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Māori Scholars Recognised by Royal Society


Two outstanding Māori scholars - Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Professor Jacinta Ruru - have today been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand, honouring their careers and distinction in research and scholarship.

Linda and Jacinta are the first Māori women to be elected as Fellows in the 149 year history of the Society and are researchers of international repute. They have deep and enduring ties with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, Linda was a founding Joint Director of NPM from 2002-2007 and is the new chair of our International Research Advisory Board, and Jacinta is currently a Co-Director of NPM (2016-2020).

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith from the University of Waikato, has had a long and illustrious career in the social sciences. Her original and revolutionary research as detailed in her globally acclaimed book, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples continues to have enormous impact across many domains of the sciences and humanities.

This pioneering research was instrumental in promoting the development and promotion of research methodologies that enable Indigenous people to re-assert the integrity of their own knowledge bases and their own ways of knowing and engaging with the world.

Linda's areas of interest span language revitalisation, gender and youth issues, Indigenous schooling, health and resilience, and Indigenous knowledge and its interface with science, marginalisation and institutional change.

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Jacinta is New Zealand's first Māori Professor of Law and is based at the University of Otago. Her work is at the forefront of exploring and defining how the legal systems of former colonies can recognise Indigenous peoples’ rights to own, manage and govern their interests in land and water.

She has led or co-led a number of national and international research projects, and has authored more than 90 publications, including her co-authored 2010 book Discovering Indigenous Lands.

Our heartfelt congratulations go to both Linda and Jacinta, who continue to break new ground for Māori researchers and academics across the country and Indigenous research and communities throughout the world.

Traditionally the Royal Society of New Zealand has been over-represented by men and people of European descent, and the Society today expressed their pleasure with their most recent 19 selections which has "resulted in a more diverse group of new Fellows – selected entirely on merit - which is more representative of our community of researchers and scholars.”

NPM Co-Director Associate Professor Tracey McIntosh says “Our pride in the acknowledgment of the scholarship and contribution that Linda and Jacinta have made is immense. Linda’s global prominence in the Indigenous research world is unequalled. The impact of both her intellectual work and her presence is far-reaching and she continues to be a catalyst of change for so many. Jacinta’s work demonstrates the significance of using legal instruments, too often used against us in the past, as powerful mechanisms for determining our collective futures. Both show the power of research to create transformative positive change.”

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) is a Centre of Research Excellence hosted at the University of Auckland comprising 21 research partners and conducting research of relevance to Māori communities. Our vision is Māori leading New Zealand into the future. NPM research realises Māori aspirations for positive engagement in national life, enhances our excellence in Indigenous scholarship and provides solutions to major challenges facing humanity in local and global settings. Visit

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