the Pacific Islands. Close to sixty articles have appeared in international scholarly journals. In the late 1980s and 1990s when John Overton worked at USP and ANU there was a significant surge in output including two authored books produced whilst at USP. Articles dealing especially with rural development in the Asia Pacific and Pacific Islands were published in journals including Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Journal of Peasant Studies, and The Contemporary Pacific, as well as in New Zealand’s two internationally ranked geographic journals – New Zealand Geographer and Pacific Viewpoint (later Asia Pacific Viewpoint). Through the 2000s, due to administrative and service roles output was not as voluminous but of equally high standard including articles in Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Journal of Rural Studies and Progress in Development Studies. A second surge in writing began in the early 2010s and continues to the present. Between 2010 and early 2016 John Overton published 38 articles, and whilst he continued to actively submit and support our own international journals he also published in  many in the top ranked scholarly outlets in the geographic field such as Antipode, Geoforum, Globalizations, Geoforum, Agrarian Change and Geographical Journal. In this work he has continued and advanced his reputation in rural change, aid and development, but also solidified his place as one of the top wine geographers in the world. He has also opened and contributed to cutting-edge theoretical debates including that surrounding ‘fictive place’ and ‘neostructuralism’ as recent articles in Progress in Human Geography and Progress in Development Studies illustrate.




John has achieved extensively and consistently pushing the discipline of geography and allied sub-disciplines in new directions, opening up new worlds for students and younger geographers at all levels, engaging with governments and the public and serving his own scholarly community. I suspect there is much left to come.








Professor Andrew Sturman

Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Award and Medal 2016



Nominated by A/Prof Peyman Zawar-Reza, Canterbury Branch, University of Canterbury.

Cited by A/Prof Peyman Zawar-Reza, University of Canterbury, Professor Nigel Tapper, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

Professor Ian McKendry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Candada and Dr Deirdre Hart, University of Canterbury.





Professor Sturman is regarded highly both nationally and internationally as a researcher in meteorology of complex terrain. He has pioneered the use of three-dimensional mathematical models in understanding how the atmosphere is modified by mountainous landscapes, which has many direct applications to human-atmosphere interaction, such as air pollution dispersion, poor air quality, and effects on human health. He has had great success in attracting contestable funding and postgraduate students while effectively disseminating his research to end-users. The impact of his research in New Zealand ranges from providing policy relevant scientific guidance to Regional Councils (such as mitigation of poor air quality) to three-dimensional models for wind resource assessment for a sustainable future (a technique that has now been implemented in many other countries).




Professor Sturman has published 15 books and book chapters. Particularly, he is an author of two books, which are used extensively in teaching; currently he is working on a third book focusing on the impact of climate change on viticulture. Professor Sturman’s first book (co-authored with Nigel Tapper), ‘The weather and climate of Australia and New Zealand’, is an excellent introductory meteorology book for the Southern Hemisphere, which is still highly cited and referred to by undergraduate and postgraduate students in physical geography. He also published The Physical Environment: a New Zealand Perspective, co-authored with Rachel Spronken-Smith, in 2001. He has also published 100 international peer-reviewed articles, and 100 technical reports and has presented numerous conference papers. His research leadership includes projects in air pollution meteorology, wind energy resource assessment, climate impacts on dairy cattle, predicting bushfire behaviour, and the development of advanced weather and climate modelling tools to help vineyard regions adapt to climate change. He also has significant consultancy experience in New Zealand and with international research institutions, such as The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, New Zealand, The Australian Research Council, the Department of Energy, USA, Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Austria), and the Qatar National Research Fund.




In 2002, the paper, “Application of back-trajectory techniques to the delimitation of urban clean air zones”, published in Atmospheric Environment, won Professor Sturman the inaugural Edward Kidson medal from the Meteorological Society of New Zealand. The novel aspects of the research presented in this paper was highly regarded by atmospheric modelling specialists in New Zealand and highlighted a new quantitative method in assessing demarcation zones around urban areas to protect the quality of air.




Professor Andy Sturman’s work, from developing new understandings of surface energetics and wind flows in complex terrain, to mapping vineyard microclimates, has had a profound influence on the way climate science is undertaken in New Zealand. It has always been characterized by the highest scientific and theoretical rigor, underpinned by strong technical and practical skills.  Professor Andrew Sturman’s remarkable career as being distinguished by highly-cited and sustained research in applied climatology as well as exemplary service and leadership to the broader geography community. Not only is he a highly productive scientist, he has established a very strong international profile. This reputation has drawn many distinguished atmospheric scientists to Canterbury on visits, as well as attracted a steady stream of top-notch graduate students, many of whom now occupy positions in academic departments around the world. He is extremely well-funded (including through the Marsden Foundation), a clear mark of his stature in the Atmospheric Science community, and has forged well established and productive connections internationally (including Australia, USA, Canada, France, and UK).




In addition to his research, Professor Sturman has been displayed admirable leadership including spearheading the Centre for Atmospheric Research at Canterbury and most recently as department head during the most trying of times following the Christchurch earthquakes. Perhaps most importantly, Professor Sturman is in the process of doing rigorous, policy-relevant applied science of the highest quality that has elevated the stature of Geography generally and Climatology specifically in New Zealand. He is likely the pre-eminent atmospheric scientist working in New Zealand, and his multi-facetted research has garnered the immense respect of colleagues in other disciplines and non-academic agencies (e.g NZ Meteorological Service and NIWA). This is a remarkable achievement as Climatology was not always viewed with such high esteem.




