Dunedin businessman Peter Barron and sister Wendy prepare to graduate from the University of Otago today. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin businessman Peter Barron and sister Wendy prepare
to graduate from the University of Otago today. Photo by
Dunedin businessman and former community pharmacist Peter
Barron and sister Wendy Barron will make University of Otago
history today when they graduate from the university together
They are believed to be the first brother and sister to gain
the challenging Otago master of business administration
degree since the Otago MBA programme began in the mid-1970s.
And they will be among about 350 graduands in a wide range of
academic disciplines who will graduate in a 3pm ceremony at
the Dunedin Town Hall.
''I think it's a great achievement,'' Mr Barron said this
week. For most of his working life, Mr Barron (62) practised
as a community pharmacist, and now owns and operates
Dunedin's Huntsman Steakhouse.
And in January this year his sister, Wendy Barron (55), took
up an administrative post heading a major de-mining operation
in the Kurdish semi-autonomous area in northern Iraq for a
non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The two siblings will end up gaining the same Otago degree at
the same ceremony, but have travelled there by very different
Both grew up in Southland, and in the mid-1970s, Ms Barron
attended Dunedin Teachers College, but decided not to pursue
an educational career.
Mr Barron completed an Otago bachelor of pharmacy degree in
1974, later serving for nine years as a member of the Otago
District Health Board and its successor board, the Southern
District Health Board. He is standing for the health board
again in local body elections this year.
In 2011, he stopped practising as a pharmacist and began his
MBA studies, which he completed last year.
Before returning to New Zealand to begin her studies last
year, Ms Barron had earlier worked in a senior leadership
role in an education-related NGO in the Sudan for six years.
After undertaking nine months of intensive study for her MBA
in Dunedin, she then took up her present job in Iraq,
continuing her Otago studies via internet this year and
completing a related business project.
Strong family links and a few ironies have accompanied their
In 2010, while on leave in Dunedin, Ms Barron had initially
approached the Otago MBA office for course information, but
when Mr Barron later went there to seek some more information
for her in 2011, he quickly decided to do the course himself,
after the office ''did a good sales job on me'', he said.
Ms Barron now feels ''huge satisfaction'' at completing a
demanding postgraduate degree, not having first completed an
Peter Barron and their mother, Enid Barron (85), had provided
crucial support, including at times when she doubted the work
would be completed.
''Both him and mum were very encouraging - when I was feeling
down they would pick me up and give me the pep talk,'' she