Engineering students shine at Blues Awards

02 October 2017

The Faculty of Engineering has once again, seen our students prominently featured at the University of Auckland’s Blues Awards.

This includes two significant wins: Michael Brake (Ngāti Porou) for his Māori Sportsperson of the Year Award, and Lucy McSweeney, for the Most Outstanding Contribution Award in Service and Leadership.

Civil Engineering student Michael Brake notably competed in the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro as part of New Zealand’s men’s rowing eight. They claimed sixth at the games. The Olympics are just the latest in Michael’s history of rowing achievements, having placed fourth at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, and winning gold in the junior men’s coxed four in 2012.

Lucy McSweeney, a Part IV student in Engineering Science, has been passionately campaigning to raise improve mental health education in New Zealand Schools. Outside the classroom, she displayed her commitment as an advocate by speaking at schools and forums, and engaging with politicians and the media about her own experiences.

With over ten thousand signatures supporting the need for better guidelines, adequate training and funding for mental health education in our high school curriculum, Lucy’s petition was delivered to parliament in June. It is currently under select committee review for action.

Some recognisable Sports winners include our Waka Ama paddlers, Billy Bowman, Dallas Watene, Georgia Naera, Jessica Retter, Josie Stevens, Nona Taute, Sarah Carson and Vaoala Enesa, who recently canoed their way to the top prize at the annual Queen Lili’uokalani race in Hawaii. 

Engineering students who were presented with 2017 Blues Awards for Sports have showcased their abilities on national and international scales. They include:

  • Alani Nicklin, a member of the New Zealand Volleyball senior men's team who played in the 2017 World Championship Qualification tournament in Australia
  • Three students picked up awards for orienteering: Callum Herries, Kayla Fairbairn, and Cameron de L’Isle
  • Charlotte Spence, for rowing with our U23 rowing team and placing ninth at the 2017 U23 World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria
  • Dean Shu, whose abilities in table tennis placed him as a quarter-finalist in the U21 men's singles at the 2017 World Tour Platinum Australian Open
  • Elise Salt, for placing 12th at the 2016 Triathlon World Cup Tongyeong, amongst other achievements in triathlons
  • Hilary Munro, a finalist at the 2016 World University Water Ski Championships in Japan. She was also selected in the New Zealand team to compete at 2017 Open World Water Ski Championships in Paris
  • Kim Thompson, who represented New Zealand in canoe sprint at the 2017 Open World Cup 1
  • Matthew Battley, who placed second at the 2017 New Zealand Mountain Running Championships in Queenstown. He was additionally selected to represent New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy
  • Ryan Pieter Deen, who captained – and placed third at – the New Zealand U19 men’s underwater ockey team at the 2017 World championships
  • Samuel Ruruarau Hiha, who competed at the 2016 Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia and the 2016 Junior World Cup in India as part of the New Zealand U21 hockey team

Our achievements were however, not limited to Sports. Arts and Cultural awards were presented to George Gillard, Jack Barker and Steven Barker for Competitive Robotics, and in particular, their involvement in the Auckland University Robotics Association which won the 2017 VEX-U Robotics World Championships.

Caroline Hope, specialising in Chemical and Materials Engineering, won Arts and Cultural, and Service and Leadership awards. She placed first equal in the Imagining Decolonised Cities National Urban Design Challenge, and is additionally recognised for her involvements with Engineers without Borders. Charles Norton picked up a Service and Leadership Award for founding Opportunity Space, a platform for New Zealanders looking to make a positive difference through experiences such as summits, conferences and ambassadorial roles.

Held on 29 September this year, 114 Blues were awarded to students who demonstrated high-level achievements in sports, the arts and culture and service and leadership. More information and winners are listed on the Blues Awards website.