In his roles in the Department of Geography at the University of Canterbury, over the last 39 years, he has worked with intelligence and effort to develop, support and promote an internationally renowned team of climate researchers. These scientists are now scattered across the globe in major climate science roles, including academic, government policy and consulting. Andy Sturman and his team epitomise the contribution that geographers can make to understanding, and working with, our planet. Their work on wind modelling across complex terrain and wind forecasting has played a major role improving our understanding of weather and climate resources in the New Zealand region and this work is now benefitting the grape agriculture industry globally. This work has also been disseminated through Andy Sturman’s co-publication of several significant textbooks, including the abovementioned.




Professor ‘Andy’ Sturman is one of the most tirelessly and generously collegial people. He has published most of his research, including the bulk of which was initiated and/or funded due to his efforts, with colleagues and graduate students. He has used his international esteem, cutting edge expertise and solid work ethic to help foster and promote the careers of many junior colleagues, never taking advantage of his position to ‘use’ others, always using his skills and position to help promote others. The number of former students who have successfully pursued a career as geographers and climate scientists is a testament to this success.




Andy Sturman is no ‘lone ranger’ but rather someone who genuinely enjoys working with, and supporting, colleagues from his own Department, from other institutions around New Zealand, and internationally. And while he has achieved his very significant research and human resource impacts and records, Andy Sturman has always contributed more than his fair share as a Department of Geography teacher and promoter of this discipline. His stellar research record has never been at the expense of fronting up to inspire and foster learning in Canterbury geography students. Year after year, Andy Sturman has always maintained one of the highest teaching workloads in the Geography Department at Canterbury University, volunteering to bridge gaps when needed and taking a lead role in curriculum development over the years. He is always an enthusiastic, motivating, encouraging, honest and ethical teacher and disseminator of geographical ways of thinking about and analysing the world. He is a very popular teacher, very much liked by students, despite the fact that he challenges them to understand the complexity of weather and climate science and wicked problem solving, and he never ‘dumbs down’ geography. Students willingly stretch themselves in working for Andy Sturman, meeting the challenges he sets them.




Professor Andy Sturman has been a very generous geography colleague in many other ways, quietly contributing significantly on the Department, University, and Royal Society Marsden fronts. He has never been one to complain or seek recognition for the high administrative workloads he has shouldered but has rather got on with the job and offered help and insight to others where possible. In addition to his external Marsden panel review roles, Andy has run University and Geography Marsden advice workshops and provided significant individual mentoring to all of the staff of UC Geography. In 2012 the Department of Geography asked Andy Sturman to apply to be Head of Department, an administrative and management role that he did not hanker after. Despite personal reservations, he accepted this request and role in order to support the Department though the subsequent years of post-earthquake recovery. When confidence within the Department and University was at an all-time low, Andy Sturman’s quietly encouraging, honest, open and hard-working approach to leadership helped geographers recover from local disaster and to bring people together again for the common good of Canterbury Geography.




Professor William A. V. Clark (University of California, Los Angeles)

As a human geographer his research has focused on migration and the nature of demographic change in large cities. His work which is reported in more than 400 research articles, reports and 9 books examines the impacts of urban structure on population flows between cities and suburbs, white flight and the impact of legal intervention on the urban mosaic, and analyses of the local outcomes and impacts of large scale international migration, especially in California. He has combined his dual interests in geography and demography to study residential segregation in U.S. cities, as well as patterns of migration, mobility, and labour force participation, especially of two-worker households. Recent papers link mobility and migration in US and British housing markets and confirm much of the current research on why families and individuals move their residence. To the long-standing arguments about race and class in residential segregation, his recent papers demonstrate that class is a powerful explanation for patterns of separation for both the foreign born and native born residents.

In addition to his contribution to academia Professor Clark has played a very active role in the courts of the USA, testifying in many cases associated with residential and school district jurisdictions. These are detailed in his CV.

There are few New Zealand geographers who have attained such a prestigious and sustained standing not only in human geography but in population and migration studies more generally. Not only his productivity as a researcher but his leadership, both within UCLA and within the demographic community more generally has meant he is one of the best known geographers in the USA and possibly Europe as well.

I have known Bill since I was a PhD student at the University of Toronto in the 1970s. We meet at Queens University through his long-time friend Professor Eric Moore who had invited him to demonstrate the latest developments in log-linear modelling. We kept in touch since and have recently written a number of papers together. Our joint research plans now extend through 2016.

Bill is both a US and New Zealand citizen who throughout his career has kept in touch with New Zealand Geography and New Zealand geographers in many parts of the world.  After a BA in 1960 he obtained an MA (with first class honours) in 1961 and a PhD from the University of Illinois in 1964.  Bill is presently Distinquished Research Professor at UCLA where he has held appointments since 1970. In between he has held positions elsewhere including the University of Utrecht and the University of Auckland.  Prior to 1970 he held positions at the University of Wisconsin, University of Canterbury, University of Iowa and University of Illinois.


There are probably few New Zealand geographers who have been honoured in the USA and Europe to the degree that Bill Clark has.  Steller among his awards are his election to the National Academy of Sciences 2005, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003  and his receipt of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship 1994-5.  He has held several Fullbright awards and was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 1997.   He also holds a DSc at the University of Auckland, 1994, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utrecht.



Emeritus Professor John R. Flenley (Massey University)

Emeritus Professor Flenley has had a long and illustrious academic career spanning more than four decades.  He has made significant contributes to scholarship in the field of biogeography and palynology in particular and he has continued to write and supervise after his formal retirement from Massey University in 2001.

