Albany welcomes new senior Maōri adviser

Ms Margaret Kawharu

Ms Margaret Kawharu, MA (Hons), (Ngāti Whātua) was officially welcomed on to the Albany campus this week in her new role as the senior adviser Māori – Albany.

Ms Kawharu says her role will be dynamic and will build on how Massey can contribute through its work to furthering an identity with Māori, which will be beneficial to New Zealand.

“I feel inspired by Massey's 'creative, innovative and connected' approach and want to be in an environment that promotes new ways of thinking, particularly around New Zealand and its identity, and the role the Māori worldview will play and the contribution Māori have towards big issues facing us as a nation.”

Māori have come a long way, says Ms Kawharu, with te reo Māori playing a much stronger part in the lives of New Zealand people, every day.

“It’s on radio, TV, in politics and education as a matter of course, and the need to keep the language and cultural practices alive and well remains.”

However, she believes that the focus now needs to be on making Māori stronger citizens of the world.

“The level of sophistication required of young Māori today to participate in and add value to society; to their workforce; to their iwi; to their hapū; to their whānau is significantly high – this is where tertiary education becomes imperative.”

Ms Kawharu comes to Massey with a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology, some might say following in the footsteps of her father, statesman Sir Hugh Kawharu who was the foundation Professor of the department of Social Anthropology and Māori Studies at Massey from 1971–1985. She remembers fondly her time in Palmerston North and looks forward to being able to work with, and re-connect with the wider Massey “whānau”.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene says Ms Kawharu’s appointment is great for Massey and great for all Māori especially Ngāti Whātua. “Ms Kawharu has contributed significantly to Māori, through her advocacy, and youth work and in particular her long tenure as the Treaty Claim Manager for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, where she played a leading role in the Treaty Settlement process and assisting her iwi resolve historical grievance claims with the Crown”.

“It really is great to be able to welcome someone of Margaret’s capability back to Massey.  She has strong links to the tangata whenua, and can offer high-level cultural and strategic advice to develop academic and learning opportunities in which Massey can connect with all Māori."

In 2012 she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori.