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Another record year for Māori graduates

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

MEDIA RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Thursday, 3 April 2014, Whakatāne

Another record year for Māori graduates

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi will celebrate another record number of graduates at its traditional hīkoi and capping ceremony in Whakatāne on Friday, April 11.

More than 2500 diplomas, certificates, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees will be awarded by Awanuiārangi for 2013, up from 2220 in 2012 – another record year. More than 90 per cent of graduates are Māori.

Awanuiārangi CEO and Vice-Chancellor Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith said 2014 would be the institution’s most successful graduation year to date. A total of 226 students are expected to graduate with degrees, including more than 20 masters and 6 doctorates.

“When you consider the size of our institution, this is an outstanding achievement,” Distinguished Professor Smith said. “The vision of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is to produce graduates who are well equipped to profoundly and positively contribute to the development of their communities, hapū, iwi and nation.”

At 7.30am, hundreds of graduands will assemble at Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae at Wairaka for the 8am pōwhiri, and will then march in the now traditional graduation parade through Whakatāne’s main street, trenchers in hand ahead of their capping at the afternoon ceremony. As always, parading graduands will be accompanied by Awanuiārangi council members, senior executive and academic staff, guest speakers and dignitaries.

Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond is this year’s keynote speaker. Dame Anne Salmond is a professor in Social Anthropology and Māori Studies, and an award-winning author who has spent her life documenting shared cultural history in New Zealand and the Pacific. Last year she was honoured as the 2013 New Zealander of the Year and was also awarded the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s top scientific award.

This year’s Valedictorian is PhD graduand Fiona McGrath, who will represent fellow graduates in addressing the more than 1000 friends, family and academics who are expected to fill the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall for the graduation ceremonies.

In a highlight of the day, decades of commitment to Māori development, education and achievement will be recognised with the presentation of three honorary doctorates. Ngāiterangi leaders Hauata Palmer and Kihi Ngātai and educator Georgina Kingi will each be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) – Māori.

An Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) in Indigenous Studies has also been bestowed upon Professor Alan R. Parker, director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute at The Evergreen State College in the United States. The award recognises his exceptional international contribution to indigenous development and education. It was presented in March at the National Congress of American Indians in Washington DC.

Ends

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