The Society recognises the outstanding  and sustained contributions and service the following New Zealand Geographers have made to Geography and society, whether in New Zealand or overseas. The recipients may use the designation DNZG in recognition of the award. The first Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medals were awarded in 2001.

A copy of the nomination form for the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal can be downloaded here.


Professor Wendy Larner (2021) for her tireless leadership in the discipline and the wider academy. The full citation can be read here.
  Associate Professor Juliana Mansvelt (2021) for the sustained excellence of her research, her innovative teaching, and service to the NZGS. The full citation can be read here.    



Professor Etienne Nel (2020) for his sustained contribution to Geography and Development Studies internationally and in New Zealand. Full citation


Professor Glenn Banks (2020) for his research focused on large-scale mining and aid policy. Full citation

  Professor Paul W. Williams (2019) in recognition for his world renown work in karst geomorphology and hydrology. Full citation



Professor Warwick E. Murray (2019) in recognition of his distinguished work in globalization, development and Latin American. Full citation


Dr Ann Pomeroy (2018) in recognition of her long and distinguished career as a researcher and sustained contributions and excellence in rural geography and sociology.


Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett (2018) in recognition of her work nationally and internationally in Māori and Indigenous geographies


 Associate Professor Lex Chalmers (2017) in recognition of his community-based work with organisations such as the New Zealand Geographical Society (NZGS), the New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers (NZBoGT), the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo), and the International Geographical Union (IGU). Full citation


Professor Patrick Hesp (2017) in recognition of his role in his dedication to geomorphology and physical geography. Full citation


Professor John Overton (2016) in recognition for consistently pushing the discipline of geography and allied sub-disciplines in new directions, opening up new worlds for students and younger geographers at all levels, engaging with governments and the public and serving his own scholarly community. Full citation


Professor Andrew Sturman (2016) for contribution to meteorology, and quietly encouraging, honest, open and hard-working approach to leadership helping geographers recover from local disaster and to bring people together again for the common good of Canterbury Geography. Full citation


Emeritus Professor John R Flenley (2015) for his many contributions in the field of biography and palynology. Full citation


Professor William A. V. Clark (2015) for his research focused on migration and the nature of demographic change in large cities. Full citation




Professor Robin Kearns (2014) for his outstanding contribution to geography scholarship centred on the geographical concept of place. Full Citation


Professor Philip Morrison (2013) for his research focusing on labor markets,  housing and housing markets. Full Citation


Emeritus Professor Robert Miller Kirk (2013) for his research specialising in the science of coastal landforms and lakeshores, and the physical processes that form and change them. Full citation


Professor Tony Binns (2012) for his contributions to Geography at the tertiary and the secondary levels in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and internationally. Full citation


Professor Iain Hay (2011) for his broad contribution to scholarship that incorporates core human values into geographic research and pedagogy. 




Professor Robyn Longhurst (2010) in recognition of her sustained intellectual and institutional contributions to international and New Zealand feminist geography.


Professor Michael Roche (2010) in recognition of his sustained, wide ranging, and exemplary contribution and service to geography in the realms of historical geography, agri-food studies and geographical thought.


Richard Le Heron (2009) is a tireless, imaginative and effective supporter of geography driven by a belief in its potential to contribute to better futures at all scales, and by intellectual and political commitments to the notion that the world gets made by how we know it and how we act upon those understandings. Full Citation



Ray Watters (2009) 

Ray Watters was one of the pioneers fo the so called "Victoria School of Geography" with its (then new) emphasis on development, culture, colonialism and political economy. He taught at Victoria University of Wellington for 38 years and was editor of Pacific Viewpoint (now Asia Pacific Viewpoint) for about 20 years. Ray is a renowned field-based researcher, and his work has generated eight books, 42 scholarly papers, 10 project reports and 5 monographs. Ray Watters has made a lasting and immense contribution to Geography in New Zealand, in research, teaching and communication of significant development issues relating to the Pacific, Latin America as well as New Zealand.
Full Citation


Peter Holland (2008)

Professor Peter Holland led the revitalisation and repositioning of the Society as a learned body during  his term as 10th President of the New Zealand Geographical Society (2002 - 2006) . His effectiveness in overseeing transition owed much to his stature at every level in the New Zealand geographical community. As a biogeographer he has spent nearly 50 years investigating landscape as a dynamic stage that offers diverse ecological and evoluntionary opportunities for living things. His cumulative insights in this field have enriched and deepened New Zealand's geographic research and scholarship.
Full Citation


Dick Bedford (2007) 

Professor Richard Bedford is a specialist in migration studies. Since the mid-1960s he has researched processes of population movement in the Asia-Pacific region and is one of the world’s foremost authorities in this field. Professor Bedford is also Aotearoa/New Zealand’s most prominent geographer in public policy networks and at the interface of geographic knowledge and policy making. In both capacities he has made a sustained and influential contribution to New Zealand society and international geographic knowledge.

