In the 2008 New Year Honours list, Jim was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to local-body affairs, education and the community. However at the age of 81, Jim’s term as Vice-Chancellor came to an end, and on the 19th of November a celebration of Jim’s service to the University was held in Auckland.
With these strong Whananaki and Ngātiwai iwi connections, many whānau wanted to hikoi to the University of Auckland to be part of the celebration in recognising Jim.
Three vans were provided to assistant whānau to attend this hui. Among those who attended was Whananaki and kuia kaumātua Ruahuihui Rata (Sue nee Waetford).
Sue Rata says “It was an absolute delight and privilege to be able to attend the farewell celebration of Jim Peters.”
“What was pleasing for me was when the formal speeches were completed, that we were able to follow tikanga māori and have the University hand him back to his people of Ngātiwai, and we were only too glad to receive him.”
“He is a man that has dedicated his life to his work, and his career has been a long and distinguished one. So for us as Ngātiwai, it was very important to be here today.”
Matua Jim Peters said in his farewell speech “The University of Auckland is an outstanding institution of teaching, learning and research and I have felt very fortunate indeed to have been a part of it.”
“The University of Auckland has long been in our lifetime a family. Five of my family have played rugby for the University of Auckland, others are graduates from here. Our three children are all graduates from the University of Auckland.”
“So it is natural for us to think of this as being, without any apology to those from other places, the most outstanding University in Aotearoa."
“But Most of all I have enjoyed working with the students, staff and the lecturers here.”