Born in Thames, Jamie McCaskill started his employment journey as a fisherman. He ventured into exploring a career in acting after graduating from UCOL Theatre School in 2000. Since then, he has been working in the arts industry as a writer, actor, director, musician, and producer. A strong advocator of Māori theatre and Māori entertainment, he has also worked as the director of the critically-acclaimed Māori Theatre Company, Tikapa Productions. McCaskill’s first play ‘Wassup Bro?’, which was a musical set in the Coromandel premiered at BATS Theatre in 2003 and went on to win the ‘Hot New Thing’ award at the NZ Fringe Awards in 2003. He co-wrote his second play, ‘It’s A Whanau Thing,’ with Kelly Kilgour, which also premiered at BATS Theatre in 2005. His 2012 play, ‘Manawa,’ was nominated for The Playmarket and Capital E National Theatre for Children Award for the New Zealand Play of the Year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. In 2013, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to McCaskill at the Playmarket 40th Accolades, Wellington. The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand's first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason, who died in 1982. He has also performed at the Victoria Arts Centre and the Sydney Opera House in the acclaimed Capital E product, ‘Hinepau’ (based on the novel by Gavin Bishop). McCaskill was also seen on stage for productions for the Auckland Theatre Company, Centrepoint Theatre, Circa, and Downstage. He has composed music for theatre and film and was nominated the Best Composer at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards along with his bandmate Kane Parsons. He is the founding member of the Māori Sidesteps and has also produced, wrote and starred alongside the other sidesteps boys in Māori Television’s ‘Hari with The Māori Sidesteps.’
Born and bred in the Wairarapa, Helen Gilmour-Jones has a long career as a nurse, nurse educator, senior manager in tertiary education, and education specialist. Helen’s dedication to nursing education and leading UCOL’s academic staff through many periods of change in tertiary education has benefitted UCOL’s regions, staff and students for nearly 40 years. Prior to graduating with a Masters in Educational Administration from Massey University, Helen was a lecturer at the Palmerston North Hospital School of Nursing and was part of the changes that bought nursing education into the Manawatū Polytechnic during the 1980’s. During her time with the Manawatū Polytechnic and UCOL, Helen held a wide range of roles and is regarded as a flexible, knowledgeable, talented, future thinking leader and educator. Helen’s talents are boundless, and she has tackled a huge variety of roles, evidence of her adaptability and her wide basket of knowledge. Helen was highly regarded by so many for her dedication to vocational education, along with the compassion she demonstrated on many occasions to staff and students. In her early career days the various roles she held include Lecturer, Academic Advisor, Project Researcher, Project Planner, Student Complaint Investigator and Acting Principal Whanganui,. Helen fronted student scholarship ceremonies, and is a huge advocate for student support Commencing as a lecturer in 1982 Helen later headed the Nursing (Academic) department at UCOL until the early nineties, when she became the Director Programme Delivery in 1993. Then followed a promotion to the role of Deputy Chief Executive (Academic) and part of the Leadership Team in 1998. Helen was instrumental in introducing many improvements during her time (including leading a major project on Flexible Learning and Educational Technology, the effects of which are still felt today) as Deputy Chief Executive (Academic), with the student always at the centre of her leadership and strong support for staff. Her years of experience and knowledge combined ensured that Helen’s views and decisions and mantra to do the right thing were front of mind. Staff describe her as the kind of individual who always had a way about her, with a knack to maintain difficult and meaningful conversations gracefully. Helen was one of the early adopters of open learning and flexible delivery methods in the mid 1990’s and led the Flexible Learning and Education Technology Project to introduce more innovative and ‘open’ ways of learning in UCOL programmes. This concept extended through to front line services such as student support services, information and enrolment teams, educational technology and spatial design which connected through to the new city campus development and design and the influence on the use of space such as the Atrium. This project laid the foundation for the changing pedagogical construct and influenced UCOL practice for subsequent years. Helen, along with other staff, visited a number of Australian and United States Institutions to look at their teaching models that could be potentially used at Manawatū Polytechnic at the time. Helen’s published research work in the Journal of Professional Nursing