New Māori Advisor for Massey


Doc Ferris following his pōwhiri


The rise of Māori at Massey continued this week with the latest high profile arrival. The University’s new senior Māori advisor, Doc Ferris, Ngāti Kahungunu/Ngāti Porou was welcomed with a pōwhiri at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi on Monday morning.

Mr Ferris arrived supported by whānau and colleagues from his former workplace, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, where he was Director of Māori Education.

Former, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori at Victoria University, and uncle of Mr Ferris, Professor Piri Sciascia led the whaikōrero (speeches) for the manuwhiri (visitors) singing the praises of a young man who’s already developed expertise as a carver, kapa haka exponent and educator.

Mr Ferris will work from the Office of the AVC Māori and Pasifika in Turitea (Manawatū campus) and is looking forward to his new role.

“I hope we can really draw to the fore Māoritanga and how Māoritanga can benefit places like Massey by opening up more. Our people struggle to get into places like Massey and other educational institutes all around the country and I’m really looking forward to doing the work that makes it more accessible, more inviting, more comfortable and enables Māori development to accelerate.”

Watch pōwhiri and interview with Doc Ferris


Mr Ferris has a Master of Mātauranga Māori and Bachelor of Māori Art from Te Wānanga o Raukawa where he also lectured for 10 years before moving to Nelson. He says Massey’s strategy to become a Tiriti led organisation was a great incentive to make the move north again and he’s looking forward to being involved in what he calls an awesome opportunity.

“In my experience with organisations, everyone understands there is an obligation under the Tiriti o Waitangi, and no one has a clue of what that should look like. So here’s an opportunity to really lead that conversation.”

Mr Ferris says building a strong tūāpapa or foundation is key, so people understand why things happen in a certain way. “As long as you have a tūāpapa that you all know and understand as you go forward addressing new situations, you’ll be able to produce the answers.”

A question he gets a lot is how he got his name. Doc or Tākuta is named after his father Doc Ferris Snr, who in turn was named after the doctor, Dr Romaine who saved his and his mother’s life during a difficult birth. Mr Ferris says while his legal name is Romaine everyone calls him Doc and he’s comfortable with that.

 

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