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Eminent Maori Figure Mourned

Media release
19 September 2006

Eminent Maori Figure Mourned

The University of Auckland has saluted the late Emeritus Professor Sir Hugh Kawharu's contribution to academia and to the wider community.

"We mourn the passing of one of Maoridom's most eminent and respected figures who has left such a strong imprint on this institution as well as on Auckland and the nation as a whole," Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said today.

Sir Hugh held degrees from the Universities of New Zealand, Cambridge and Oxford and was a distinguished academic. He was Professor of Maori Studies at Auckland from 1985 to 1993, becoming an emeritus professor after he retired.

He presided over major developments including the creation of a separate Department of Maori Studies and the building of the University Marae, opened in 1988. He was foundation director of the James Henare Maori Research Centre.

"Sir Hugh's courtesy, patience and wisdom, and his talents as a conciliator and a negotiator brought the University many benefits, and greatly enhanced its relationships with Maori," said Professor McCutcheon.

"This continued throughout his retirement when chairmanship of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board consumed much of Sir Hugh's considerable energy. A 2003 Memorandum of Understanding formalising the links between the University and Ngati Whatua as mana whenua is a fitting memorial to his aptitude as a champion of Maori and as a bridge-builder between peoples."

In 2004 Sir Hugh represented the University at the installation of Dr John Hood as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford.

"During the 18 months that I have been Vice-Chancellor of The University of Auckland I have greatly valued his wise counsel, support and friendship," said Professor McCutcheon. "I will miss him greatly at a personal, as well as a professional, level."


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