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Monday 31 October 2022 11:07am

James Higham, Lisa Matisoo-Smith, Phil Bremer and Michelle Thompson-Fawcett image
Poutoko Taiea, Distinguished Chair appointees (from left) Professors James Higham, Lisa Matisoo-Smith, Phil Bremer and Michelle Thompson-Fawcett. Absent is Professor Richie Poulton.

Five University of Otago internationally acclaimed scholars and leaders have been appointed as Poutoko Taiea, Distinguished Chairs.

These prestigious appointments acknowledge and celebrate the work of the University's highest-achieving professors – staff who are not only outstanding teachers and researchers, but who also have an established track record of sharing their work with communities outside the University.

Richie Poulton 2022 image
Professor Richie Poulton. Photo: Sharron Bennett, NZ Listener.

Those receiving the award are:

  • Professor Phil Bremer (Department of Food Science)
  • Professor James Higham (Department of Tourism)
  • Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith (Department of Anatomy)
  • Professor Richie Poulton (Department of Psychology)
  • Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett (School of Geography)

Their work covers a wide range of topics, from food safety, sustainable tourism and human diversity to a 50-year study of human health, development and behaviour, and Indigenous-led urban and environmental planning.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor David Murdoch says the award acknowledges highly distinguished professors who have maintained an extraordinary level of activity across their scholastic work and have achieved pre-eminence in their fields.

“I'm absolutely delighted to announce these appointments. This award gives us a special opportunity to recognise and celebrate those at the very top of their game.

“Through their leadership, research and teaching, these dedicated staff are raising the profile of the work we do here at Otago and are having a real impact on the wider community.”

The Poutoko Taiea, Distinguished Chair award was introduced in 2019 to mark the University's 150th anniversary.

These are fixed term, four-year roles and appointments will be considered biennially. Seven Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair appointments were made in 2019. Once those inaugural appointments have ended, there will be a maximum of 10 appointees at any one time.

The recipients, who are given the title of Ahorangi Taiea, Distinguished Professor, take up their appointments on 1 January next year.

Further information

More detailed information about the recipients can be found in the University of Otago Bulletin:

Poutoko Taiea, Distinguished Chair appointments announced – Otago Bulletin

Please direct any enquiries to:

Andrea Jones
Team Leader, Divisional Communications
University of Otago
Mob +64 21 279 0526

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