Full Citation


Eric Pawson (2007) 

Eric is best known for his research focus on environmental and economic transformation in the context of New Zealand’s colonial and post-colonial experience. He has been the guiding light behind a succession of geographic research programmes that have shifted the knowledge frontiers about New Zealand. Eric’s work spans the four scholarships of discovery, synthesis, application and pedagogy. This rare combination means he is known for spotting emerging trends and new intellectual currents, asking the next generation of questions and designing theoretical frameworks and systems to implement new research initiatives. His remarkable capacity to align theoretical expertise and energise collective contributions has meant that what has been achieved by him and the New Zealand geographical community is more than the sum of the individual parts. The New Zealand geographical community is much the richer for Eric Pawson’s geographic leadership and intellectual achievements.
Full Citation


Chris Davidson (2006) 

Chris Davidson has had an exemplary career as a classroom teacher, as an analyst, developer and promoter of educational policy in national agencies, and as an advocate for the study of geography. For many years he was closely involved with curriculum development, and his activities enhanced the teaching and standing of geography in New Zealand secondary schools. His work also strengthened links between schools and the universities. His impact upon geographical education in this country, and his contributions to the teaching of geography in secondary schools, are recognised and appreciated in New Zealand and abroad.
Full Citation


Ann Magee (2005)

Ann worked in geography academia for 20 years, first at Victoria University and then at Waikato. She was a committed teacher and activist for change. In 1987 she shifted focus away from academia to the worlds of business, community and government and by 1989 was working for Waitakere City. She continues to provide leadership towards her vision of the compact city as the way forward and uses her skills to facilitate the connection of the community to the resources of Council.
Full citation



Graeme Campbell (2005)  

Graeme Campbell has built a career around science in action. His masterate and doctoral work on family farming, rural landuse and the cultural context of land use decision making laid the foundation for what has become his life's work. As DOC Regional Conservator for Auckland he managed policy implementation and increased the knowledge and technical skill of staff.  From 1995 Graeme has taken on a number of advisory roles at government level. In 2003 he took on joint leadership of the Sustainable Development Programme of Action. Graeme's special contribution is his belief in the geography of social responsibility, that New Zealand must show the world some alternative directions.
Full citation



Euan McQueen (2004) 

A prominent member of New Zealand's public service, Euan spent 19 years with New Zealand Railways and was a significant "change agent" during the restructuring of the service. He has also contributed as a geography lecturer at Victoria University, on an on going basis, initially on staff and then as an Honorary Lecturer. He has  spent 11 years on the Royal Society's National Committee for Geography (1972-1983), and was President of the New Zealand Geographical Society between 1975 and 1981. Euan has been active as a local body representative since 1993. He is one of New Zealand's most skilful practitioners in the application of the geographers' craft to helping define the development options for New Zealand's future.
Full citation


Brian Lynch (2004)  

Brian Lynch, a prominent member of New Zealand's public service, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964 where he held a number of influential roles. In 1982 he moved to the Ministry of Transport where he was Deputy Secretary until 1992. He then became Chief Executive of the Meat Industry Association during a period of significant restructuring. More recently he holds a number of roles, including Chairman of the Trade Liberalisation Network and Alternate Member on the APEC Business Advisory Council. Brian served as President of the New Zealand Geographical Society between 1982 and 1988. He was made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2004.
Full Citation


Marion Ward (2003)  

Marion Ward has achieved much as a "transformer of place". Between 1973 and 2002 she has worked on or lead 80 missions to countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, working at community regional and national level, to resolve transport, communication, water supply and sanitation issues. She has published extensively and worked as a consultant since the early 1970's. Since 1990 she has run her own consultancy company. Through her work she has impacted on millions of people.
Full citation


R. Gerard Ward (2003)  

Emeritus Professor Ralph Gerard Ward has made an outstanding contribution to Geography in the Pacific. He was Foundation Professor of Geography at University of Papua New Guinea and four years later was appointed Chair in Human Geography of the Research School of Pacific Studies at Australia National University where he served for 31 years. He contributed to the goverance of three Pacific universities, serving on Council for University of Papua New Guinea, National University of Samoa and Universite Francaise du Pacifique. He has also served on the Pacific Science Association and the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.
Full citation


Evelyn Stokes (2001)  

Dame Evelyn was a Professor of Geography at the University of Waikato. She served on the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit and was a member of the Ngai Tahu Tribal Trust from 1980 to 1991. She was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and the New Zealand Geographic Board. She was also the author of numerous publications on NZ historial geography, Mäori land tenure and Treaty issues. A stalwart of the New Zealand Geographical Society for more than 50 years, Dame Evelyn was a highly effective advocate for geography in New Zealand and a productive researcher in the important domains of Maori and indigenous peoples' geographies. Sadly Dame Evelyn died in 2005.
Full citation



Jane Soons (2001)  

Emeritus Professor Jane Soons lectured at the University of Canterbury from 1960 to 1993 on glacial geomorphology and on occasion, the regional geography of Europe.  She has served as the President of the International Union for Quarternary Research (1977-1982). When she was appointed as Professor in 1971, she became the University of Canterbury's first woman professor.
Full citation


Warren Moran (2001)  

Professor Warren Moran lectured at University of Auckland and was involved in research on regional processes and policy, rural activity systems, place as intellectual property, and the wine industry. He served as Senior Vice-President of the International Geographical Union (1996-2000), after serving for nearly 30 years on its various bodies.


John Macaulay (2001) 

John Macaulay has given meritorious service to successive generations of secondary school teachers and pupils in New Zealand.  He has been involved in studying, teaching, developing and publishing geography for almost 60 years.  He played a pivotal role in the development and operation of the Geography Resource Centre from 1974 through to 2000. He has been an active member of the NZGS as a committee member, journal editor and member of the NZBoGT. He is a life member of the NZGS.







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