Health and arts specialist new head of Māori school 

Dr Meihana Durie, the new head of Te-Pūtahi-ā-Toi

Māori health and cultural academic Dr Meihana Durie (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Rongo Whakaata, Ngāi Tahu) has been appointed as the head of Massey’s Māori Studies unit, Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi (School of Māori Art, Knowledge and Education).

He is the son of renowned Māori mental health expert Professor Sir Mason Durie and Māori educationalist Professor Lady Arohia Durie. Sir Mason established Te Pūtahi-a-Toi in 1988 before going on to become Massey’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori and Pasifika). He retired in 2012.

Dr Durie is a current recipient of the Health Research Council of New Zealand Hohua Tutengaehe Postdoctoral Fellowship and is based at Te Wānanga o Raukawa where he helped to establish Ngā Purapura, a development committed to the empowerment of whānau through education in health, exercise, sport and the growth and creation of new Māori bodies of knowledge.

He received the Sir Peter Snell Doctoral Scholarship in Public Health and Exercise Science in 2008 and is actively involved in the area of Māori creative arts as a writer and filmmaker.

He completed his PhD at Massey University in 2011 looking at how to increase Māori success in education and sport by drawing on Maori values, cultural world-views, and customs.

Dr Durie, who starts his new role in April 2017, says he’s looking forward to working at Massey. “I’m immensely grateful for my time at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and to have been part of such a transformative movement. I’m also humbled but excited to be returning home to help foster the vital contribution that Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi makes both to Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Whānui”.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is home to Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, says; “It will be a pleasure to welcome Dr Meihana Durie to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and to a critical role in Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi as the new Head of School.”

“The College is very committed to meeting the educational and research needs of Māori communities, and to being a key player in Māori development. Dr Durie brings significant skills, connections and experience to the task of meeting the ambitions of tangata whenua and the College.”

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