Global Women would like to acknowledge the three dedicated wāhine in our community who have been named on this years’ New Year Honours List. Congratulations to Harlene Hayne, Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater, Mel Hewitson for their recognition in this years’ honours roll and their inspirational start to 2022.
To mark this special occasion for these members, we recap some of the incredible strides in their journey while reflecting on what the accolades mean to them.
Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater, to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For services to governance and education. As the current Professional Director & Consultant Chair Auckland Theatre Company and a Tertiary Education Commissioner, Vivien leads organisations through periods of once-in-a-generation change. “Firsts” have been a key theme throughout her career and leadership journeys; blazing a trail for other Māori women in Pākehā and male-dominated leadership spaces and catalysing positive change for the disadvantaged. In doing so, a lot of Vivien’s work has centred around supporting and encouraging young people to find their identity.
Among her rich tapestry of industry firsts, was her role in helping to create Mai FM in the 1990s. “It was shifting the dimensions of Māori in New Zealand just as, in other ways, it’s happening today. We’re still on that journey. And it’ll go on for the rest of our lifetime,” Vivien shares in a powerful kōrero with E-Tangata.
This dedication continued on to Vivien’s role at AUT, where her involvement in new initiatives saw a steady increase in Māori and Pasifika students enrolling. This included incredible strides such as assembling a new recruitment team and establishing the AUT South Campus. In the spirit of reaching out and evolving past the status quo, Vivien’s work at ATEED (Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development) has involved branching out to explore Tamaki Makaurau Auckland’s brand beyond the ‘City of Sails’ and embracing taha Māori.
“The recognition for me is significant in relation to a number of things,” Vivien shares with Global Women: “Primarily my children and family. As a single mother my children have sacrificed the most in terms of my time and energy over many years. When they were young they didn’t understand why their mama was always in a meeting, always going to a meeting, always late home from a meeting!”
“Secondly all the friends, partners (I didn’t have that many), colleagues, and business partners, who agreed to support and work for the kaupapa. Sometimes support was picking up the kids. Sometimes a shoulder to cry on when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. Sometimes champagne – that was always helpful! Sometimes just doing the day to day work that needed to be done but sometimes sharing really great creative and innovative ideas. Sometimes just being ‘brave’. So many people brought their best selves to the mahi and made a difference. All those individuals are the ‘change agents’ in Aotearoa. This is who is this recognition is about.”
Mel Hewitson, to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For services to governance. Mel is a professional company director across a range of industries, following an executive career in institutional investment management, risk, compliance and financial regulation. Her current board memberships include Fidelity Life Assurance, Simplicity NZ, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia, Domain Name Commission, Auckland Foundation and Foundation North, in addition to being an Independent Member of the NZ Investment Committee of FINDEX Advice Services NZ Limited. She also chairs the Nominating Committee for Waikato-Tainui’s Group Investment Committee and is the former Chair of the both the Nominating Committee for the Guardians of New Zealand Super Fund and the Centre for Social Impact.
“I felt very humbled by this unexpected honour and grateful to those who made the effort to nominate me,” Mel Shares with the Global Women team. “Governance is challenging so I’m thrilled to be recognised in this way. Importantly, the acknowledgement is also for those who support and mentor me in my governance mahi — family, fellow board members and trusted others. Ka nui taku mihi ki a rātou.”
Professor Harlene Hayne to be a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For services to health and wellbeing. Harlene is now the Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University in Perth, after an impressive 10 years as the first woman Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago. During this time in Otago, as well as her previous posts as Head of the Psychology Department and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Harlene has published over 100 book chapters and journal articles and has supervised 20 PhD, 27 Masters, and more than 50 Undergraduate Honours theses to completion to date.
Harlene’s “great compassion and tireless dedication to the wellbeing of the university community during the pandemic” is a hallmark of her excellent leadership abilities, which have served to position the university well to confront the challenges of the 21st Century, says Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC.
At Curtin, Harlene will bring her value-based leadership, research expertise and commitment to fostering a strong student-focused culture to the new chapter. “I am delighted to be joining Curtin and to have the opportunity to advance its well-established reputation as a bold, entrepreneurial and inclusive university,” she says about her new chapter in Perth.
Harlene was awarded the American Psychological Foundation Robert L. Fantz Award for Excellence in Infancy Research, and has served on the Royal Society’s Academy Council, the Marsden Fund Council, and the New Zealand National Science Panel. She is the Associate Editor of Psychological Review and of the New Zealand Journal of Psychology and she serves on the editorial boards of 5 additional international journals.
To see the full New Years’ Honours recipients in 2022, click here for the full list.