Professor Flenley, a 1958 graduate of Cambridge University, completed a postgraduate certificate in Education, and taught biology at the prestigious Repton School in Derbyshire. While there and funded by a research grant from the Royal Society of London he undertook and published research on the vegetation history of the Island of Canna in the Inner Hebrides. This was followed by a PhD from the Australian National University where he used palynological techniques to investigate the quaternary environmental history of New Guinea. Much of the rest of his career has been spent extending the reach of his research into the tropical rain forests, the Pacific Islands and to New Zealand and in refining the palynology techniques employed during this time, culminating in the development of automated means of identifying fossil pollen grains.  Automation has the potential to revolutionize the field as it will significantly alter the time spend on identifying and counting  fossil pollen grains in the lab allowing more time for interpretation. Several prototype machines have been sold overseas and the development is being carried further by some of Professor Flenley’s former graduate students.

After completing his PhD John returned to England, and served as a Lecturer, Senior lecturer and then Reader in Geographer at the University of Hull from 1967-89.  It was during this time that he established a teaching programme in Biogeography (complete with palynology lab) and he began his long association with the Journal of Biogeography eventually becoming its editor, and developing the journal to become a major international source for contemporary work in the field. The journal today has an impact factor of 4.96 and is ranked 2nd of 46 physical geography journals. In Hull and later in New Zealand Professor Flenley served on many local, national and international scientific bodies and organisations, all the while continuing to research and publish as his research interests shifted from high equatorial mountains to tropical lowlands.

In 1989 he was appointed professor of Geography at Massey University, where he again developed a world class palynology laboratory and attracted a stream of students and postgraduates (who numbered more than 30 at the time of his retirement).  Under his leadership the profile of physical geography was enhanced, staff research was promoted, and he successfully obtained significant amounts of contestable external funding.  While continuing to focus on how plant patterns have varied and why in relation to human activity since the late Pleistocene, John also turned his attention to the New Zealand context, making major contributions to the debate over the length of human settlement in New Zealand/Aotearoa and to the identification of New Zealand pollen types.

Few geographers have had special issues of the New Zealand Geographer devoted to their work, but such was the contribution of Professor Flenley to the geography discipline that volume 57 (2001, issue 2) of the New Zealand Geographer contained a collection of work from Professor Flenley’s colleagues.   His first book The Equatorial Rain Forest – a Geological History was a foundational volume, posing novel explanations for problems that faced palynologists at the time. His 1992 book Easter Island, Earth Island, and his 2003 The Enigmas of Easter Island written with Paul Bahn speak powerfully to the ways in which scholars might think about people and environment relations across the globe, and have been translated into several languages.  More recently he has returned to other long standing research interests such the tropical rain forest in co-editing Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climate Change and continuing work about Easter Island.

Professor Flenley’s research has often required working in challenging physical environments, involved having a detailed command of swathes of data, and required many hours of perseverance in the lab.  As Nunn (2001) noted in the Festschrift Professor Flenley is an excellent scientist, basing his conclusions on the weight of careful empirical research, and demonstrating an ability to change one’s thinking as new evidence emerged.   His respect for and meticulous application of the scientific method, and his ability to derive insights from a diverse fields of knowledge have meant that his contribution to the discipline and beyond has been immense. It is manifest in the range of journals in which he has published even only in the last decade or so, such as Journal of Biogeography, Quaternary International (Impact factor of 2.4), Journal of Paleolimnology (Impact factor of 2.1), and The Holocene (Impact factor of 3.79).  He is an authority on the environmental history of Easter Island and his Easter Island books have much cited by other scholars.  His New Zealand work has also contested some of the orthodoxies surrounding the timing of the first human arrival and settlement in New Zealand. In both instances his work using palynological techniques has reached beyond the field to engage with other scholars in disciplines such as ecology and archeology.

His many international contributions have been recognized with the award of DSc (Cantab) and election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The focus on his research contribution ought not to obscure other contributions to the teaching of geography in the university and to the New Zealand Geographical Society.  On his arrival at Massey University Professor Flenley made some innovative changes to the teaching programme that involved the teaching of combined under graduate classes.  But more significantly he also ran some highly successful pedagogically challenging field course to various Pacific Islands.

He took the lead in organising a highly successful symposium on the ‘History of Human Presence and Impact in the South East Asia- South Pacific’, a record of which remains in the Conference Proceedings. In addition, he has served in a number of capacities on the Manawatu Branch Committee, most notably as President. He unfailingly took part in various branch activities involving school visits to the campus in explaining the mysteries of palynology to students. He has willingly reviewed books for the New Zealand Geographer and put forward individuals for NZGS awards, seeing this as part of his wider responsibilities as Professor of Geography.

As former colleagues, we commend Professor John Flenley.  He has always been unassuming, approachable and affable. John, was a strong supporter of both physical and human geographies, and was one of those rare geographers who easily spoke to the connection between the humans and environment, and showed a genuine interest in the research interests of departmental staff and students.  An incredibly humble and sincere person, John’s Christian faith guided his interactions with others, and became a means of encouraging others to consider the basis and the need for environmental ethics. He continues to serve as Deacon for the Care of Creation, with All Saints Church in Palmerston North.



Professor Robin Kearns (University of Auckland)

Awarded September 2014

Professor Robin Kearns has made an outstanding contribution to geography scholarship both in New Zealand and internationally. His work is centred on the geographical concept of place which continues to hold together disciplinary traditions and provides many of the discipline’s unique insights. Robin’s programme of research has seen him work collaboratively with many different geographers, particularly those in the early stages of their careers. He has also worked extensively with others, extending the reach of geography well beyond its traditional boundaries. Much of his research is community focused, and his work has been steadfastly community-oriented and animated in a commitment to the values of community. More specifically, Robin’s work has enhanced local and international undestandings of the multiple dimensions of human wellbeing, and the political practices and cultural dynamics of place. He has been a prominent global leader in the fields of health geography and health social science, exercising international influence from local research interest and their ethical politics.

