Alumni Achievement Award
Palmerston North born and bred, Linda Jenkinson is one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs.With Dispatch Management Services, the courier company she co-founded in 1994, Linda became the first New Zealand woman to list a company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Linda went on to set up a global customer and employee experience platform John Paul and WOW for Africa, an NGO supporting women entrepreneurs in Senegal. Linda has significant experience mentoring business and non-profit organisations in New Zealand and abroad. She is chair and co-Founder of LevelUp Investments, a global mentoring and investment firm focused on supporting technology-enabled high growth companies to break $100+ million revenue. Linda holds several directorships, including with Air New Zealand. Linda’s work has seen her win numerous awards including the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year - New Zealand (2012), Massey University’s Sir Geoffrey Peren Award (2014), and the Kea World Class New Zealander (2016). Having been based in San Francisco for a lot of her career, the San Francisco Business Time named Linda as one of the Most Influential Women in the Bay Area in 2014 and 2015. Linda is also an alumni of UCOL.
Alice Hocquard and her husband Jeremy own and operate popular Palmerston North Bakery BABCO (Brick Artisan Bread Company). The couple started BABCO as a wood-fired pizza catering company and food truck in 2016 to fund the opening of a European-style bakery in 2017. The bakery became so popular that Alice and Jeremy expanded into the shop next door the following year. BABCO has built up a reputation for its sourdough breads, French pastries, sandwiches and cruffins – a cross between a croissant and a muffin. Everyday there are new creative items added to the menu, keeping customers visiting regularly to see what’s new. Alice completed a Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging at UCOL, and has used the skills she acquired through her studies in the branding and marketing of BABCO. Alice and Jeremy also own and operate Alice Films; a photography and videography company, and Trunk, a wooden sunglasses brand.
Mark Easton is the founder and Managing Director of Palmerston North-based IT company Nodero, and a former UCOL Information Analyst. Mark founded Nodero in 2012 with the vision of bringing world-class software development to the Manawatu. Nodero employs local IT specialists who design, build, and support websites and apps for clients around the world, putting Palmerston North on the map for the IT industry. Nodero provides business with mobile and web development, business analysis, Sharepoint implementation, and data-based decision-making. As a software architect, Mark is skilled in front-end, user centric interfaces, as well as sophisticated back-end development. Mark continues to support UCOL students and staff, providing internships and employment opportunities for students along with stakeholder advice on programmes. Some of Nodero’s recent projects include the development of a new database for Wildbase, the Ripple app, which allows people affected by cancer to connect and share experiences and resources, and the Babble app for Mid Central DHB’s NeoNatal Unit, which provides crucial information to parents. The Babble app has also expanded to serve the Counties Manukau DHB.
Arios Toa graduated from UCOL with the Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2017 and in 2018 graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Exercise Physiology. He has been using his skills to uplift his community and improve the health and wellbeing of Maori in the Manawatu. Arios uses his health and fitness business Toa Hauora as a platform to promote health and wellness within his community. His clients are like his family, and praise him for his knowledge, supportive nature, and passion for helping others improve their lives. Arios goes above and beyond to support people, often providing advice and guidance around many facets of wellness. Arios facilitates He Ahi Kaa Hauora, a group of Maori Christians from churches from around Palmerston North. He teaches the group about health and wellness, and since 2017 has trained members to participate in the Iron Maori triathlon. He also runs wananga where he educates people on the importance of nutrition, meal plans, stretching and exercise plans, just to name a few. While he was a student at UCOL, Arios helped coordinate the Rapu Ora fitness challenge, a 10-week weight loss challenge run out of UCOL Manawatu’s Whanau Room. In 2019 Arios returned to UCOL to share his knowledge as an Exercise and Wellness Lecturer.
Ryan Serrano is a Senior 3D Artist for Weta Workshop. As well as digital sculpting, Ryan has a great talent for drawing, painting, and hand sculpting. Originally from the Philippines, Ryan came to UCOL in 2015 to study the Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design. He had previously completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Advertising Arts) at the University of Santo Tomas, which was followed by four years working in post-production/visual effects, game design, and toy design/sculpting. Ryan secured his job at Weta Workshop before he even finished his studies at UCOL. Since then, Ryan has lent his talents to a variety of Weta Workshop projects. He helped build costumes for feature films such as Power Rangers, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and I Am Mother, and helped design props for Men in Black: International. Ryan has also sculpted Weta collectables and Te Papa exhibits. Ryan has an impressive portfolio of freelance work, having sculpted licenced statues and figurines for properties such as Marvel and DC. Ryan’s freelance work has seen him work with notable collectable manufacturers in the United States and Asia, including DC Collectibles, Kotobukiya, and XM Studios.
