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New Professor of Māori Studies announced

Monday 19 May 2008

New Professor of Māori Studies announced

The University of Otago has appointed Dr Paul Tapsell to its Chair in Māori Studies.

Dr Tapsell will also be the Dean of Te Tumu, the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies.

Dr Tapsell, who is currently in France, was until recently the Tumuaki Māori (Māori Director) of the Auckland Museum. Coming from the well-known whanau who trace their descent from the main tribes of Te Arawa, he has a distinguished academic record. After completing his BA in Anthropology at the University of Auckland, he was the Curator of the Rotorua Museum of Art and History from 1990 to 1994. He returned to the University of Auckland, where he graduated MA with First Class Honours in Anthropology, before completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Oxford. He was then a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Dr Tapsell has been a Marsden Grant recipient and has many publications. In addition to his museum work, he has been an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Auckland.

Paul Tapsell’s wife, Dr Merata Kawharu (Ngati Whatua), was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. She also graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford and is currently the Research Director of the James Henare Māori Research Centre at the University of Auckland.

Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg says the University is delighted to have someone of Dr Tapsell’s calibre heading Te Tumu. “The University of Otago already has a strong base in Māori Studies. Dr Tapsell was selected from a field of excellent applicants and I am sure that Te Tumu will flourish under his leadership."

Dr Tapsell will take up his appointment on 1 February next year.

The advisory committee for the Chair’s appointment also recommended the Acting Dean of Te Tumu, Associate Professor Michael Reilly, should be appointed to a Personal Chair in Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. Professor Reilly joined the Otago staff in 1991 after completing his PhD in Pacific Islands History at the Australian National University. He is an expert on Māori tribal history and the history of other indigenous peoples of the Pacific. Professor Reilly will continue to lead Te Tumu for the remainder of 2008.


ENDS

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