Robin’s excellence as a socio-cultural geography researcher is exemplified in his remarkable publication record and in the high esteem in which he is held by the global geography community. Over the past 27 years, Robin has published more than 130 journal articles, two books, 39 book chapters, 14 papers in edited conference proceedings, and 30 significant other publications. Among other leading journals, Robin has published in Social and Cultural Geography, Antipode, Geoforum, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Rural Studies, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Area, and Progress in Human Geography. He acted as referee and has written more than 30 book reviews for these and more than 20 other intenational journals, and has served on the editorial board of Geography Compass, The Canadian Geographer, Progress in Human Geography, and the Space, Place and Society series. Specifically, his contribution to the New Zealand Geographer is substantial. He served as Research Editor for the New Zealand Geographer from 2002 – 2009 and has written eight editorial pieces and 19 papers for the journal. In addition, Robin is a regular presenter at international conferences (more than 50 presentations over his career to date), and has made 19 invited or keynote presentations to symposia and conferences across the world.

Research, teaching and service

Robin has explored the links between culture, health and place. His work is empirical and theoretical and ranges across rural, urban, coastal and health system spaces. It is given meaning by a deep humanist politics. In his own words, Robin’s work has explored “the meanings and dynamics of places and their influence on human wellbeing”. It has always been driven by the way people experience place, but has allowed Robin to investigate and engage in mediating “the downstream effects of policies and political practices on the cultural dynamics of places”. Specifically, Robin has studied the capacity of urban design to promote physical activity as well as social cohesion; the ‘downstream’ consequences of the deinstitutionalisation of mental health care and the ways the lives of users and providers of services have been reshaped by evolving policy; the impacts of rural restructuring on community wellbeing; the transformation of clinic and hospital spaces and their connection to health care consumption; the influence of transnationalism on the urban landscape and experience of health and wellbeing; and the character of consumption spaces and practices and links to the experience of wellbeing. Robin’s recent work has turned to the relationship between science and the arts in place-making. Across these interests Robin has provided a model for a geographer after the cultural turn, a post-modern geographer who engages just as comfortably in rural and urban spaces, and in coastal and outback spaces as well as institutional and mundane social spaces.

Robin’s outstanding scholarship in geography was recognised early in his career during his years as a graduate student; he was awarded the University of Auckland’s Kenneth B. Cumberland Thesis Prize for his MA thesis and a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship in 1988, which funded his PhD. Robin’s research has been funded by several substantial research grants from funders including the Marsden Fund, Health Research Council NZ, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, and the Economic and Social Research Council. These awards have seem him work collaboratively with researchers across New Zealand and internationally and resulted in numerous publications. Robin has also conducted research work for a number of agencies including Auckland Regional Transport Authority, Auckland Regional Council, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Through this work Robin has been able to bring his scholarship to the service of local and national government agencies.

Robin has taught geography at the University of Auckland since 1990. His dedication to teaching and learning in geography is evidenced in his contributions to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Auckland since this time, and most notably in his graduate supervision. As well as teaching social and cultural geography at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Robin makes a significant contribution to courses focused on developing and enhancing students’ research skills. In addition to helping students learn about how to do research, Robin generously shares his experience and insights on the ethical dimensions of research. In this way, Robin seeks to cultivate geographers who are thoughtful and considerate in their interactions with others. In addition, by supervising young scholars through summer scholarships, Robin has mentored numerous aspiring geographers and provided opportunities for them to further enhance their geographical research skills. Many of these students have gone on to pursue further studies in geography or have secured employment which enables them to utilise these skills in non-academic settings.

Robin has supervised more than 60 Master and PhD students, including seven who are currently working as academics in New Zealand universities. Robin’s commitment to excellence in teaching practice has seen him engage in a range of teaching development activities through his career. Robin has been awarded two University of Auckland teaching awards in recognition of his teaching excellence. In 1999 Robin was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award and in 2011 he received the University of Auckland’s Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award.

As Geography Disciplinary Lead in the School of Environment, Robin is now leading colleagues at the University of Auckland through a difficult period of institutional transition in which disciplinary identities and futures are being renegotiated. His leadership builds on extensive involvement with the New Zealand Geographical Society that dates back to the 1990s. Robin was the Auckland Branch Secretary (1992 – 1993) and Auckland Branch Chair (1992 – 1994) and continues to be actively involved in Auckland Branch activities until the present. Robin edited the New Zealand Geographer from 2002 to 2009.





Emeritus Professor Robert Miller Kirk (University of Canterbury)

Awarded September 2013






Emeritus Professor Robert Miller (Bob) Kirk has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the New Zealand Geographical Society, Physical Geography in New Zealand and the University of Canterbury and the Community, by way of:


  • Scholarship of national importance to the University of Canterbury and other tertiary institutions
  • Scholarship of high international standing and significance in Physical Geography by way of original field work and publications in books and peer-reviewed journals
  • Community oriented services as a former Member of Canterbury Regional Council
  • Contributions to Policy as Regional Councillor and at a national level
  • Sustained contributions to the New Zealand Geographical Society
  • Contributions to University leadership in roles of Head of Department; Pro-Vice Chancellor Research; Deputy Vice Chancellor; Acting Vice Chancellor
  • Providing inspiriation for up and coming geographers

Bob Kirk has dedicated his research and publications as physical geographer specialising in the science of coastal landforms and lakeshores, and the physical processes that form and change them to the science of Coastal Geomorphology since 1965. He has a deep interest in the relationships individuals and communities have with the sea and coastlines and associated issues as concerns coastal management. This work over 35 years has included coastal and lake planning and management matters, as much in policy, planning, management and conflict resolution as in technical work with coastal processes.

A Past President of the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Geographical Society and national President for the New Zealand Marine Science Society, Emeritus Professor Kirk has made a remarkable contribution to the Science of Geography and many from Secondary School teaching to Tertiary education levels have benefited from this. He is a firm believer that “proper appreciation and sound, sustainable uses of our natural environment are rooted in a clear understanding of the physical processes that form it” and this is reflected in his many years of teaching, research and publications in the science of physical geography.

