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Uni Celebrates 100 years of Maori Achievement

12 August 2004


The life and achievements of the University of Otago’s first Mäori graduate Te Rangi Hïroa (Sir Peter Buck) are at the heart of week-long celebrations to begin on 16 August to mark the centenary of Mäori education at Otago.

An exhibition showcasing artefacts and items collected by Te Rangi Hïroa, whose career spanned medicine and anthropology, will open at the Otago Museum on 19 August and is the "jewel in the crown" of the celebrations, says University Mäori Affairs Advisor Darryn Russell.

"It’s an absolutely stunning display of artefacts, and includes materials from Hawai`i’ s Bishop Museum, where Te Rangi Hïroa was Director for a significant part of his career." The exhibition, Te Raukura, is hosted jointly by the University and Otago Museum and will be opened at 6.30pm by the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright. The event will be preceded by a pöwhiri at 1pm at Otäkau Marae, where Ngäi Tahu will extend a traditional welcome to visitors, including representatives from Te Rangi Hïroa’s iwi Ngäti Mutunga (Taranaki) and from Ngäti Porou (East Coast) which has a close association with the University.

The taonga (treasures) from the Bishop Museum include Te Rangi Hïroa’s korowai (cloak) and his taiaha and mere (ceremonial weapons), as well as items he collected and hand-written manuscripts. A group from the University’s Te Tumu (School of Mäori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies), including Professor Tänia Ka’ai, went to the Museum in Honolulu, with the support of the Ngäi Tahu Advisory Committee to the Otago Museum, to ensure the materials were received and transported according to Hawai`ian and Mäori protocol.

"We were called into the museum with a cultural welcome," says Professor Ka’ai. "It was a very moving experience to go and see the collection and to hear stories about Te Rangi Hïroa from Pat Namaka Bacon who had worked closely with him for a number of years."

In other events to mark the week, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at 10am on Friday 20 August by the University and Ngäti Porou, formalising the longstanding relationship which offers practicum opportunities on the East Coast to medical students.

At 1pm that day, a Mäori pre-graduation ceremony will be held to honour the success of Mäori students who are graduating, including five with doctorates . They are Anna Carr, PhD in tourism (Ngä Puhi, Ngäti Ruanui), Lauren Harcourt, PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Ngäi Tahu), Rawinia Higgins, PhD Mäori Studies (Tühoe, Ngäi Tahu), Jane Kitson, PhD Zoology (Ngäi Tahu, Ngäti Mamoe) and Jim Williams, PhD Geography (Ngäi Tahu, Ngäti Mamoe).

At the formal graduation ceremony at 2pm, Saturday 21 August, an honorary doctorate will be conferred on Dr Paratene Ngata for his commitment to the health and wellbeing of Mäori. Dr Ngata will also be guest speaker at the ceremony.

The events, organised by the University, have been accompanied by a programme which continues throughout the year, where the University’s Schools and Departments have initiated their own events to mark the centenary.

Future events include:

16 – 18 August Mäori Health Expo, Hutia te Rito at the Otago Museum, hosted by Te Waka Hauora (Healthcare Otago).

18 August Symposium on Mäori Medicine: An overview of Mäori health and the way forward. Keynote speakers include Otago graduates Dr Tony Ruakere and Professor Mason Durie. Colquhoun Lecture Theatre, 2pm to 5pm. (Open to the public.)

19 August Te Raukura Exhibition opens at the Otago Museum, showcasing cultural artefacts and images relating to the life of Te Rangi Hïroa.

23 August Opening of a display of books written by Te Rangi Hïroa at the University of Otago Library. Display continues to 1 October.

19 August Faculty of Law, Distinguished Speaker Lunchtime Open Lecture: Otago Law graduate, Justice Wilson Isaac, Deputy Chief Judge of the Mäori Land Court. Moot Court, 10th floor Richardson (formerly Hocken) Building at 5.10pm. 1 September Sir Peter Buck Memorial Lecture, Department of Human Nutrition: Lorraine Brooking on Insulin Resistance and its Management in Mäori. Castle Lecture Theatre at 9.45am.

8 September Science Open Lecture..Dr Henrik Moller (Zoology) on Becoming native to our place: cross-cultural applications of environmental management and science for improved sustainability. Archway 3 Lecture Theatre at 5.10pm.

9-10 September School of Physical Education research symposium on physical activity and health, including a Mäori perspective. Guest speakers (Thursday 9 September): Emeritus Professor Les Williams and Dr Farah Palmer. Mihi whakatau 9 September at 9.30am.

3-5 November Whakapiripiri Hui at Karitane, focusing on Mäori health research


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