titled, ‘Moving from an Oral Tradition: The Praxis Story’ is still referred to. Nursing Praxis in Aotearoa New Zealand which published this research has this to say “This is a story, so a good place to start is at the beginning. Yet it isn’t easy to pinpoint just when that beginning was. Projects like Nursing Praxis represent the fulfilment of a dream, and who can say where a dream begins? We could say that the reality began on the night of 3 June 1985 when a group of women meeting in Palmerston North resolved that there would be a journal, and that the first issue would appear in November of that year.” This is an example of the many times Helen was involved in breaking new ground, leading from the forefront. Helen retired as Deputy Chief Executive (Academic) at the end of 2003, and since then has returned to UCOL in various contract roles due to her passion for education. Helen always steps in to assist wherever help is needed. There are numerous examples of this, e.g. she worked as part of the Whanganui Tertiary Education Collaborative Venture, liaising with secondary school principals on collaborative initiatives with UCOL. She spearheaded a number of noteworthy UCOL projects such as the Student First project, working with a team to eliminate barriers in communications with students. She emphasised the student perspective. Helen has worked tirelessly to consolidate and rewrite a portion of UCOL’s academic policies and procedures, as well as carrying out academic audits. In recent years Helen has continued her commitment to UCOL, assisting with the preparation of new programmes for approval and accreditation by NZQA. Her capability and organisational knowledge of UCOL and our communities has well positioned UCOL to this day.
Mike Christensen is a world-renowned mycologist and was a key member of the fungal endophyte team at Grasslands, AgResearch. On retiring from a scientific career at AgResearch with a number of science awards to his name, Mike put his enthusiasm for science into guiding undergraduate and postgraduate students through the fascinating world of fungal identification and physiology both, in New Zealand and overseas. Mike started his research career as a lab technician at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (now AgResearch) and completed the NZ Certificate in Science at the Palmerston North Technical School (now UCOL). The hands-on skills and techniques that Mike mastered throughout his career, along with a key eye for detail lead to a number of new discoveries which has made New Zealand a world leader in forage research. Mike has three key principles for success in a scientific career: Look carefully, think deeply, and ask questions. Mike’s voluntary work at UCOL has been instrumental in the success of the UCOL Laboratory Science programme and the employment of our graduates. Between research trips to Lanzhou University where Mike is still actively engaged in world-leading research, he finds himself in the UCOL teaching labs where he assists the UCOL Laboratory Science students and lecturers to fine tune their hands-on skills enabling on ‘thinking deeply.’ Mike’s wealth of knowledge and passion for the flora around the Manawatū and the identification and investigation of both beneficial and pathogenic fungi from the Manawatū region makes his practical sessions exciting and relevant for our learners. He teaches the importance of each new discovery and encourages students to take nothing for granted and to “ask questions”. Mike’s engagement in the Laboratory Science programme over the better part of a decade has been instrumental in promoting graduate success. When you walk through the hallways of AgResearch’s vast laboratory network almost every face is familiar – that’s because most of them are UCOL graduates who have been employed by AgResearch based on their skillset and ability to look carefully, think deeply and ask questions.
Community Education (Whanganui) chairwoman Andrea Bullock received the Honorary Fellow award on 3 February at UCOL Whanganui’s Staff Welcome Day ceremony. Bullock started her journey as the manager for hairdressing apprentice classes at Wanganui Boys’ College and there’s been no looking back since. She’s served as the Examiner at New Zealand Trade Certificate Board for 27 years. Outside her professional commitments, she’s taken up governance roles at the District Council, INTRANZ, and Mayoral Task Force. Andrea was also Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation (HITO) Chairperson of Qualifications Advisory Committee for 18 years. Recipient of the Honorary Award International Professional Standards Network, she’s significantly contributed to the betterment of the Hairdressing industry. “I broke the news to her on the eve of her birthday. She was very happy to accept the award and said it was the best gift ever,” adds Paul. After retirement, Bullock became the Justice of Peace. She continues to be actively involved in community work, hairdressing association and is currently working on an auction to raise funds for age-concern.