So far, Professor Bob Kirk published 86 papers in international and national peer reviewed scientific journals, such as Progress in Physical Geography, Coastal Engineering and Nature, books and conference proceedings and 145 technical reports. He has frequently appeared in Court as an expert witness leading to precedents that have influenced coastal management in New Zealand. Bob has also written the definition for river mouths, which affects how all such features and estuaries, these part of the coastal zone, have since been managed.

Fieldwork has included 150 projects throughout New Zealand, in the Pacific and also in Antarctica. Studies have included mixed sand and shingle beaches, the physical development of lakeshores, shore platform erosion, coastal housing and port developments.

Bob Kirk headed the Coastal Research Group in the Department at the University of Canterbury for 35 years, and in doing so building on work begun by the late Professor George Jobberns (1895-1974) CBE, LLD (HON), who founded the Department of Geography. During this time more than 120 Masters and PhDs were completed by students in that group of which 109 theses have focused on coastal subjects and nine in Resource Management.

Professor Kirk became Head of Department and subsequently Pro-Vice Chancellor Research supporting staff and student research across the university. He also served as Deputy Vice Chancellor to two Vice Chancellors and for a time, as Acting Vice Chancellor. His responsibilities included Research Grant and Departmental Equipment Grant funding rounds; the prestigious Erskine Fellowship, as Chair of 18 university boards and committees. He oversaw a successful financial recovery programme for the university and structural reform into four colleges and the School of Law. He has served as Chair for 18 university boards and committees and while Pro-Vice Chancellor, he had oversight of 17 research centres within the university and presided over the creation of six of these.

IN 2004 Professor Kirk was elected to Environment Canterbury (ECAN) from Christchurch South constituency and served for five years until May 2010. He also qualified as an RMA Hearing Chair, in particular the Chairs of the Regional Planning Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee. While Chairman, he reviewed the Regional Policy Statement and Regional Plan. Professor Kirk also held various roles in ECAN including completion of four and a half years of a Regional Plan (the “Water Plan”) subsequently adopted by Government appointed Commissioners who replaced the Council.





Professor Philip Morrison (Victoria University of Wellington)

Awarded September 2013





Professor Philip Morrison is an outstanding researcher, teacher and graduate supervisor, and a leader and strong advocate for Geography both inside and outside the university sector, and an ambassador for New Zealand geography internationally.

Professor Philip Morrison has an excellent record of productive scholarship- more than one hundred research papers, reports, and conference proceedings. His research articles are in a wide variety of prestigious journals including Urban Studies, Housing Studies, Labor Economics and Geoforum. He also has an excellent co-edited book – Geographies of Labor Market Inequality, published by Routledge Press which followed his book, Labor Adjustment in Metropolitan Regions, published by the Institute of Policy Studies and Victoria University Press. His work on housing and labor markets is ground breaking and important, not just in Geography, but more broadly across the social science disciplines.

Like all good geographers Philip Morrison has wide ranging interests from local policy to rural development in Sarawak Malaysia. He is most well known internationally for his work on two broad issues – (1) labor markets and (2) housing and housing markets. In both these areas he has made important contributions. More recently he has developed a research interest in the geography of “happiness” and hosted a successful conference at Victoria a year ago. I expect that there will be a flow of interesting and important papers from this research endeavor.

He is particularly interested in how the organization of local labor markets affects the opportunities for young, unskilled and what he describes as “vulnerable workers”. This interest began in the 1980s and culminated in his co-edited volume with Ron Martin in 2003. Most recently, a paper published in Urban Studies – Unemployment and urban labor markets- is an important contribution to the debate about how local labor markets work. It is quite possible that this paper will become a seminal work in the debate about local labor markets. On the second topic he has addressed a wide variety of housing and housing related issues from issues of deprivation to the way in which development changes the inner city neighborhoods of our cities. These studies provide a context for his current interest in how residential sorting is creating and re-creating urban structures in large metropolitan areas.  There is a tendency in social science research within New Zealand to emphasize the unique aspects of New Zealand’s development and indeed to play down the global similarities of processes in New Zealand’s metropolitan areas. What Philip has done is bring relevant New Zealand research to international attention. His papers provide important research on New Zealand using New Zealand data (some of the best in the world, I might say) and will likely inform international thinking on residential sorting. To uncover and interpret these changing patterns is enriching both New Zealand social science scholarship and that of the international community.

Often research in the academy has only a limited circulation but Philip Morrison has always been concerned with the policy implications of his work and over two decades he has been a leader among New Zealand geographers in demonstrating the value to be gained from the analysis of large data sets (over and above the usual census). These have included the World Value Survey, and European Commission surveys, the New Zealand Quality of Life Survey, the New Zealand General Survey, and the Household Travel Survey. To these data sets he has applied contemporary analytical methods for the purpose not only of testing prevailing theory but to contribute to public policy debate. He worked with both Treasury and the then Department of Labor to sponsor the biennial conferences he initiated and organized on Labor, Employment and Work. These conferences have been an opportunity for academics and those in local and government work to interact and learn from one another. The 15 Volumes of LEW conference proceedings alone are a signal achievement.

His research and teaching have always been intertwined and he has brought his strong analytic training to supervising and helping more than 50 graduate theses. This is a testament to his interest in and concern for geography and geographic learning. Many of these students have gone on to productive and careers themselves and this is in no little part because of Philip Morrison’s skilled mentoring.

