The head of Massey University’s Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi, the School of Māori Knowledge, has been appointed the University’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori.
Professor Meihana Durie, of Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa Te Au ki Te Tonga, Ngāti Porou, Rongo Whakaata, Ngāi Tahu, has led Te-Pūtahi-ā-Toi for the past two-and-a-half years and is an award-winning Māori public health and education scholar. He also holds a number of leadership roles in tikanga and Te Reo Māori for Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata and Ngāti Raukawa Te Au ki Te Tonga.
He takes over the role from Distinguished Professor Hingangaroa Smith, who has become the University’s inaugural Te Toi Ihorei ki Pūrehuroa, a position for Māori scholars of distinction, with a remit to continue the vital work of guiding Massey on its journey to becoming Te Tiriti-led.
“This role is of immense importance to Māori and to our University and I hope to build upon the work and contribution of all those who have advanced Māori development at our University in such transformative ways,” Professor Durie says.
“There is abundant potential in Te Ao Māori, which can be further realised by taking Māori participation in all aspects of the University to new levels. We are fortunate that Massey has a strong Māori network among our students, staff and communities and their involvement will continue to be an important part of our success. The name Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa reaffirms there need not be any limitation to what can be achieved.”
New pathways for Māori advancement
Professor Durie says he intends to promote strong research and enterprise collaborations between Massey and iwi, hapū and Māori organisations and to also support development of new educational pathways for Māori at the University.
“We have a new generation of rangatahi who are now coming to Massey University as first language speakers of Te Reo, so our offer must continue to evolve in order to also reflect that. We also have students who come in search of knowledge and understanding about Māori identity, and so it is critical that they can access appropriate pathways that connect them to Te Ao Māori in meaningful ways”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says Massey is in an enviable position to now have two leaders of immense mana strengthening the University’s aspirations for Māori advancement.
“In his time as head of Te-Pūtahi-ā-Toi, Professor Durie has proven his ability to inspire and lead our Māori staff and students. The school has gone from strength to strength, shown by the growing number of doctoral students currently working towards their PhDs, with a number of those being undertaken in Te Reo Māori,” Professor Thomas says.
“I am looking forward to seeing Meihana continue to build on this work as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori, further reinforcing our commitment to Māori student success and excellence in Māori research.”
A wealth of experience and Massey connections
Professor Durie will continue to have a leadership role at Te-Pūtahi-ā-Toi and he brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Prior to joining Massey in 2017, he was the Health Research Council (HRC) Hohua Tutengaehe Postdoctoral Fellow. Before that he was Kaihautū/Academic Director at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, where he established Ngā Purapura and the associated Bachelor of Māori Health Promotion. He currently sits on the HRC Māori Health Committee and has been a member of a number of national review panels and advisory committees.
Professor Durie is a Massey alumnus, having graduated with his PhD from Massey in 2011. His family has a long history with the University, and continues a longstanding involvement with many Māori health, education and cultural initiatives.