Former Allflex CEO, Shane McManaway received the Honorary Associate award on 1 February at UCOL Wairarapa’s Staff Welcome Day ceremony. McManaway retired from his head position at Allflex after 16 years in 2019. He is the founder of the Platinum Primary Producer group – a network of over 150 Australasia’s influential agri-business men and women. One of the leading figures in his field, McManaway introduced the McDonald Award – an honour that recognises and encourages young agricultural entrepreneurs and leaders. In retirement, McManaway and his wife Lynnette have been busy building a state-of-the-art medical facility and ambulance station in Greytown called Five Rivers Medical. He continues to be actively involved in agriculture through his numerous ventures such as the Gold Creek Charolais farm, a sheep, beef, and dairy operation in South Wairarapa, and a dairy farm in Kaikoura.
Pam Gatchell shared her knowledge and love for science and education with students at UCOL for over 20 years. As a Chemistry Technician, Pam was responsible for organising the equipment and chemicals for a range of science programmes. Pam was also responsible for maintaining the equipment, and making sure students knew how to use it correctly and safely. Part of Pam’s role was teaching practical skills, and she was deeply caring of the students she worked with. Pam would willingly go above and beyond to help students who needed extra help and who were driven to succeed. Pam, together with Dr David Shillington, fostered a work place mentality in their students. They would make sure that students were following good workplace practices (e.g. turning up on time, wearing the correct attire, and adhering to all Health and Safety practices) to help prepare them for employment. Many graduates have commented on how the good habits and practices they show in their workplaces are thanks to Pam’s guidance. In 2008, Pam received the Julia Camden Award, a UCOL staff award that recognises outstanding contribution to Organisational Development and Support.
Lance Funnell has worked at UCOL since 1993, when the institution was the Manawatū Polytechnic. As a Senior Lecturer in Automotive, Lance is highly regarded for his work in the development of UCOL’s automotive stakeholder relationships. His professional and easy going nature have resulted in a high profile within the automotive industry, leading to unique training opportunities for staff and students. Lance’s ability to build strong connections with people is also evident in the classroom, contributing to growing numbers of automotive students and their success. Lance builds exceptional relationships with his students; he sets high expectations and challenges his students to do the best work possible, while providing support. Lance’s colleagues know him for his positivity and glass half full attitude. He is a valued and respected member of the School of Construction and Engineering and a great mentor to new staff. Lance is also a long time Chair of the UCOL Staff Council, displaying good leadership and the ability to facilitate robust discussions and achieve positive conclusions.
Gene Lewis Clarke was a long time Nursing Lecturer at UCOL. He started off as a part-time Student Health Clinic Nurse at the Manawatū Polytechnic, and became a full-time Bachelor of Nursing Lecturer in 1998. Gene went on to teach the Diploma in Enrolled Nursing at UCOL’s Wairarapa and Whanganui campuses. He also worked at former satellite units in Kaitaia, Whangarei, Gisborne, and Greymouth. Gene was instrumental in organising and supporting marae experiences and hui for UCOL’s Nursing programmes. He also encouraged and supported Māori and Pacific students to attend the annual Te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Māori (National Council of Māori Nurses) conference, driving students there and attending in support. In 2009, Gene coordinated the conference in the Wairarapa. Gene was a much loved and respected member of the Nurse Education team and was committed to helping his students succeed. Gene built such a strong connection with his students that some would call him “Koro” or “Papa”. Gene’s 40+ year career in nursing also saw him work in hospitals, community settings, and the medical unit of the military. In 2018 Gene was made a life member of Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori.