As a senior member of the geography staff Philip was at different times, head of the VUW human geography program and director and head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.  His tenure as Head of School spanned two PBRF (Performance Base Research Funding) rounds where the human geography group was ahead of the rest in the country in 2006 and first equal with Auckland in 2012.  Clearly, his administrative role has been every bit as effective as his research and teaching roles.

Individually, his research has been recognized in the award of several substantial research grants beginning with a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1973 which funded his PhD, the first Hodge Fellowship from the New Zealand Social Science Research Fund Committee in 1985, the Association of Commonwealth Universities Development Fellowship in 1990, visiting fellowships for research at the Centre for Urban Studies, University of Toronto and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 1995. He had an Urban Studies Journal Visiting Fellowship to the University of Glasgow in 1999 and a visiting fellowship to University of Cambridge in the same year. He held a Henry Lang Fellowship at the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 2002-2003 and a Royal Society of New Zealand International Science and Technology (ISAT) award in 2009.

His contributions to New Zealand geography more broadly have included organizing NZ Geographical Society Conferences, including the 2008 conference. He also served as editor of one of the country’s two leading geography journals,  Asia Pacific Viewpoint, for over 17 years including jointly editing the 1985 book on Mobility and Identity in the Island Pacific (Chapman and Morrison, 1985).   He currently serves on the board of several other international journals as well as regularly reviewing manuscripts for the leading journals in the field.


Professor Tony Binns (University of Otago)

Awarded December 2012

Professor Tony Binns is one of the most internationally distinguished geographers currently working in New Zealand. Over a long and productive career he has made an exemplary contribution to Geography at the tertiary and the secondary levels in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and internationally. He has recently completed terms as the President of the NZGS (2010-2011), the President of the Commonwealth Geographical Bureau (2008-2012) and has previously served as the President of the Geographical Association in the UK. His disciplinary contribution has been exemplary, helping to promote geography at schools and universities and he played a key role in ensuring that the subject is retained within the secondary school curriculum in the UK. He is an enthusiastic, popular and well liked teacher and has received teaching awards at the Universities of Sussex and Otago. In sum, Tony has made a significant contribution to all facets of the discipline of Geography both in New Zealand and abroad.

Tony holds a BA Hons from Sheffield and a MA and PhD from Birmingham. He spent a year as a school teacher in Doncaster before joining the staff at the University of Sussex in 1975 where he was Reader in Geography from 2000 to 2004. In 2004 he was appointed to the prestigious position of the Ron Lister Chair of Geography at the University of Otago, the second appointment in the University’s “Leading Thinkers Initiative”. His research career has focused on a range of key developmental themes primarily as they relate to Africa, including, desertification, the human-environment interface and community-based development, and another important thread has been in geographical education. Tony has published 14 edited or authored books, including Geographies of Development (1999), Issues in Geography Teaching (2000) and African Diversity and Development (2012). He has also published 36 book chapters, 98 peer reviewed papers, and numerous reports, book reviews and conference proceedings. He currently serves as the editor for the Routledge Perspectives on Development book series, a post which has held for over 10 years and which has generated more than 20 titles. Tony has served as a consultant for tertiary educational organisations, publishers and government departments in this country, Great Britain and across Africa, and is a member of the editorial boards of five academic journals. He was President of the Geographical Association in 1994-95, President of the Commonwealth Geographical Bureau in 2008-12, President of the New Zealand Geographical Society in 2010-11, and was elected to the council of Volunteer Service Abroad in October 2011. In New Zealand he has made a significant contribution to international community development and student advancement through the establishment and promotion of the Univol programme in collaboration with Volunteer Service Abroad and NZAid.


Ian Hay (Flinders University)

Awarded September 2011

Professor Iain Hay is one of New Zealand geography’s most internationally distinguished graduates. His broad contribution to scholarship is infused with a quest to incorporate core human values into geographic research and pedagogy. Iain’s work has vigorously sought to advance an ethical stance in research practice, to introduce a wider range of qualitative methodologies into the implementation of study design and methods, and to promote the adoption of creative and critically aware teaching practice. In sum, he has sought to bring teaching and research into closer relationship through promoting innovation and integrity.

His career evolved to emphasise geographical education.  His edited  volume, Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography became a main stay of many Australasian and overseas research courses in Human Geography, and the book’s third edition was published in 2010 (Oxford, Toronto).

Iain has been a significant entrepreneur in institution building in geographical education, and he was a member of the original International Network in Learning and Teaching in Geography (INLT) formed in 1999 that is now hosted at Canterbury. He also took an Australasian leadership role in the Journal of Geography in Higher Education.

He is a longstanding member of the NZGS and has maintained strong links with NZ geographers and the NZ geography community, and has been a visitor to all NZ geography departments at various times. He has held visiting positions internationally at the universities of Edinburgh, Kentucky, Manchester and New South Wales (Australian Defence Forces Academy).

He was ALTC Discipline Scholar for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities – responsible for leading Geography and History discipline communities – as demonstration disciplines for all Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities in Australia  – to develop agreed national minimum academic standards for undergraduate majors. The project was completed in late 2010. More details at: http://www.altc.edu.au/standards/disciplines/ASSH

He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (LittD) from Canterbury in 2009 for his work on ‘Geographies of Domination and Oppression’.


Robyn Longhurst (Waikato)

Awarded September 2010

Professor Longhurst’s received her award in recognition of her sustained intellectual and institutional contributions to international and New Zealand feminist geography, which have added enormously to New Zealand geography’s international profile.

Dealing with big questions, she has consistently challenged the canons of mainstream geography. Are there approaches to knowledge production that will offer emancipatory potential for women? Does a focus on categories like bodies, maternities and sexualities alter in any way the ontological, epistemological and methodological practices of geography? What kinds of bodies and spaces are constituted in geographic discourses, and what work is done through different discourses?

