The New Zealand Governor-General has joined a growing list of high-profile dignitaries to visit Flinders University’s new $120 million Tonsley facility.
Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, who has been Governor-General since August 2011, and is of Maori descent, toured the new facility with his wife, Lady Janine Mateparae and representatives of the NZ and Australian Governments, including the Australian High Commissioner to NZ, Mr Michael Potts.
The visitors were welcomed by senior Flinders University staff including Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling, and Professor John Roddick, who is the Dean of the University’s School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, which is based at Tonsley.
Professor Stirling and Flinders New Venture Institute Director, Matt Salier, gave the Governor-General a tour of the Flinders Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology, the high-tech Rehabilitation and Motion Analysis Laboratory and the Hills Innovation Centre, which is also based at the University’s site.
The Governor-General joined the New Zealand Army in 1972 before graduating from the Officer Cadet School at Portsea into the Royal NZ Infantry Regiment in 1976.
He has served in both battalions of the RNZIR and with the New Zealand Special Air Service, including commanding a regionally-based combined force Truce Monitoring Group on the island of Bougainville during Operation Belisi in 1998, for which he was made an Additional Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 1999 New Year’s Honours list.
He also served as Chief Observer in southern Lebanon with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation (May 1994 to May 1995) and as Joint Commander for NZ forces in East Timor (December 1999 to July 2001).
He was appointed Chief of Army in 2002 and Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force with the rank of Lieutenant General in 2006, before retiring from the NZDF in January 2011.
Professor Stirling said a visit to Tonsley by such a high-ranking foreign dignitary was further evidence that the facility was being seen as an outstanding example of how universities can invest to support and enhance local business and industry.
“Flinders University, which has extensive research links with New Zealand, is honoured to have Governor-General Mateparae visit our Tonsley facility,” said Professor Stirling.
“This visit, to a site which shares the South Australian Government’s vision for Tonsley to become the focus of South Australia’s high-value manufacturing future and the place where innovation drives entrepreneurship, is further evidence that this is a vision, and an investment, which has resonance far beyond South Australia.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for Flinders to profile our groundbreaking industry engagement programmes, including the Medical Devices Partnering Program and Nanoconnect.”
Flinders University’s research collaboration with New Zealand includes:
- Total funding for research projects involving Flinders and NZ investigators (since 2006) of approximately $10 million.
- Approximately 300 academic papers with both Flinders and NZ authors (since 2006).
- Strong research links with organisations including the University of Auckland, the University of Otago and Auckland City Hospital.