Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Congratulations Dame Peggy Koopman-Boyden

I was delighted to learn on Monday that my former (now retired) colleague, Peggy Koopman-Boyden was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Dame Peggy and I have a long history of collaboration in research on ageing, dating back to 2006 when we were brought into the beleaguered Enhancing Wellbeing in and Ageing Society (EWAS) project (see here for details on that project). That was followed by two projects funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (see here for details), and the Ministry of Science and Innovation (later the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) (see here for the final output of that project). However, despite all those projects we were both on, we actually only co-wrote one research paper together - this 2015 working paper entitled "Labour Force Participation, Human Capital and Wellbeing among Older New Zealanders" (co-authored with Matthew Roskruge at Massey).

I suspect there are probably some people who are pretty unhappy about this honour. Dame Peggy was responsible for handling the merger of the School of Social Science and the School of Arts at the University of Waikato, and that process ruffled a lot of feathers. However, her honour has less to do with her work here, and more as a recognition of the immense contributions she has made in service of older people in New Zealand - service which it has been a privilege for me to observe first-hand on many occasions. The Waikato Times article gives only a small taste of her contributions:
Dame Peggy led major research projects for the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology during the 1990s and 2000s and recently completed a multiyear programme of research on active ageing funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
In 1997, she was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the elderly. 
And in 2005, she became the founding president of the Waikato branch of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology, a position she held until 2012. She has been a member of the Age Concern Advisory Research Committee since 2010.
She has also been chair of Hamilton City Council's Older Persons Advisory Panel and now chairs the steering group of Hamilton's Age Friendly accreditation of the Institute of Healthy Ageing.
Dame Peggy was made Emeritus Professor of the University of Waikato last year. She was previously Director of NIDEA for a short time before retirement, but retirement has clearly not slowed her down and she is actively involved in a number of projects, including her goal of Hamilton becoming New Zealand's first age-friendly city.

Dame Peggy was a great mentor to me as I was starting out my independent research career (and finishing off my PhD), and has always been a great source of advice and ideas for continuing research. I am blessed to have had her share part of my career journey, and I look forward to being able to use her formal title in person soon (I'm sure that will draw a smile and a gentle rebuke).

Congratulations Dame Peggy Koopman-Boyden!


  1. Hi Michael, love the blog. I would really like to re-publish some of your work on my website, globalmillennial.org would this be acceptable?

    1. Yes you can. My blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, so you can re-publish any piece so long as the source is attributed and it is for non-commercial purposes. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/