According to the University of Waikato News, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua has been presented his Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Earlier in July, Dr Sikua was unable to attend the black-tie dinner held for the three recipients of the prestigious award, however, a lunch and a presentation were held in Dr Sikua's honour last Saturday, August 23, at the University's Wel Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts.

Dr Sikua graduated from the University of Waikato in 2003, with a PhD from the School of Education.

The School of Education's Dean, Professor Alister Jones, accepted the award on Dr Sikua's behalf in July.

Professor Jones was present at the weekend lunch, along with other University dignitaries and Hamilton MPs and top business people.

Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua visited the University after being in Niue for the Pacific Islands Forum.

Dr Sikua, a former Education Minister of the Solomons, wrote his PhD thesis on an investigation of the community high school initiative in the Solomon Islands, a development that allowed a much higher percentage of children's access to secondary education. Dr Sikua wrote his thesis in English - his fourth language.

He holds a Master of Educational Policy and Administration from Monash University, Victoria, Australia, and a Bachelor of Education, Majoring in Educational Planning and Project Management, from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

The University of Waikato holds Distinguished Alumni Awards each year to recognize and celebrate alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession, to the community, to the arts or sport, or to more than one of these areas since graduating from Waikato University.

The other two recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards were bloodstock and businessman Peter Vela and the Chief of the Defence Force, Lt Gen Jerry Mataparae.