Alumni Award For Peter Vela

The University of Waikato has much pleasure bestowing the award of 2008 Distinguished Alumni on Peter Vela in recognition of the vital role he has played as a business owner and founder of key regional enterprises, contributing significantly to the well-being of the Waikato and the nation.

Peter Vela is a highly regarded businessman who maintains a low profile despite his leading role in New Zealand’s thoroughbred breeding, bloodstock and fishing industries.

He graduated from the University of Waikato in 1971 with a Bachelor of Social Sciences, and two years later completed his Master of Social Sciences.

Vela Fishing, which is based on three generations’ experience in the fishing industry, holds the largest privately-owned government fishing quota, harvested through a family fleet of trawlers. It has worked closely with other New Zealand companies in the development of export markets for New Zealand seafood products. Vela Fishing is committed to sustainable fishing, supporting New Zealand’s quota system and the regeneration of commercial species in the Pacific.

With his brother Philip, Peter Vela bought New Zealand Bloodstock in 1997 and has overseen growth of the Karaka-based business to be one of the most highly-regarded bloodstock auction houses in the world. While it attracts top international owners, buyers and breeders, it also serves the needs of local, hobby, and small-time breeders.

Peter Vela is also co-owner of Pencarrow Stud situated just outside Hamilton, and over the years has bred a string of high-value winners. He has served on various racing boards and in 2002 was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the racing and bloodstock industries.

Peter Vela is pre-eminent in his chosen fields and has made outstanding contributions to New Zealand in a dignified and professional way. He is committed to New Zealand’s profitable bloodstock industry and in maintaining its high reputation throughout the international racing world. He continues to look for new and innovative ways to improve the country’s fishing industry, while ensuring its sustainability and long term viability.

In acknowledgement of his business leadership role, his professionalism and his commitment to innovation and sustainability in his industry sectors, the University of Waikato is honoured to present Peter James Vela with its 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award