Academic honour rewards lifetime of leadership
Academic honour rewards lifetime of leadership – Maori
Hon Tariana Turia, MP for Te Tai Hauauru 18 August 2008
The Maori Party congratulates Professor Mason Durie on the recent award of an honorary LlD from his alma mater, Otago University.
“No-one could be a more worthy recipient of academic honours than Mason, because of the breadth of his professional interests, and the results he has helped to achieve,” said Tariana Turia, MP for Te Tai Hauauru.
“His work and career have never stopped developing. After graduating from the Otago Medical School in 1963 in medicine and surgery, Mason specialised in psychiatry, then he moved into promoting mental health at a national level,” said Mrs Turia.
“Mason has served on the Mental Health Commission, the NZ Board of Health, the National Health Committee, and various other Ministerial and advisory committees.
“It’s Mason’s overview of the wider picture that makes his work so effective,” she said. “He was a Commissioner on the Royal Commission on Social Policy way back in 1986. He was Co-convenor of the Maori Congress in the 1990s. He’s been appointed to the boards of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Te Papa Tongarewa, the Guardians of the Secondary Futures Trust, the Families Commission and the Maori Advisory Committee to the Law Commission.
“His current position as Professor of Maori Studies and Maori Vice-chancellor at Massey University in Palmerston North enables him to operate across a huge field, at the highest levels of academia, nationally and internationally.
“But Mason has remained focused on pragmatic solutions: instead of complaining about a problem, he does something about it. If a shortage of trained Maori professionals is holding back Maori mental health, then set up a special project to develop a Maori Mental Health Workforce (Te Rau Matatini). If a lack of evidence undercuts Maori social policy initiatives, then start gathering evidence through comprehensive socio-cultural, longitudinal research studies (Te Hoe Nuku Roa).
“And this descendant of Rangitane, Ngati Kauwhata and Ngati Raukawa has always supported iwi and whanau initiatives. He’s been involved in Te Wananga o Raukawa since its inception, chaired Te Runanga o Raukawa, and the Tu Toa Trust,” she said.
“Mason’s leadership is a great example of empowering all people of Aotearoa. He starts with a bold vision of where he wants the people to be, he maps out a series of practical steps to get us there, and then he makes a start.
“The Maori Party congratulates Mason on his richly-deserved honour, and commends Otago University on making this award,” said Mrs Turia.