Major honours for Lincoln legends

20 January 2023 | News

Lincoln University is proud to celebrate the recognition of several current and former staff members, as well as alumni, in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

Emeritus Professor David Simmons, a leading tourism scholar who spent his academic career almost exclusively at Lincoln, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tourism and tertiary education.

Additionally, alumna and lecturer in Global Supply Chains and Trade, Dr Hafsa Ahmed, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to ethnic communities and women.

Recognition also went to past staff members, Grant Cleland (ONZM), Dr Jan Wright (DNZM) and Ruta McKenzie (MNZM).

Prof Simmons has been a leading tourism scholar for more than 40 years and is regarded as a key founder of the discipline at tertiary level in New Zealand.

After founding tourism studies at Lincoln University, he established the Centre of Exellence – Sustainable Tourism for Regions, Landscapes and Communities, which focuses on generating and supporting sustainable tourism regions.

He has also contributed to international tourism planning and education in numerous countries, including Sarawak, Cambodia, Niue, Mauritius and Nepal, and advised international organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund and United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Speaking to Stuff, Prof Simmons said the honour was completely unexpected.

“Naturally, I was most surprised and initially thought that maybe it was in error, but on reflection came to realise that I had been nominated anonymously by my peers, but from where I do not know.

“I am most proud of my students, especially those who have undertaken postgraduate studies, a number of whom now make significant national and global contributions.”

Dr Ahmed has empowered women to tell their stories through media projects and the video documentary series, Immigrant Journeys, in her capacity as co-founder and trustee of Lady Khadija Charitable Trust.

A registered charity that works to support vulnerable groups achieve social cohesion in the community, it is one of many different not-for-profit organisations Dr Ahmed has advocated for over the past decade.

Also an active presenter and contributor to the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Women to Women Project in Ōtautahi Christchurch, she is a highly regarded leader in supporting the empowerment of ethnic women and the recovery of the Muslim community following the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks.

Following the announcement of the honour, Dr Ahmed told Stuff that she was committed to shining a light on important issues.

"Yesterday reading, I came across a Chinese proverb, 'it is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness,'" she said. "That is so true. I guess I am trying to light a candle when there is so much darkness."

David Simmons photo courtesy of Chris Skelton/Stuff