Three insightful books, Bodies: exploring fluid boundaries in 2000, Maternities: gender, bodies and space in 2008 and Space, place, and sex: geographies of sexualities (with Lynda Johnston)  in 2010, are distinctive interventions in international research and scholarship. These theoretically and empirically grounded re-readings of feminist literature progress a very geographic project that makes visible the richness and potentialities of knowledge production that is situated and performative.

As a co-editor of the New Zealand Geographer (1998-2003), contributor prestigious international journals, a topic reviewer on feminist geography in Progress in Human Geography, and a very active member of the International Geographical Union Commission on Gender, Professor Longhurst, often in collaboration with her Waikato colleagues, has extended the breadth and depth of New Zealand and international geography.



Michael Roche (Massey)

Awarded September 2010

The award of the medal to Professor Roche recognizes his sustained, wide ranging, and exemplary contribution and service to geography. Over the last thirty years, his research and writing have focused on three major strands: historical geography, agri-food studies and geographical thought. The latter interest has seen the recent publication of A Geographer by Declaration (2010) which brings together a selection of George Jobberns’ published and unpublished writing.

His major long term substantive research focus has been on forests and land in New Zealand, including his his definitive works Forest Policy in New Zealand: An Historical Geography 1840-1919 (1984) and History of Forestry in New Zealand (1990). He also published a major book on land and water management: Land and Water. Water and Soil Conservation and Central Government in New Zealand, 1941-1988 (1994).

He was a co-investigator in a Social Science Research Fund project on ‘Food and fibre production’, working on two newly emergent theorisations – ‘pluriactivity’ and ‘subsumption’ in sheep/beef and dairy commodity production systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This research strand has been maintained through an interest in the meat industry, currently finding expression in the Biological Economies Marsden-funded project.

His roles in the NZGS go back over three decades. They include, currently, that of human geography editor of the New Zealand Geographer, and chairperson of the Manawatu Branch. He is in his second term as NZGS Nominee on the New Zealand Geographic Board.

Richard Le Heron (Auckland)

Awarded September 2009

Richard Le HeronProfessor Richard Le Heron has made multiple influential contributions to discipline, academy and community during his 40 year geographical career. He is a leader in New Zealand social science, an internationally prominent scholar, a widely respected teacher and a dedicated servant of domestic and international disciplinary bodies. He is a leading scholar in both rural and economic geography, especially at the point where these fields converge in scholarship on rural value chains. As co-editor of the two Changing Places volumes, Richard led arguably the most influential project to emerge from academic geography in New Zealand in the last 25 years.Richard has become a tireless, imaginative and effective supporter of geography driven by a belief in its potential to contribute to better futures at all scales, and by intellectual and political commitments to the notion that the world gets made by how we know it and how we act upon those understandings.
Full Citation

Ray Watters (Wellington)

Awarded September 2009

Ray WattersRay Watters was one of the pioneers fo the so called "Victoria School of Geography" with its (then new) emphasis on development, culture, colonialism and political economy. He taught at Victoria University of Wellington for 38 years and was editor of Pacific Viewpoint (now Asia Pacific Viewpoint) for about 20 years. Ray is a renowned field-based researcher, and his work has generated eight books, 42 scholarly papers, 10 project reports and 5 monographs. Ray Watters has made a lasting and immense contribution to Geography in New Zealand, in research, teaching and communication of significant development issues relating to the Pacific, Latin America as well as New Zealand.
Full Citation

Peter Holland (Otago)

Awarded September 2008

Peter HollandProfessor Peter Holland led the revitalisation and repositioning of the Society as a learned body during  his term as 10th President of the New Zealand Geographical Society (2002 - 2006) . His effectiveness in overseeing transition owed much to his stature at every level in the New Zealand geographical community. As a biogeographer he has spent nearly 50 years investigating landscape as a dynamic stage that offers diverse ecological and evoluntionary opportunities for living things. His cumulative insights in this field have enriched and deepened New Zealand's geographic research and scholarship.
Full Citation

Dick Bedford (Waikato)

Awarded September 2007

Richard BedfordProfessor Richard Bedford is a specialist in migration studies. Since the mid-1960s he has researched processes of population movement in the Asia-Pacific region and is one of the world’s foremost authorities in this field. Professor Bedford is also Aotearoa/New Zealand’s most prominent geographer in public policy networks and at the interface of geographic knowledge and policy making. In both capacities he has made a sustained and influential contribution to New Zealand society and international geographic knowledge.

Two things are particularly striking about Dick - the way he can read changing institutional landscapes, and the way that he has been able to sustain his scholarship as he has navigated through these landscapes to more and more central positions. His understanding of the possibilities of situations is quite extraordinary. New Zealand Geography has benefited immeasurably from the application of his insight and skills.
Full Citation

Eric Pawson (Canterbury)

Awarded September 2007    

Eric is best known for his research focus on environmental and economic transformation in the context of New Zealand’s colonial and post-colonial experience. He has been the guiding light behind a succession of geographic research programmes that have shifted the knowledge frontiers about New Zealand. Eric’s work spans the four scholarships of discovery, synthesis, application and pedagogy. This rare combination means he is known for spotting emerging trends and new intellectual currents, asking the next generation of questions and designing theoretical frameworks and systems to implement new research initiatives. His remarkable capacity to align theoretical expertise and energise collective contributions has meant that what has been achieved by him and the New Zealand geographical community is more than the sum of the individual parts. The New Zealand geographical community is much the richer for Eric Pawson’s geographic leadership and intellectual achievements.
Full Citation

Chris Davidson (Wellington)

