International honour for Professor Le Heron

03 August 2018
Professor Richard Le Heron, School of Environment
Professor Richard Le Heron

School of Environment academic, Professor Richard Le Heron, has been awarded with the International Geographical Union Lauréat d’honneur by the International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission and will be presented with this award at the IGU-CAG Regional Conference in Quebec, Canada. 

The IGU Lauréat d’Honneur was established to recognise individuals who have achieved particular distinction or who have rendered outstanding service in the work of the IGU or in international geography and environmental research.

Professor Paul Kench, Head of School, congratulates Professor Le Heron on this prestigious and outstanding honour.

"In addition to the personal prestige that this award bestows, it also recognises geography expertise in the School and University, of which we can all be proud."

Professor Richard Le Heron has had a sustained engagement with the IGU over 40 or more years.

His first IGU congress was the 1972 Montreal meeting when he was a PhD student at Washington. He returned to New Zealand in time to be part of the organizing committee for the IGU Regional Conference held in Palmerston North in 1974 and was one of the editors of the conference proceedings. He attended the Regional Conference in Ibadan in 1978 and subsequent congresses including Sydney (1988), Washington (1992) and The Hague (1996).

His closer involvement with the IGU has been at the commission level.

This began with his involvement with the Industrial Commission in the late 1970s when it met at Canberra in Australia. He participated in later commission meetings in British Columbia and Orlando.

The Commission was reconstituted as an economic geography commission in the early 1990s. He worked more closely with this group at a point when there were some significant cleavages within economic geography in order to show how diverse approaches still had merit.

In 1996 he was invited to deliver a ‘progress in economic geography’ type of address at The Hague Congress. This was published in Tijdschrift voor Economishe en Sociale Geografie.  

He subsequently joined the executive committee of the Commission serving as Vice-Chair and for two terms as Chair. Over this period the commission was particularly active holding meetings in such diverse locations as Turin, Vancouver, Toledo, Birmingham, Auckland, Beijing, Barcelona, and Perth.

The Commission were also notably successful in converting its meetings into series of books. Two examples from half a dozen include Knowledge, industry and environment: institutions and innovation in territorial perspective edited by Roger Hayter and Richard Le Heron (2002); and Agri-food commodity chains and globalising networks edited by Christina Stringer and Richard Le Heron (2008).  

Professor Le Heron is one of only five Geographers to be elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Read more: New Zealand Geographers awarded International Geographical Union Lauréat d’honneur