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Wintec acknowledges four outstanding leaders with honorary awards

Four Waikato leaders in the fields of media arts, sport, science and health will receive honorary awards from the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) for their longstanding contribution to their respective industries.

Liam Messam, rugby and community champion, Susie Ryan, former Clinical Nurse Manager for Waikato Regional Diabetes Service, and Te Radar, satirist and documentary maker will receive honorary degrees relevant to their fields. Dr Peter Robinson, nationally renowned scientist, will receive an Honorary Fellowship.

Wintec chair, Mary Cave-Palmer says: “These people have each, through their fields, contributed greatly to the cultural, scientific or wellbeing aspects of many New Zealanders. We’re delighted to acknowledge them with this prestigious honour.”

Wintec awards fellowships, degrees and medals to people who have made a significant contribution to Wintec, the region or the nation through innovation in industry or business, scholarship and research or enhancing New Zealand society.

Wintec’s 2017 honoraries are:

Liam Messam - Master of Science - Sport and Exercise Science
Liam Messam is well-known around the world for his rugby prowess. He’s one of the most influential players in Chiefs’ history; captaining national rugby teams, as well as being a former All Black, and two-time Commonwealth Games Sevens gold medallist.

The award-winning, skilled ball-runner and abrasive loose forward, also cares a lot about the welfare of our young people. For many years, Liam has worked within our community on numerous youth-orientated initiatives. 

Liam has facilitated youth at risk and youth achievement workshops and is working to get young people more active for a better future. A natural leader, he is known for his perseverance and hard work.

Born in Rotorua and of Māori descent, Liam affiliates to the Ngāi Tūhoe iwi. Liam Messam’s sporting achievements are remarkable, however his efforts to develop youth and indigenous people are equally impressive. 

“On hearing the news about the award, I was very humbled,” said Liam. “It comes as a huge shock to me to receive this award. The work I do off the field is to give our youth the opportunity to better themselves and to reach their full potential.”

Susie Ryan - Master of Nursing
Susie Ryan left school in the late 60s to become a nurse. More than four decades later, Susie would lead the Waikato Regional Diabetes Service in Hamilton as Clinical Nurse Manager, and is the founder and the driving force behind globally recognised diabetes education programmes.

A longstanding relationship with Wintec began in the late 1990s when Susie took on the role of Research Nurse for a Waikato-wide project called Discovering Diabetes. The project was set up to look at diagnosis of diabetes in the Waikato. Discovering there was no training available for practice nurses, Susie developed courses for them with Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice for delivery from the Waikato Diabetes Service.

The Waikato Diabetes Service gained recognition in 2013 from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for its programmes. Under Susie’s leadership, the expansive Hamilton clinic has 42 staff and offers globally recognised training and a comprehensive service for the testing and management of diabetes. It’s a credit to Susie Ryan, who has dedicated a 46-year career to making a significant difference to the quality of other people’s lives.

“I was absolutely delighted to be offered an Honorary Master of Nursing,” says Susie Ryan. “It’s very special to be acknowledged in this way by my nursing professional peers and Wintec.”

Te Radar (Andrew J Lumsden) – Master of Arts
Waikato-born Te Radar has made an outstanding contribution to the nation’s appetite for thought provoking entertainment.  He makes outstanding comedy and presents award-winning documentaries – often at the same time.

Te Radar has become a household name in New Zealand and he’s known as an award-winning satirist, documentary-maker, writer, and stage and screen director. Te Radar has a rare talent for combining laughter and documentary making, from intrepid journeying where he survived a scorpion attack in Mali, to stand-up comedy, and sustainable living shows Off the Radar and Radar's Patch.

Andrew enrolled at Otago University to study law. He discovered his love of comedy at law school and took up drama instead. He changed his name to Radar and has been mining comedy and wry observation from his interest in travel, culture and history ever since.

Since 2006 Te Radar has won eight major media, screen and comedy awards and was nominated for four more.

 “I was initially somewhat taken aback when I was told I was receiving this honour,” he says. “I do what I do because I love it and really, given my complete lack of any real skills, I have few other options, so to have what I loosely define as a career recognised in this way makes me feel massively chuffed.”

Dr Peter Robinson - Honorary Fellowship
Peter Robinson’s enduring commitment to science has earned this long-standing member of the commercial science community, national and regional recognition for his work.

Peter joined Wintec in the late 70s.  For 15 years he inspired and guided Wintec students as Senior Lecturer in Analytical and Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology.

He was also involved in running chromatography courses at Wintec and trained more than 1200 scientists and technicians from around New Zealand over 20 years.

The science taught at Wintec soon gained the attention of the wider science community, in particular, Hill Laboratories who invited Peter to join them in the early 90s. It was an opportunity he couldn’t resist. Here Peter could indulge more fully his special interest in analytical chemistry and the environment with other scientists.

For many years, Peter has been involved in national groups developing regulations for drinking water quality and environmental monitoring. Peter’s role has extended into providing ongoing advice to environmental engineers around New Zealand in this field. He has published a number of papers, and is a frequent speaker in New Zealand and overseas.

Peter says he was “totally surprised and felt very honoured” when told of being awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Wintec. 

“I have always had an interest in education which was well rewarded during my time at Wintec. The science we taught is used in many areas and my special interest in the environment has allowed me to work with other scientists to develop standards and methods aimed at measuring and improving our environment, and to pass my knowledge on to younger people.”


Susie Ryan will receive her Honorary Master of Nursing at Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice graduation ceremony on the morning of Thursday 16 March; while Dr Peter Robinson will be conferred with his honorary fellowship at Wintec’s Centre for Science and Primary Industries, Centre for Engineering and Industrial Design, and Centre for Trades graduation ceremony on the afternoon of Thursday 16 March. Both ceremonies will be held at Claudelands as part of Wintec’s graduation week.

Liam Messam and Te Radar will receive their honorary degrees at an event later in the year.

Some of New Zealand’s greatest names make up Wintec’s family of honoraries. For a full list of Wintec’s honorary recipients click here.