Margaret Woodbridge was a highly respected Nursing Lecturer at UCOL for 27 years, where she developed a reputation as hardworking, committed to her students, and a great role model. In the 1970s, Margaret set up the first Renal Home Dialysis services in the Wellington/Central region, followed by Plunket nursing. In the early 1990s Margaret established and coordinated the New Zealand National Nanny Certificate at UCOL and went on to organise national Nanny Conferences. Margaret and Ann Woodgyer established and facilitated UCOL’s Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Nursing programme in India. This programme would see Registered Nurses in India gain qualifications to work in New Zealand. This was UCOL’s first internationally-delivered programme, and saw Margaret work in India for two years. Margaret was also Programme Leader for the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Nursing and the Short Course in Competency Assessment for Registered Nurses. Margaret ‘s passion for research included particular interests in paediatrics, the impacts of smoking, child advocacy, and the challenges for internationally registered nurses when immigrating to New Zealand. Margaret presented her research at conferences in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and had numerous scholarly articles published. Margaret has been a great contributor to her local community in various volunteer roles.
Allan MacGibbon is a long-time proponent for regional economic growth, education, and tourism in Whanganui. Allan was the Whanganui District Council’s Economic Development Manager from 2008 to 2014. In this role he worked to maintain UCOL’s long-term presence in Whanganui and develop closer relationships with UCOL. He managed the Whanganui Glass School (now NZ Glassworks) and was part of the joint Whanganui District Council-UCOL Taskforce that looked at ways to bring tertiary education and community interests closer together. Allan was instrumental in the establishment of INTRANZ, a Whanganui based training facility that delivered trades and industry-based training. While working as Whanganui Airport Manager, Allan led the runway upgrade and terminal rebuild. He was instrumental in establishing international aviation training in Whanganui managing the purchase of Flight Training Manawatu and assisted in establishing it in Whanganui as the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy. As interim CEO, he managed its registration, certification and curriculum development. Allan served on the NZ Airport’s Association Board for nine years, representing small regional airports and highlighting their importance to New Zealand. In 2016 he was awarded the Association’s Beca Airport Personality of the Year for his commitment to New Zealand’s regional airports and to Whanganui Airport.
Dr Janice Wenn (Kahungunu ki Wairarapa) has been instrumental in leading Māori health in the Wairarapa for several decades. Janice graduated as a nurse in 1955 and has been involved in health service development and delivery for 64 years. She helped develop national strategies to address Māori health issues and improve healthcare access. Janice was the Head of the Māori Studies Unit at Wairarapa Community Polytechnic and later led the faculty for Māori Studies, Art and Social Services. Janice was instrumental in establishing Whaiora Whanui in 1998 after the people of Papawai Marae decided to create a health service designed to reduce health inequities and empower whānau to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. Many UCOL nursing students have benefitted from Whaiora through clinical placements and employment. Janice has supported UCOL by mentoring students and assisting staff with research. At the age of 74, Janice completed her PhD focusing on identifying core values underpinning Māori health. She then went on to work as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Massey University. In 2014, Janice received the Māori of the Year for Health Award and in 2018 released her memoir Ko Matakitaki te Tuatahi ' - a sort of life.
