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New Professorial Appointments To Grow Māori Philosophy And Indigenous Research Capabilities

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (Awanuiārangi) is thrilled to announce three new inaugural professorial appointments: Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith CNZM has been appointed to the inaugural position of Distinguished Professor - Rangahau and Mātauranga Capability at the Wānanga; Sir William Te Rangiua "Pou" Temara, KNZM to the position of Professor of Māori Philosophy; and Dr Alison Green to the position of Professor in the School of Indigenous Graduate Studies.

Awanuiārangi Chief Executive Officer, Professor Wiremu Doherty says the Wānanga feels privileged to have these three top scholars on board.

“Sir Pou is an expert in Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori and Philosophy and a distinguished cultural authority on whaikōrero, whakapapa, and karakia – we look forward to the integral role he will play here at Awanuiārangi,” says Professor Doherty.

“Professor Smith plays a critical role in advancing the thought leadership capabilities of indigenous peoples worldwide, contributes extensively to the research community in Aotearoa, and to the development of Māori and Iwi communities – she will no doubt have a significant impact as we seek to further our research capabilities.”

“Professor Green has immense knowledge in how best we can use Māori and Indigenous knowledges, languages and practices to enable our tauira to introduce solutions to key issues faced by our Māori communities in Aotearoa and Indigenous communities worldwide, and we look forward to her significant support and contributions in this space,” says Professor Doherty.

Embedding tikanga Māori in New Zealand law and promoting modern tohunga

As part of his new role at Awanuiārangi, Sir Pou will work with academics, judges and lawyers to create a programme of teaching and learning that embeds tikanga Māori in the common law of New Zealand.

“The programme is a significant and unique undertaking for the institution – it will be taught from Awanuiārangi itself and initially will be aimed at Judges from the different tiers of the judiciary and lawyers,” explains Sir Pou.

Sir Pou will also be helping Awanuiārangi put together a symposium of tohunga to be held later this year.

“The accumulating knowledge and the result of that symposium will be important in the establishment of a diploma in the practices of the modern tohunga.”

Sir Pou says this new position adds another flavour to the already diverse and ever-evolving menu of programme offerings at Awanuiārangi.

“Developments like this help firmly establish Awanuiārangi as a leading institution of mātauranga Māori in Aotearoa, and my advice to students looking to satisfy their hunger to learn more in this space is to expect the unexpected,” says Sir Pou.

Expanding research capabilities

As Professor - Rangahau and Mātauranga Capability, Professor Smith will be focused on building on existing research achievements at Awanuiārangi and investigating the opportunities to drive research excellence that are in alignment with the Wānanga’s Research Strategy.

Previously a long-serving member of the Awanuiārangi Council, Professor Smith says she is looking forward to helping the Wānanga further enhance its research capabilities, alongside the expertise of Professor Te Kani Kingi, Executive Director of Research and innovation.

“We recognise there are areas where Awanuiārangi can play a greater leading role in mātauranga research, and it’s also about ensuring the strengths we have in mātauranga Māori research and teaching, and connections to our whānau, hapū, iwi and hāpori, are respected and recognised as a unique aspect of this Wānanga,” says Professor Smith.

“Together, we’re really going to capitalise on those strengths, our track record, and the opportunities we already have as a Wānanga, and align them further with the aspirations of our iwi and communities, staff and students.”

On the new role, Professor Smith explains her new role will be about working with the talents, opportunities, and relationships we have as Awanuiārangi to grow our potential.

“In a year’s time, I want to be able to look back and see research staff that have flourished even more than they already have, greater research collaborations underway, with more research groups focussing on strong topic areas, and an increasingly visible and vibrant research culture.”

Looking ahead to the role rangatahi of Aotearoa have in the research space, Professor Smith notes, there is a need for rangatahi to dig deep and explore the ideas and aspirations that excite them.

“Our innovation and futures lie in what they strive for — our job here is to prepare them with the mātauranga, tikanga, skills, integrity and support to be successful,” she says.

Kaupapa Māori-informed research a critical part of tertiary landscape

In her new role as Professor at Awanuiārangi, Professor Green will focus on leading new research projects, and teaching and supporting tauira of the Professional Doctorate programme to undertake student and community-initiated kaupapa Māori-informed research, as well as supporting Awanuiārangi international students from Hawaii and mainland USA as they undertake their doctoral degrees.

Working alongside Head of School Professor Mera Penehira, and Executive Director of Research and innovation, Professor Te Kani Kingi, Professor Green looks forward to helping boost the transformational research already taking place at Awanuiārangi.

“Māori and Indigenous communities want research and solutions that are underpinned by our philosophies and practices and address ‘real world’ problems,” says Professor Green.

“These include the revitalisation of Māori and Indigenous knowledges, languages and practices; the return of land and marine environments to Māori and Indigenous communities to care for, and our own rights to determine the health and wellbeing of our children.”

“Almost every Māori and Indigenous graduate student I have talked to has spoken of ancestors and leaders who fought so their descendants could live better lives, and we know these were the aspirations of our Pacific voyaging ancestors who sailed back and forth to Aotearoa,” says Professor Green.

“The Professional Doctoral programme is set up so that, just like our ancestors, our students can set their sails, use Māori and Indigenous knowledge and evidence, and strive for better futures.”

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