Global agritech leader Arama Kukutai is among four Te Herenga Waka –Victoria University alumni selected as Distinguished Alumni Award winners for 2023.
The alumni, who specialise in fields ranging from public health and agritech to finance, literature and justice, have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to their professions, communities and New Zealand.
Alongside Kukutai, the recipients are Solicitor-General of New Zealand Una Jagose, poet and author Tusiata Avia, and drug harm reduction advocate Wendy Allison.
Kukutai has more than 20 years’ experience across the agritech sector. He is of Ngāti Tipa, Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Aupōuri, and Parihaka descent, and started his career in finance at a time when Māori organisations were beginning to actively develop forestry, farming and fishing assets as chair of PKW Farms in the dairy sector. Kukutai later served as the regional director for NZ Trade & Enterprise in North America.
In 2022, he was recognised with a Kea World Class New Zealand award, and in 2023 he received Ngā Tohu Matariki o te Tau award for his contribution to business and innovation.
Chancellor John Allen praised the recipients for their commitment to creating positive change in the world, noting they serve as testament to the potential of graduates from Te Herenga Waka.
“These alumni have each made an exceptional impact in their field and are highly respected individuals.
“Their accomplishments reflect the core values of our university and the calibre of our alumni.
“We are delighted to celebrate their achievements through these prestigious awards.”
The awards will be presented at an event in Wellington on October 19.