Dr Heather Grady is UCOL’s Programme Leader for Veterinary Nursing and Applied Science programmes. Heather currently teaches the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology, the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care, and U-Skills programmes.Heather has been a valued member of UCOL’s Faculty of Health and Science since she joined the organization in 1994. With her breadth of knowledge and wide skill set, Heather has also taught programmers in Health Science, Nursing, Exercise and Sport Science over the years. In 2013 Heather was named a UCOL Fellow, the highest level of academic promotion. Heather has been a great contributor to UCOL’s Health & Safety Representative Committee since 2003. She is focused on making laboratory work as safe as possible, while also giving students a high quality learning experience. Alongside her work at UCOL, Heather has spent years volunteering her time to outdoor education programmes. These efforts were recognized when Heather received the Mountain Safety Council Volunteer Award in 2013. In 2015 Heather founded the volunteer organisation Outdoors Training NZ for which she chairs the national organisation and the local branch. The bulk of Heather’s volunteer work involves training young people working towards Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Levin born, Trevor Shailer (Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Kauwhata, Raukawa) is the CEO of Sport Manawatū and one of New Zealand’s top amateur boxers. Trevor won a bronze medal at the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games, competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and held 14 New Zealand Boxing Championship titles. In 1994, he was named Manawatū Sportsman of the Year and the first New Zealand Universities Māori Sportsman of the Year. Trevor continues to contribute to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games through his involvement with the New Zealand Olympic Committee. He has been involved in eight Olympic and Commonwealth Games campaigns, where he led the Athlete Support Team, provided Māori cultural support alongside the late Amster Reedy, and was the Deputy Chef de Mission at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Trevor is a life member of the New Zealand Olympic Order and the Patron of Parafed Manawatū. In 2012, Trevor was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Sport and the Community. Trevor received the 2016 Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga Māori Sports Administrator of the Year award. As CEO of Sport Manawatū, Trevor supports the development of UCOL students by arranging and providing work placements for students studying Sport Science, Security, Business, and Creative Industries.
Dr David Shillington was a long-time Associate Professor of Chemistry and Science at UCOL and spent time as Head of School - Applied Health Sciences. David was a passionate teacher, encouraging his students to enter industry with professional attitudes, habits and work practices. David is a well-known science champion. For 10 years he and Emeritus Professor Tim Brown produced a weekly science article for the Manawatū Standard, bringing topical scientific insights to both a science and non-science audience. Forty articles were later collated into a book, Changing Standards. In 2009, the duo were awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand Manawatū’s Certificate of Excellence for promoting science in the Manawatū. David was an active researcher before and during his time at UCOL. In 2000, he and his research colleagues received UCOL’s Alan Furness Award for research. David was active in industry and community initiatives, including being part of NZQA’s Governance Group for the Review of Science Qualifications, Treasurer of the Manawatū Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry, Public Relations Officer for the Institute of Materials, President of The Science Centre Inc. (founding Society for Te Manawa), and board member for Active Minds, promoting extracurricular science activities for primary schools.
Alumni Achievement Award
Alice Hocquard and her husband Jeremy own and operate popular Palmerston North Bakery BABCO (Brick Artisan Bread Company). The couple started BABCO as a wood-fired pizza catering company and food truck in 2016 to fund the opening of a European-style bakery in 2017. The bakery became so popular that Alice and Jeremy expanded into the shop next door the following year. BABCO has built up a reputation for its sourdough breads, French pastries, sandwiches and cruffins – a cross between a croissant and a muffin. Everyday there are new creative items added to the menu, keeping customers visiting regularly to see what’s new. Alice completed a Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging at UCOL, and has used the skills she acquired through her studies in the branding and marketing of BABCO. Alice and Jeremy also own and operate Alice Films; a photography and videography company, and Trunk, a wooden sunglasses brand.
Mark Easton is the founder and Managing Director of Palmerston North-based IT company Nodero, and a former UCOL Information Analyst. Mark founded Nodero in 2012 with the vision of bringing world-class software development to the Manawatu. Nodero employs local IT specialists who design, build, and support websites and apps for clients around the world, putting Palmerston North on the map for the IT industry. Nodero provides business with mobile and web development, business analysis, Sharepoint implementation, and data-based decision-making. As a software architect, Mark is skilled in front-end, user centric interfaces, as well as sophisticated back-end development. Mark continues to support UCOL students and staff, providing internships and employment opportunities for students along with stakeholder advice on programmes. Some of Nodero’s recent projects include the development of a new database for Wildbase, the Ripple app, which allows people affected by cancer to connect and share experiences and resources, and the Babble app for Mid Central DHB’s NeoNatal Unit, which provides crucial information to parents. The Babble app has also expanded to serve the Counties Manukau DHB.