Young Alumni Award
Braidie Heberley is a UCOL graduate of the National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and works as the Lead Educator at Ko Te Aroha Children's Centre. Braidie was placed at Ko Te Aroha for the practical component her UCOL studies and made such an impression that the Centre employed her once she finished her certificate. Braidie went on to complete her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) through Te Tari Puna oro o Aotearoa (now known as Te Rito Maioha) and teacher registration with the support of Ko Te Aroha. Braidie now mentors UCOL students across all the Early Childhood Education programmes and supports Makoura students transitioning into the workforce. Braidie is leading a national pilot programme called Calmer Classrooms, which focuses on supporting children who have been through or are going through trauma. Calmer Classrooms has had a significant and positive impact on children at Ko Te Aroha, and the programme is being considered for a national roll out.
Kelvin Gilbert graduated from UCOL in 2013 with a Diploma in Photographic Imaging, and has gone on to gain national and international acclaim for his work. Kelvin has had great success in the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Iris Awards, having won medals each year since 2013. He won the NZIPP Illustrative Photographer of the Year in 2013 and 2018, and was a finalist in three separate NZIPP categories in 2017. Kelvin was also a finalist for New Zealand Photographer of the Year each year from 2016 to 2018. In 2016, Kelvin was awarded the title of Grand Master of Photography, the highest honour of the NZIPP. He was the youngest photographer to gain this title, and accumulated the required number of competition points quicker than anyone before him. Outside of New Zealand, Kelvin was named Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Overseas Photographer of the Year in 2017. He has also represented New Zealand in the World Photographic Cup on three occasions. Kelvin was featured in advertising industry magazine Lürzer’s Archive’s 200 best digital artists worldwide for 2015/2016. Kelvin and his partner, fellow UCOL graduate Amy Fowler, currently own and operate creative agency Origin Eight. Together they provide photography, video production, graphic design, website design, motion graphics, and communications for clients around Palmerston North. They have worked with clients such as the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Sport Manawatu, and UCOL. Origin Eight handling the photography and video production for UCOL’s Make a Difference marketing campaign.
Leilani Krans-Tunnage is an accomplished designer known for her beautiful timber creations. Leilani graduated from UCOL with a Diploma in Furniture Design and Making in 2015. Her talent was clear while at UCOL; in the second year of her studies, Leilani won the Pinus Radiata open category at the National Woodskills Competition for her detailed pine longboard. After graduating, Leilani established her own business, Designpilot, with the name being a nod to her former career as a helicopter pilot. Leilani specialises in designing and making high end furniture as well as other products such as longboards, instruments and any timber items that require a degree of skill and vision. Her work caught the attention of the producers of television show Design Junkies, which saw New Zealand designers compete in a range of challenges using salvaged materials. Leilani’s skills, creative flair, problem solving ability, and drive to learn new techniques saw her win the first season of the show in 2018. Leilani won three of the six challenges on the show, with her winning creations including a coffee table made of old bed parts, a lamp made from marine salvage, and a bike using all recycled parts. Leilani credits her UCOL lecturers for pushing her creatively and instilling in her a drive to produce the highest quality work.
Neunglatai Morrison completed her Certificate in Beauty Services in 2014, and then the Diploma in Beauty in 2015. Since then she has become the Managing Director of her own business, and a great supporter of UCOL students and graduates. After finishing her studies, Neunglatai worked at Hair, Beauty and Nails in the Palmerston North Plaza. There she developed an interest and passion for eyelash extensions and threading. This passion led Neunglatai to set up her own business, Empire Lashes and Beauty, offering a variety of eyelash and eyebrow treatments. Demand for her services grew so high that in 2018 Neunglatai employed an additional staff member and moved into a new shop. Neunglatai continues to be a great supporter of UCOL beauty students. She is a regular guest speaker in classes, and provides demonstrations and training for students on threading and lash extensions. She is pivotal in helping graduates find work, letting UCOL beauty staff know about any jobs available in the local industry. Neunglatai is also part of UCOL’s Beauty stakeholder group, and was one of the stakeholders who met with NZQA during UCOL’s most recent External Evaluation and Review. Neunglatai is very involved in the community; for example, last year she held a free eyebrow shaping and threading event at the Palmerston North Library Youth Space. At 22 years of age, Neunglatai has a very bright future ahead of her.
Alumni Service Award
Tim Wilson is a military veteran, artist, and one of the founders of the charity No Duff. Tim came to UCOL in 2015 to study a Certificate and Art and Design after a 16 year military career. He had always had a passion for art, and it has given him the mental and stress release that he was looking for after leaving the military. Since graduating in 2016, Tim has been involved in three major art exhibitions, with the majority of his work being in bronze sculpture and print. After seeing the struggles many veterans go through, Tim and a group of friends established the charitable trust No Duff. No Duff supports veterans facing difficulties such as mental health issues, adjusting to civilian life, financial struggles, and finding employment. The charity has a network of hundreds of volunteers across Australasia. In 2017, Tim and two fellow veterans held the Soldiers Five: A Veteran's Journey exhibition at Parliament’s Bowen House Gallery, highlighting the experiences of soldiers returning from conflict zones. The exhibition covered the themes of transition, isolation, determination, and hope that many veterans face after they leave the military. Proceeds from Tim’s art sales went to No Duff. The exhibition was a great success, not only raising awareness and funds for No Duff, but also highlighting the importance of creative expression in helping veterans cope with post-traumatic stress.