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Maori business leader honoured by Distinguished Alumni Award

An East Coast born lawyer, scholar and business leader with a passion for Maori development has been named a 2018 Distinguished Alumni by the University of Auckland.

Robert (Rob) McLeod (Ngati Porou), a well-known business figure in both the private and public sectors will receive the award on Friday night at the annual awards dinner.

A Distinguished Alumni Award honours University alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities, to their nation and beyond.

Rob has held senior leadership roles in a number of influential organisations, mostly in the accounting sector. These include Chair of Ernst & Young New Zealand and CEO of Ernst & Young Australasia, from 2010 to 2014. He was the longest standing Chair of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, serving from 2002 to 2010.

He is a recognised expert in taxation practice and policy, and led the Government’s New Zealand-wide tax review, in 2001. He has sat on Government task forces and advisory groups, ranging from defence to tertiary education to infrastructure to capital markets.

Rob has had extensive involvement in Māori development. He led the Treaty settlement between Ngāti Porou and the New Zealand Government and was a member of the Māori Economic Development Taskforce in 2010 and the establishment unit of Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Development).

In 2006, Rob won the University of Auckland’s Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award.

“My legal qualification and training from Auckland University had a profound effect on my career,” says Rob.

“It enabled me to travel down a multi-disciplinary path by combining legal and accounting skills, primarily via the tax profession and various roles in public policy. I am delighted to be recognised by this distinguished alumni award and I am grateful to the University for not only the recognition but for also playing a key role in facilitating my career.”

Rob now practises as a barrister sole, providing business and tax advice as well as governance services as a company director and trustee. He has also written and presented numerous papers, given university lectures and supervised postgraduate students.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Awards visit

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