Arios Toa graduated from UCOL with the Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2017 and in 2018 graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Exercise Physiology. He has been using his skills to uplift his community and improve the health and wellbeing of Maori in the Manawatu. Arios uses his health and fitness business Toa Hauora as a platform to promote health and wellness within his community. His clients are like his family, and praise him for his knowledge, supportive nature, and passion for helping others improve their lives. Arios goes above and beyond to support people, often providing advice and guidance around many facets of wellness. Arios facilitates He Ahi Kaa Hauora, a group of Maori Christians from churches from around Palmerston North. He teaches the group about health and wellness, and since 2017 has trained members to participate in the Iron Maori triathlon. He also runs wananga where he educates people on the importance of nutrition, meal plans, stretching and exercise plans, just to name a few. While he was a student at UCOL, Arios helped coordinate the Rapu Ora fitness challenge, a 10-week weight loss challenge run out of UCOL Manawatu’s Whanau Room. In 2019 Arios returned to UCOL to share his knowledge as an Exercise and Wellness Lecturer.
Ryan Serrano is a Senior 3D Artist for Weta Workshop. As well as digital sculpting, Ryan has a great talent for drawing, painting, and hand sculpting. Originally from the Philippines, Ryan came to UCOL in 2015 to study the Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design. He had previously completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Advertising Arts) at the University of Santo Tomas, which was followed by four years working in post-production/visual effects, game design, and toy design/sculpting. Ryan secured his job at Weta Workshop before he even finished his studies at UCOL. Since then, Ryan has lent his talents to a variety of Weta Workshop projects. He helped build costumes for feature films such as Power Rangers, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and I Am Mother, and helped design props for Men in Black: International. Ryan has also sculpted Weta collectables and Te Papa exhibits. Ryan has an impressive portfolio of freelance work, having sculpted licenced statues and figurines for properties such as Marvel and DC. Ryan’s freelance work has seen him work with notable collectable manufacturers in the United States and Asia, including DC Collectibles, Kotobukiya, and XM Studios.
Young Alumni Award
Braidie Heberley is a UCOL graduate of the National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and works as the Lead Educator at Ko Te Aroha Children's Centre. Braidie was placed at Ko Te Aroha for the practical component her UCOL studies and made such an impression that the Centre employed her once she finished her certificate. Braidie went on to complete her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) through Te Tari Puna oro o Aotearoa (now known as Te Rito Maioha) and teacher registration with the support of Ko Te Aroha. Braidie now mentors UCOL students across all the Early Childhood Education programmes and supports Makoura students transitioning into the workforce. Braidie is leading a national pilot programme called Calmer Classrooms, which focuses on supporting children who have been through or are going through trauma. Calmer Classrooms has had a significant and positive impact on children at Ko Te Aroha, and the programme is being considered for a national roll out.
Kelvin Gilbert graduated from UCOL in 2013 with a Diploma in Photographic Imaging, and has gone on to gain national and international acclaim for his work. Kelvin has had great success in the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Iris Awards, having won medals each year since 2013. He won the NZIPP Illustrative Photographer of the Year in 2013 and 2018, and was a finalist in three separate NZIPP categories in 2017. Kelvin was also a finalist for New Zealand Photographer of the Year each year from 2016 to 2018. In 2016, Kelvin was awarded the title of Grand Master of Photography, the highest honour of the NZIPP. He was the youngest photographer to gain this title, and accumulated the required number of competition points quicker than anyone before him. Outside of New Zealand, Kelvin was named Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Overseas Photographer of the Year in 2017. He has also represented New Zealand in the World Photographic Cup on three occasions. Kelvin was featured in advertising industry magazine Lürzer’s Archive’s 200 best digital artists worldwide for 2015/2016. Kelvin and his partner, fellow UCOL graduate Amy Fowler, currently own and operate creative agency Origin Eight. Together they provide photography, video production, graphic design, website design, motion graphics, and communications for clients around Palmerston North. They have worked with clients such as the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Sport Manawatu, and UCOL. Origin Eight handling the photography and video production for UCOL’s Make a Difference marketing campaign.