Awarded September 2006

Chris DavidsonChris Davidson has had an exemplary career as a classroom teacher, as an analyst, developer and promoter of educational policy in national agencies, and as an advocate for the study of geography. For many years he was closely involved with curriculum development, and his activities enhanced the teaching and standing of geography in New Zealand secondary schools. His work also strengthened links between schools and the universities. His impact upon geographical education in this country, and his contributions to the teaching of geography in secondary schools, are recognised and appreciated in New Zealand and abroad.
Full Citation

Ann Magee (Auckland)

Awarded in September 2005

Ann worked in geography academia for 20 years, first at Victoria University and then at Waikato. She was a committed teacher and activist for change. In 1987 she shifted focus away from academia to the worlds of business, community and government and by 1989 was working for Waitakere City. She continues to provide leadership towards her vision of the compact city as the way forward and uses her skills to facilitate the connection of the community to the resources of Council.
Full citation

Graeme Campbell (Auckland)

Awarded September 2005

Graeme CampbellGraeme Campbell has built a career around science in action. His masterate and doctoral work on family farming, rural landuse and the cultural context of land use decision making laid the foundation for what has become his life's work. As DOC Regional Conservator for Auckland he managed policy implementation and increased the knowledge and technical skill of staff.  From 1995 Graeme has taken on a number of advisory roles at government level. In 2003 he took on joint leadership of the Sustainable Development Programme of Action. Graeme's special contribution is his belief in the geography of social responsibility, that New Zealand must show the world some alternative directions.
Full citation

Euan McQueen (Wellington)

Awarded September 2004

A prominent member of New Zealand's public service, Euan spent 19 years with New Zealand Railways and was a significant "change agent" during the restructuring of the service. He has also contributed as a geography lecturer at Victoria University, on an on going basis, initially on staff and then as an Honorary Lecturer. He has  spent 11 years on the Royal Society's National Committee for Geography (1972-1983), and was President of the New Zealand Geographical Society between 1975 and 1981. Euan has been active as a local body representative since 1993. He is one of New Zealand's most skilful practitioners in the application of the geographers' craft to helping define the development options for New Zealand's future.
Full citation

Brian Lynch (Wellington)

Awarded September 2004

Brian Lynch, a prominent member of New Zealand's public service, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964 where he held a number of influential roles. In 1982 he moved to the Ministry of Transport where he was Deputy Secretary until 1992. He then became Chief Executive of the Meat Industry Association during a period of significant restructuring. More recently he holds a number of roles, including Chairman of the Trade Liberalisation Network and Alternate Member on the APEC Business Advisory Council. Brian served as President of the New Zealand Geographical Society between 1982 and 1988. He was made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2004.
Full Citation

Marion Ward (Australia and South Pacific)

Awarded July 2003

Marion Ward has achieved much as a "transformer of place". Between 1973 and 2002 she has worked on or lead 80 missions to countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, working at community regional and national level, to resolve transport, communication, water supply and sanitation issues. She has published extensively and worked as a consultant since the early 1970's. Since 1990 she has run her own consultancy company. Through her work she has impacted on millions of people.
Full citation

R. Gerard Ward (Australia and South Pacific)

Awarded July, 2003

Emeritus Professor Ralph Gerard Ward has made an outstanding contribution to Geography in the Pacific. He was Foundation Professor of Geography at University of Papua New Guinea and four years later was appointed Chair in Human Geography of the Research School of Pacific Studies at Australia National University where he served for 31 years. He contributed to the goverance of three Pacific universities, serving on Council for University of Papua New Guinea, National University of Samoa and Universite Francaise du Pacifique. He has also served on the Pacific Science Association and the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.
Full citation

Roger McLean (Australia and South Pacific)

Awarded July 2003

Roger McLean is widely considered the father of coastal research in New Zealand. He has been highly influential in terms of both his research work and his leadership and mentoring of young researchers. Roger also showed dedication to the work of The Society and has been instrumental in building links with the Royal Society of New Zealand and the International Geographical Union. Since taking up his position as Professor of Geography at Australian Defence Force Academy, University College, University of New South Wales he has worked to foster links between NZGS and IAG, particularly in the holding of joint conferences.
Full citation

Evelyn Stokes (Waikato)

Awarded September, 2001

Dame Evelyn was a Professor of Geography at the University of Waikato. She served on the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit and was a member of the Ngai Tahu Tribal Trust from 1980 to 1991. She was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and the New Zealand Geographic Board. She was also the author of numerous publications on NZ historial geography, Mäori land tenure and Treaty issues. A stalwart of the New Zealand Geographical Society for more than 50 years, Dame Evelyn was a highly effective advocate for geography in New Zealand and a productive researcher in the important domains of Maori and indigenous peoples' geographies.
Sadly Dame Evelyn died in 2005.
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Jane Soons (Canterbury)

Awarded September, 2001

Emeritus Professor Jane Soons lectured at the University of Canterbury from 1960 to 1993 on glacial geomorphology and on occasion, the regional geography of Europe.  She has served as the President of the International Union for Quarternary Research (1977-1982). When she was appointed as Professor in 1971, she became the University of Canterbury's first woman professor.
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Warren Moran (Auckland)

Awarded January, 2001

Warren MoranProfessor Warren Moran lectures at University of Auckland and is involved in research on regional processes and policy, rural activity systems, place as intellectual property, and the wine industry. He has served as Senior Vice-President of the International Geographical Union (1996-2000), after serving for nearly 30 years on its various bodies.



John Macaulay (Canterbury)

Awarded January, 2001

John Macaulay has given meritorious service to successive generations of secondary school teachers and pupils in New Zealand.  He has been involved in studying, teaching, developing and publishing geography for almost 60 years.  He played a pivotal role in the development and operation of the Geography Resource Centre from 1974 through to 2000. He has been an active member of the NZGS as a committee member, journal editor and member of the NZBoGT. He is a life member of the NZGS.