Gary Hawke’s distinction was apparent as a student in the Economics Department of Victoria University of Wellington in the early 1960s. The judgement of his VUW teachers that he was first class was endorsed when he was awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy at Oxford in 1968. He fortunately decided to return and pursue his academic career in New Zealand. He was rapidly promoted from Lecturer to Professor of Economic History at VUW between 1968 and 1974. Since then, his academic status has been reflected in visiting appointments at a number of leading overseas universities and learned institutions and membership of academic review committees of several Australian universities.
Professor Hawke’s publications are impressive in quantity, range and quality. His major publications include an excellent general economic history of New Zealand and important books on the history of the Reserve Bank and the National Bank. His emphasis on the importance of stronger links between economists and historians is reflected in the useful contribution he made to this objective in his Cambridge book on Economics for Historians.
Gary has used his strong academic base in economics and economic history to make major contributions to professional and public discussion of major issues of economic, social and educational policy in New Zealand over the last 25 years.
He played a leading role in the publications of the Economic Monitoring Group of New Zealand Planning Council in the early 1980s, and in other publications of that Council as its Chairman from 1986 to 1991. During his term, the Council promoted much useful research, publication and discussion, especially through its monitoring groups, on social, demographic and Maori issues, as well as on economic developments.
He made a major personal contribution to establishing the reputation of the Institute of Policy Studies as a centre worthy of outside support for independent research and informed discussion of public policy as its Director from 1987 to 1998. Under his leadership, with a very small core staff, that Institute produced a remarkable output of publications, conferences and seminars on most of the significant policy issues confronting New Zealand, such as public sector reform, taxation policy, regulatory management, education policy, the future of the welfare state and biculturalism. The newsletters of the IPS during his term as its Director demonstrate his remarkable capacity to distil the essence of the contributions made to academic and policy seminars and conferences.
Building on work that he began in the IPS on New Zealand’s relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Gary has become well-known and respected throughout the region for his contributions to the work of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. He Is currently Chair of the New Zealand Committees of those organisations.
Professor Hawke has served Victoria University of Wellington with distinction, not only in research and teaching, but also in a variety of administrative positions, culminating in his appointment in 2002 as the foundation Head of the School of Government.
He also made a significant contribution to the development of the NZ Association of Economists in the mid-1970s, as a member of its Council and as Editor of New Zealand Economic Papers. His recognition as one of its Distinguished Fellows is well justified.