Leilani Krans-Tunnage is an accomplished designer known for her beautiful timber creations. Leilani graduated from UCOL with a Diploma in Furniture Design and Making in 2015. Her talent was clear while at UCOL; in the second year of her studies, Leilani won the Pinus Radiata open category at the National Woodskills Competition for her detailed pine longboard. After graduating, Leilani established her own business, Designpilot, with the name being a nod to her former career as a helicopter pilot. Leilani specialises in designing and making high end furniture as well as other products such as longboards, instruments and any timber items that require a degree of skill and vision. Her work caught the attention of the producers of television show Design Junkies, which saw New Zealand designers compete in a range of challenges using salvaged materials. Leilani’s skills, creative flair, problem solving ability, and drive to learn new techniques saw her win the first season of the show in 2018. Leilani won three of the six challenges on the show, with her winning creations including a coffee table made of old bed parts, a lamp made from marine salvage, and a bike using all recycled parts. Leilani credits her UCOL lecturers for pushing her creatively and instilling in her a drive to produce the highest quality work.
Neunglatai Morrison completed her Certificate in Beauty Services in 2014, and then the Diploma in Beauty in 2015. Since then she has become the Managing Director of her own business, and a great supporter of UCOL students and graduates. After finishing her studies, Neunglatai worked at Hair, Beauty and Nails in the Palmerston North Plaza. There she developed an interest and passion for eyelash extensions and threading. This passion led Neunglatai to set up her own business, Empire Lashes and Beauty, offering a variety of eyelash and eyebrow treatments. Demand for her services grew so high that in 2018 Neunglatai employed an additional staff member and moved into a new shop. Neunglatai continues to be a great supporter of UCOL beauty students. She is a regular guest speaker in classes, and provides demonstrations and training for students on threading and lash extensions. She is pivotal in helping graduates find work, letting UCOL beauty staff know about any jobs available in the local industry. Neunglatai is also part of UCOL’s Beauty stakeholder group, and was one of the stakeholders who met with NZQA during UCOL’s most recent External Evaluation and Review. Neunglatai is very involved in the community; for example, last year she held a free eyebrow shaping and threading event at the Palmerston North Library Youth Space. At 22 years of age, Neunglatai has a very bright future ahead of her.
Alumni Service Award
Tim Wilson is a military veteran, artist, and one of the founders of the charity No Duff. Tim came to UCOL in 2015 to study a Certificate and Art and Design after a 16 year military career. He had always had a passion for art, and it has given him the mental and stress release that he was looking for after leaving the military. Since graduating in 2016, Tim has been involved in three major art exhibitions, with the majority of his work being in bronze sculpture and print. After seeing the struggles many veterans go through, Tim and a group of friends established the charitable trust No Duff. No Duff supports veterans facing difficulties such as mental health issues, adjusting to civilian life, financial struggles, and finding employment. The charity has a network of hundreds of volunteers across Australasia. In 2017, Tim and two fellow veterans held the Soldiers Five: A Veteran's Journey exhibition at Parliament’s Bowen House Gallery, highlighting the experiences of soldiers returning from conflict zones. The exhibition covered the themes of transition, isolation, determination, and hope that many veterans face after they leave the military. Proceeds from Tim’s art sales went to No Duff. The exhibition was a great success, not only raising awareness and funds for No Duff, but also highlighting the importance of creative expression in helping veterans cope with post-traumatic stress.
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